I have been criticizing the Aso administration on its decision to use Maritime Self-Defense escort vessels to the waters off Somalia to protect Japanese interests only. It turns out that with a few exceptions—most notably the United States, but also the U.K., Denmark and Germany—nations have focused their efforts on escorting their national flag vessels and other ships of interest, just as Japan intends to do. Each day, hundreds of merchant ships enter the treacherous waters, so there’s no way to protect all of them. The other powers have been consulted by the Japanese authorities, and they’re cool with it.
There’s some speculation about unprotected vessels tagging along with the escorted “fleet”. If what I’ve learned is any indication, they would be smart to do so. No pirates have attacked a ship near a naval vessel, and for good reason.
I may have more to say if the rest of what I learned does not turn out to be proprieteary material.