Japan Sets Up Piracy Base

The ripple effect of Somali piracy on global politics continues, with the historic decision by Japan to set up a base in Djibouti to maintain its naval operations in the region.

This will be the first full-scale base outside home territory for Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF) which has deployed two destroyers and two patrol aircraft to the Indian Ocean in anti-piracy missions.

Japan has been limited in its response to the threat to shipping on which it heavily relies by the pacifist nature of its-post war constitution. The piracy threat has lead to only the third overseas deployment of the MSDF, the other two being the Korean War and the Gulf War.

The new base, with a headquarters, dormitories and gym for personnel and maintenance hangars, is being built at a cost of JPY 4.7bn ($58.7m). Previously, the MSDF has shared the US base in Djibouti.

Last week Norway said it was planning to set up it own anti-piracy base in the region, with Mozambique likely to be the location for Norwegian naval and aircraft assets.

Mozambique also signed an agreement with South Africa to carry out joint patrols to protect shipping, particularly in the strategically important Mozambique Channel.

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