Djibouti, otherwise known as the “Superpower’s playground” has maintained diplomatic ties with Japan since 1978 and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) has had an overseas military base there since 2011, tasked with escort combat ships to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
This small desert country on the horn of Africa, lies on the Babel-Mandeb strait gateway to the Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes and is home to several military bases, Japan’s being the first overseas and has earned a status as model of stability in an otherwise volatile region being flanked by Somalia and Sudan.
A military base not only means security for the nation but also the generation of hundreds of millions of dollars per year for the government, introducing OECD countries to Djibouti for long term promoting donor aid, anti-poverty programs, human rights, democracy and public service provision as well as defense against piracy.
With piracy being an issue of concern in this area, Japan in collaboration with the international community is intensifying the war on piracy to facilitate safe transportation of passengers and cargo in the Indian Ocean. The increased surveillance has witnessed a considerable drop in the key shipping route that had been hit hard leading to increasing in global shipping costs a few years back.
Mr. Hiroyuki Miyazawa, the Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense, during his last visit to Djibouti at the beginning of this month reaffirmed the Japanese government’s commitment to fostering relations with Djibouti and showing support in the fight and hopefully extinction of piracy in that area.