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Japan Constructs Large Military Base in Djibouti  

PanOrient News

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Democratic Party of Japan-led government is constructing a large military facility in Djibouti, the first Self-Defense Forces’ base abroad "to counter piracy in the waters off Somalia in East Africa", Akahata reporterd.

The newspaper of the Japanese Communist Party said that this information was revealed by a government response in writing to a written inquiry submitted by Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Akamine Seiken on November 2.

In June 2009, the government dispatched a Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) unit, including two P3C patrol aircraft and 150 MSDF servicemen, to Djibouti. Along with two destroyers which were sent in 2008, the unit is taking part in anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden. At present, the MSDF unit uses the U.S. base next to the Djibouti International Airport as a foothold for its activities, according to the paper.

Akahata added that "after signing a lease on the land with the Djibouti government, the Japanese government in July began building a MSDF facility in the north-west zone of the airport as its new base of operations."

The government’s response states that "by using 4.7 billion yen in tax money, the government plans to construct a 12 hectare facility which includes housing units, hangers, and an office building. The facility will also have an aircraft apron which can hold three aircraft and will be completed in March 2011."

Akamine criticized the MSDF’s new facility currently under construction in Djibouti as being a “genuine military base” and said, “Constructing such a facility enables the Self-Defense Forces to possess a permanent base abroad for the first time since the war’s end. It is a matter of extreme importance concerning abiding by the Japanese Constitution.”

He also urged the government to withdraw the SDF units from Djibouti, pointing out that even though many countries have sent their military forces to Somalia, acts of piracy are increasing and that “sending military forces offers no solution to the occurrence of piracy.”

Source: PanOrient News

Djibouti Rejects Alleged Destabilization Role in Somalia

News VOA

By Peter Clottey

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Djibouti has sharply denied accusations that it played a role in fueling violence in neighboring Somalia.

Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki blamed Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia for interfering in Somalia's internal political affairs, which he said has led to Somalia's instability. 

President Afewerki also criticized Washington, saying its preoccupation of hunting down terror suspects is complicating Somalia's peace process.

The international community has often accused Eritrea of supporting hard-line Islamic insurgents who have vowed to overthrow the Somali government.

Ambassador Roble Olhaye Oudine, Djibouti's Permanent Representative to the United Nations told VOA that Asmara is deflecting accusations of its own role in destabilizing Somalia.

"I think that is a very self-inflicting statement because he (Afewerki) is just trying to deflect an ever-growing concern by the international community about Eritrea's ever-growing involvement in Somalia's internal affairs," said Ambassador Olhaye Oudine.

He said Asmara has often backed insurgents who are fighting the Somali government.

"They've been behind the insurgency and fueling chaos and fomenting troubles and training and arming, funneling, funding, so there are all kinds of accusations against them," he said.

Ambassador Olhaye Oudine said Asmara is pointing accusing fingers at neighboring countries.

"Nobody has so far heard this new claim by him (Afewerki) where he accused not only Djibouti, but he said, if I read his statement correctly, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. I think that is the way he put it," Ambassador Olhaye Oudine said.

He expressed doubt over Asmara's accusation.

"Who is listening to Asmara? Who is giving credibility to Asmara and who is going to justify that statement? They are saying the obvious (because) what is accused against them is what they try always to deflect and say on others," he said.

Ambassador Olhaye Oudine denies Djibouti played a role in destabilizing Somalia.

"There is nothing to justify that Djibouti is doing anything, and we don't have to defend ourselves on that because this is the very first statement by somebody who is indicted and who has been totally accused and condemned of his activities in Somalia, who is now speaking and hurling countercharges against other countries," Ambassador Olhaye Oudine said.

He said Asmara's credibility is in question over its accusation

We don't need to refute anything because the point is that we refute allegations from a credible source. This is not a credible source. This is a source that is tainted. Nobody is listening to unfortunately to Eritrea today," he said.

Ambassador Olhaye Oudine urged Eritrea to stop meddling in Somalia's internal affairs.

"The way they have to come clean out of this problem is not by deflecting. They have to come clean and do what is supposed to be done, and that is take their hands out of the region and really concentrate on their own issues," Ambassador Olhaye Oudine said.

Somalia was plunged into chaos after longtime President Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991.

Soldiers prepare to fire M-4 carbines during training on a range in rural Djibouti as Djiboutian Army troops observe

France supports Somalia

Training for Somali Army