Foreign Minister Taro Kono met with Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf in Tokyo on Aug. 30 and agreed to boost maritime security cooperation. Japan’s Self-Defense Forces set up a base for their patrol planes engaging in counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden in Djibouti in 2011. Meanwhile, the Chinese military set up a logistics outpost there, increasing its presence in the African country. Kono sought understanding for the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, a diplomatic policy of the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, from Djibouti.
During a joint press conference held after the meeting, Kono pointed out, “Djibouti is a very important partner” for realizing the strategy. Youssouf responded, “Japan and Djibouti have a strategic relationship.” He added: “Global maritime security is very important for strengthening rules and also important for both countries’ strategies.”