Growing Maritime Security Ties between Japan and Yemen

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

MSDF Murasame

Tokyo -- On Sunday, Japanese Ambassador to Yemen Mitsunori Namba held talks with Chairman of General Staff Ahmed Ali al-Ashwal in Sanaa over military cooperation between the two countries.

These talks highlight the fact that naval security ties between Japan and Yemen have been growing in recent months—though largely ignored by the Japanese and international media.

On April 25, Yemen and Japan signed an initial agreement on the provision of patrol boats to the Yemen Coast Guard for the ostensible purpose of "fighting piracy and terrorism."

This agreement capped an extended visit by a Foreign Ministry and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) team headed by Yukihiro Koizumi.

Tokyo took interest in Yemeni naval capabilities beginning in late 2008 largely in correspondence with concern about Somali piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the surrounding waterways.

The MSDF currently maintains an anti-piracy mission near the Horn of Africa that involves two destroyers and two P-3C surveillance aircraft.

Japan has also built its first overseas SDF military base in Djibouti.

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