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The Jan. 31 editorial “Advancing on the pirates (off Somalia)” did not address the most important issue: Japan is contributing too little, too late. NATO, Russia and India had forces in the area by October, the European Union began operations in December, and even China dispatched destroyers before the new year.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force is scheduled to arrive some time in March — more than five months behind the first international action. And when Japanese vessels do eventually arrive, we are told they will only be able to protect Japan- related shipping.

Is this an appropriate contribution from the world’s second-strongest destroyer navy? The Japanese government has an international responsibility to protect shipping in the Gulf of Aden, regardless of ownership, crew or cargo. Piracy is a global problem. Japan must be a strong part of a global response.

ruairidh villar

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