Japan navy goes on anti-pirate mission
Japan on Friday dispatched two destroyers to the Gulf of Aden to protect commercial vessels from Somali pirates, the Kyodo News Service said.
It is the first time Japanese military vessels have taken part in direct policing action overseas as opposed to providing support functions.
The destroyers are tasked with escorting ships with Japanese registry, or Japanese nationals or cargo onboard, or ships operated by Japanese companies.
Japan's rules of engagement limit the ships to firing warning shots if they encounter pirates except for self-defense, but the government submitted an anti-piracy bill to Parliament on Friday that would give permission to vessels to use force if pirates ignored repeated warnings to cease an attack. The bill would also allow Japanese ships to protect any international vessel from pirates.