Published On: Tue, May 16th, 2017

Japan proud of its counter-piracy operations

Japanese forces have successfully participated in counter-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, Japanese Ambassador Norihiro Okuda said here at the weekend.

Okuda was speaking after hosting a reception celebrating the 63rd Japan Self-Defense Forces Day in the Saudi capital.

Several hundreds of guests celebrated and enjoyed the memorial day of the one of the world’s leading and state-of-the-art armed forces.

Okuda said: “As the calamity of the World War II determined us not to use our military forces as a means to solve international conflicts, we had refrained from dispatching any JSDF troops anywhere outside Japan since its establishment.”

However, the security environment significantly changed during the Gulf War in 1991. After the war, disposing off the mines laid by Saddam Hussein’s army became an urgent task for the international community to keep the safety for the international navigation.

“What Japan should do about this issue became a contentious point of political discussions in Japan. Until then, Japan had strictly adhered to the policy of never sending any military troops overseas.

“Most Japanese people also had a firm belief that not to dispatch military troops was a token of their commitment to the world peace and that, therefore, the traditional policy had to be maintained.  However, after a series of heated political debates, we realized that we would have to respond to the changing needs of the world and that using the Self-Defense Forces at the global stage could be a meaningful contribution to the international security,” Okuda said.

This was how the Japanese government decided to send its naval forces to the Gulf region. In 1991, Japan sent its mine warfare forces to the Gulf where they contributed to the security of the region by successfully sweeping those mines.

This experience considerably changed the Japanese public opinion toward the overseas deployment of the Self-Defense Forces.

The Japanese people understood that dispatching troops for overseas missions could be one of the constructive ways to help promote the stability of the international community.

Since then, Japan has engaged in various international contributions with its Self-Defense Forces.

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