Establishment of facility for counter-piracy mission in Djibouti

Then-Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Ogawa presenting a placard to Commander Eto at the opening ceremony
Then-Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Ogawa presenting a placard to Commander Eto at the opening ceremony

With the aim of strengthening counter-piracy mission that have been carried out off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden since 2009, a facility for the exclusive use of SDF personnel in the Republic of Djibouti was established, and a ceremony commemorating the opening of the facility was held on July 7.

The ceremony was attended by then Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Ogawa and Prime Minister Dileita of Djibouti. Then Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Ogawa spoke about the importance of overseas missions, and the groundbreaking significance they have held even in history. Until now, approximately 150 SDF personnel from the Ground and Marine Self-Defense Forces have resided and operated out of U.S. Armed Forces facilities. With the establishment of this facility, the work environment for the troops and maintenance environment for the P-3C patrol aircraft have been improved significantly. Currently, operations are being carried out by approximately 180 SDF personnel, including 30 personnel that were added for the purposes of running the facility.

Anti-piracy operations extended for one year

On July 8, through Security Council and Cabinet meetings, the Government decided to extend anti-piracy operations by the SDF off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden for one year. The decision was reported to the Diet.

Until now, the SDF has protected civilian commercial ships in the abovementioned waters with two destroyers, and conducted surveillance and patrol activities with two P-3C patrol aircraft. As acts of piracy continue to pose significant threat in these waters, the need to take measures against such acts has been perceived to remain unchanged. As such, the decision was made to extend anti-piracy operations for one year. The 9th Surface Unit (destroyers “Samidare” and “Umigiri”) and the 7th Air Unit have been engaged in these activities as of the end of September.

Anti-piracy operations off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden

Operations performed by P-3C patrol aircraft in the skies above these waters

Operations for July to August, 2011

  1. Number of flights: 39 (Accumulated total: 527)
  2. Flight hours accumulated: Approximately 290 (Accumulated total: Approximately 4,080)
  3. Number of visually confirmed commercial ships: Approximately 2,990 (Accumulated total: 39,360)
  4. Number of times information provided to Japanese destroyers, foreign warships, and/or commercial ships: Approximately 310 (Accumulated total: 4,760)

Instances when the P-3C provided information:

On July 22, based on information about a piracy attack on a commercial ship traveling in the Gulf of Aden, “Samidare,” which had been engaged in escort operations, deployed its mounted helicopter to verify the safety of the commercial ship in question. Despite searches conducted in the vicinity, it did not locate any suspicious vessels. The P-3C that was engaged in surveillance flight took over the search, and confirmed the presence of a suspicious skiff (five crew members, one step-ladder, multiple polymer tanks, and one outboard motor). It reported the incident to a U.S. ship travelling nearby. The U.S. ship took over the response to the incident, and the P-3C returned to surveillance and patrol operations.

Escort operations performed by the Surface Unit in these waters

Operations for July to August, 2011

  1. Number of escort operations: 21 (The 259th ~ 279th escort operations) (The 218th ~ 238th escort operations under Japan’s Anti-Piracy Measures Law)
  2. Number of escorted vessels: 171 (Accumulated total of 2,029 escorted vessels since the start of operations under Japan's Anti-Piracy Measures Law, as for the figures stated below.)

[Breakdown]

Japanese-registered ships: 1 (Accumulated total of 13)
Foreign ships operated by Japanese shipping companies: 19 (Accumulated total of 443)
(Out of the 19 foreign ships, Japanese citizens were on board 1 ship.)

Foreign ships other than the above: 151 (Accumulated total of 1,573)
(Out of the 151 foreign ships, Japanese citizens were on board 1 ship.)

  1. *The above record does not include the 1st ~ 41st escort operations performed as Maritime Security Activities, which were performed before the establishment of the Anti-Piracy Measures Law.
  2. **If the Anti-Piracy Measures Law had not come into force, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers would not have been able to legally escort 147 vessels (the 147 foreign ships not operated by Japanese shipping companies).
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