Japan 'can fire' on Somali pirates

New law allows military to attack pirate vessels in Gulf of Aden.

    Japan joined an international operation in March against pirates in the Gulf of Aden [GALLO/GETTY]

    Piracy 'threat'

    "Japan can take action more effectively against piracy, in co-operation with other countries," Taro Aso, Japan's prime minister, said in a statement.

    "Piracy is a threat not only to Japan, but to the international community and a challenge Japan should proactively deal with," he said.

    In depth



     The pirate kings of Puntland 
     
    Q&A: Return to Somalia
     Q&A: Piracy in the Gulf of Aden
    Timeline: Somalia

    Videos:
     
    Life inside the den of Somalia's pirates
     Lucrative raids lure Somali youth
     Meet the pirates
     Somalia guard struggles to combat piracy
     Somali woes over piracy
     Anger at Somali pirates

    The constitutionally pacifist nation joined the US, China and more than 20 other countries in March in an international operation against pirates who have attacked ships in the Gulf of Aden.

    As part of its assistance, Japanese officials deployed two destroyers and two maritime surveillance aircraft to the region.

    But the destroyers had no mandate to use force except in self-defence.

    The military mission is unprecedented for Japan, which imposed constitutional limits to prohibit the use of force to resolve international disputes after the second world war.

    But the country's more powerful lower house of parliament voted the bill into law on Friday after the upper house rejected it.

    Opposing parliament members said the move could erode the nation's pacifist constitution.

    Despite international piracy efforts, the International Maritime Bureau has said that more ships have been attacked off Somalia in the first six months of 2009 than in all of last year.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.