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article imageJapan's first foreign military base to open in Djibouti

By Leo Reyes     Apr 25, 2010 in World
The Japanese government is setting up its first foreign military base in Djibouti, a small African state strategically located at the southern end of the Red Sea on the Gulf of Aden. The new military base is set for completion early next year.
Japan is set to open its first foreign military base in Djiobouti, a small African state in an effort to protect its maritime assets in the region.
The military base which will cost the government $40 million to build is set to be completed early next year. The new military base is intended primarily to counter rising piracy in the region which has become a favorite staging area of hijackers and pirates from Somalia.
The Djibouti base breaks new ground for Japan, which has had no standing army since World War II and cannot wage war. It however has armed forces -- the Japan Self-Defence Forces -- which were formed at the end of US occupation in 1952
"This will be the only Japanese base outside our country and the first in Africa," Keizo Kitagawa, Japan's navy force captain and coordinator of the deployment, told AFP recently.
"We are deploying here to fight piracy and for our self-defence. Japan is a maritime nation and the increase in piracy in the Gulf of Aden through which 20,000 vessels sail every year is worrying," Kitagawa said.
Kitagawa said Japan has sent teams top Yemen, Oman, Kenya and Djibouti and after careful assessment, Japan has opted for Djibouti on account of its strategic location.
The Red Sea state, which is home to the largest overseas French military base and the only US army base in Africa, was picked for its suitable air and sea ports as well as political stability, the official said.
More about Piracy, Military base, South Africa, Somalia, Japan
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