Regarding the April 27 article “Piracy prompts Japan to open first overseas military base” as well as recent comments from readers about the article: I would like to bring out further information on this matter while clarifying some misleading arguments about the role of the international forces patrolling off Somalia. First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the role Japan is playing in securing one of the most important maritime lanes in the world. Japan’s involvement and those of many other nations have had a real impact on the ground by curbing the number of pirate attacks. According to the International Maritime Bureau of the International Chamber of Commerce, the first quarter of 2010 has seen 35 attacks, a sharp drop from the 102 attacks reported during the same period last year.
The presence of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force in our region is part of collective action by the international community to which more than 60 states from Africa, the Middle East, Asia Europe and North America are engaged. The International Maritime Organization spearheaded the call for action against these criminal activities.
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