Japan reveals military plan in Djibouti to fight Somali pirates

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The Japanese government is to build its foreign military base in Djibouti. The plan is aimed at strengthening and sustaining its fight against Somali pirates, Japanese ambassador to Ethiopia, Kinchi Komano, has announced.

After the signing of a land leasing agreement a few weeks ago between Japan and Djibouti allowing the construction of a military facility in Djibouti,
Japan will be the third country to have a military base in Djibouti next to US and France.

Japan has deployed two military ships and two reconnaissance airplanes to dispose of the pirates attack and as a contribution for the international effort against the piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the ambassador noted. With close to 90 percent of Japanese exports being shipped through the Gulf of Aden North into the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, the Asian country’s international trade had been threatened by Somali pirate attacks.

In order to create an internationally recognized transit corridor that provides security for about 30,000 cargo ships that transit the Gulf of Aden every year, some 24 countries formed the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia under the umbrella of the United Nations to maintain an international naval force in the corridor in January 2009. The group as at April 2010, included 47 countries and 10 international organizations ensuring that there is an average of about 17 naval ships on patrol in the troubled waters on any given day.

September last year, Japan and a host of other countries including Britain, Cyprus, Singapore and the United States, in a concerted effort to coordinate international naval patrols, shipping self-protection measures and discourage the payment of millions of dollars in ransom to pirates, came together to sign the “New York Declaration,” an international plan to protect ships and thwart piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Explaining why his government needs to have its own facility, Ambassador Kinichi indicated that while Japanese reconnaissance airplanes are now using Djibouti’s airport for landing and refueling his government does not intend to continue seeking accommodation at the US military base for their operational staff on a long-term basis.

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