Uploaded on Jul 6, 2009
Japan dispatched its first navy vessel under the country's new anti-piracy laws on Monday. It will join international patrols in preventing more pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia.
The naval destroyer "Harusame" left the Yokosuka Naval base in the outskirts of Tokyo early on Monday morning heading for the Gulf of Aden. Japanese defense minister Yasukazu Hamada visited the base along with many local residents and family members of boarding sailors to send off the ship.
Japan already has two naval destroyers escorting ships in the Gulf of Aden. Harusame and one other destroyer are being sent to replace those patrolling there now. A new law allows Japanese navy vessels to protect ships that have no connection with Japan.
Due to the change in the mission, people who came to see off their family members showed some signs of worry.
[Hitomi Ito, Sailor's Mother]:
"I am, of course, a bit worried, but I just hope that they cancomplete their mission and come back safe."
Other family members have trouble even imagining what pirate patrols would be like.
[Makiko Nakajima, Sailor's Wife]:
"I can't really imagine it, but since they'll be fighting pirates, I am a bit uncertain.
The Japanese navy said its ability to use weapons when it's appropriate is very crucial to the mission.
[Maso Arihara, Ship Commander]:
"Our being able to use weapons now when approached is, of course, to prevent pirate acts, and we believe that this will be effective to achievethose ends."
Japan imports more than 80 percent of its crude oil from the Middle East and a lot of it is shipped through waters at risk from piracy.
Piracy has become a major problem over the past nine months in and around the Gulf of Aden which is one of the world's busiest shipping areas.
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