Japan plans to dispatch two destroyers near Somalia in early March to protect its commercial vessels from pirates, a media report said Sunday.
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, attending a security conference in Germany on Saturday, told reporters of the planned deployment next month, according to Kyodo news agency.
A government fact-finding team departed for the region Sunday ahead of the dispatch of the 4,650-ton Sazanami and the 4,550-ton Samidare, it said. A bill for the deployment is before Japan's parliament and expected to pass.
Defense ministry officials were unavailable for comment Sunday.