Japan on Tuesday extended by one year the mission of its forces deployed in Somalia guarding the passage of commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.
The government of Prime Minister Kishida Fumio approved the extension of the country's Self-Defense Forces’ (SDF) counter-piracy mission by one year, public broadcaster NHK News reported. The number of Japanese forces will also be increased.
Japan, the world’s number three economy, imports about 90% of its crude oil from the Middle East.
The Japanese mission to the region based off the coast of Somalia on its north is meant to help secure the safe passage of commercial ships. The term of the current mission was due to finish on coming Friday.
Japan has been deploying its forces to the region since 2009 on the basis of an anti-piracy law under which it sends destroyers and patrol aircraft to “guard Japanese and foreign commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.”
Japanese authorities noted that poverty in Somalia triggers piracy and this socio-economic challenge in the African country is yet to be addressed.
Officials said commercial ships “are still requesting SDF escorts.”
The Japanese forces will also “assist in coordinating entries and exits between Djibouti, where the SDF personnel are based, and areas they operate in, as well as anti-coronavirus measures.”
The Fumio’s government also gave the approval to extend by one year the participation of the SDF personnel in a multinational peacekeeping mission on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.