Japan's defense minister Wednesday ordered the dispatch of ships to fight pirates off the shores of Somalia, joining countries ranging from the United States to Iran to China in the battle against the outlaws.
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada did not say how many Japanese ships would be sent or when, and said his dispatch order was an interim measure until parliament passes a formal law outlining the ships' activities in their mission against piracy.
"The pirates' activities off the Somali coast are a major threat not only to Japan but also to international society and it is a problem that we must deal with urgently," Hamada said.
Hamada ordered the government to study the size of troops needed and report back to him.
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