August 18, 2011
Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) opened their first overseas air base since the end of World War II in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, on July 1. The base is intended to beef up Japan’s anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. This enhanced presence has been warmly welcomed by the government of Djibouti, and by US and French armed forces which have already been deployed there. But none of them thinks this new base will bring about a quick improvement of the situation – because the root cause of the piracy is not out at sea, but on the ground in the neighboring failing country of Somalia.