(Sankei: November 30, 2015 – p. 1)
The Ministry of Defense is conducting a survey on overseas military bases of foreign countries in preparation for expanding the functions of a base that the Maritime Self-Defense Force operates in Djibouti, sources close to the government revealed on November 29. The research is aimed at making use of the Djibouti base to address frequent terrorist attacks in African countries and station U.N. peacekeeping operation units, as well as respond to piracy acts.
The MOD is examining the functions, operations, size, and maintenance and overhaul expenses of military bases and warehouses that the U.N., the U.S., Europe, and other close allies operate outside their home countries. The survey, which is being conducted jointly with a private firm, is expected to continue through March.
Once the security legislation enacted in September goes into effect, the role of the SDF will be expanded. The SDF are expected to perform such missions as rescuing Japanese nationals overseas in the event of terrorist attacks and to play a more active role in PKO and other international cooperation activities. As the Djibouti base is SDF’s only base overseas, the MOD finds it necessary to make better use of it.
“The SDF has little experience operating bases overseas,” a senior MOD official said. “Thus it is necessary to study other countries’ cases in order to expand our functions.”
The MOD will examine the additional functions and infrastructure that will be required for the Djibouti base. It is planning to use the base to respond to large-scale natural disasters, as well as terrorist attacks and the stationing of PKO units. It is looking to earmark the expenses needed for expanded functions in the budget for fiscal 2017. (Abridged)