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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 January 13 - 19  > JCP Kasai criticizes gov’t plan to expand SDF base functions in Djibouti
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2016 January 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

JCP Kasai criticizes gov’t plan to expand SDF base functions in Djibouti

January 13, 2016
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kasai Akira on January 12 in a Diet committee meeting criticized the Defense Ministry for considering upgrading functions of Self-Defense Forces’ base in Djibouti in Africa so that it can be used as a support base for the U.S. military there.

In the House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting, Kasai pointed out that as the war legislation legalized the SDF’s support for U.S. military activities, the plan to reinforce Japan’s only overseas base is one of the government’s first moves to make use of the legislation.

The Japanese government in 2011 set up a SDF base in Djibouti, a coastal country in northeastern Africa, by using the need to fight against pirates in the Gulf of Aden as an excuse. Although the number of piracy incidents in the region has decreased year by year to zero in 2015, the Defense Ministry refuses to withdraw SDF troops from Djibouti and intends to utilize the Djibouti base for other purposes, Kasai said.

Kasai went on to say that in September 2015, just before the forcible enactment of the war legislation, the Defense Ministry started a research project to utilize the SDF base in Djibouti to strengthen cooperation between the SDF and the U.S. military. The specification of the project states that the project is to find out what kinds of roles the SDF Djibouti base are expected to play by members of the Coalition of the Willing (the United States, France, and Italy) which have their bases in Djibouti and are carrying out military operations in the Middle East against the IS extremist group.

Asked by Kasai if the Defense Ministry considers utilizing the Djibouti base for the anti-terrorism war, Defense Minister Nakatani Gen stopped short of denying the option.

The JCP lawmaker introduced the findings of another research report published by the Defense Ministry’s Joint Staff College in March 2014. He pointed out that the report proposes to turn the SDF Djibouti base into an international logistics support base and strengthen the SDF capability so that it can carry out joint missions with the U.S. military.

Kasai said, “As Japan has the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, it is totally unforgivable for the country to allow the use of the SDF base in Djibouti for airstrikes in other countries’ territories.”

Past related articles:
> PM Abe aims at further sending SDF troops abroad [August 29, 2013]
> Gov’t should end permanent use of SDF’s overseas base: JCP Inoue [November 19, 2013]
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