Japan Self-Defense Force Base Djibouti

The Japan Self-Defense Force Base Djibouti (Japanese: ジブチ共和国における自衛隊拠点, Hepburn: Jibuchi Kyouwakoku ni okeru Jieitai Kyoten) is a military base operated by the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) located in Ambouli, Djibouti alongside the Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport.[2]

Japan Self-Defense Force Base Djibouti
Flag of Japan.svg
Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport Onyshchenko.jpg
Coordinates11°33′11″N 43°08′39″E / 11.553109°N 43.1442278°E / 11.553109; 43.1442278
TypeJapan Self-Defense Force Base
Site information
OwnerJapan Self-Defense Force
Site history
Garrison information
Garrison600 soldiers (2016)[1]

It is the JSDF's first full-scale, long term overseas base.


Since their establishment in the 1950s following World War II, Japan's Self-Defense Forces have concerned themselves only with defense of the home islands. In the 1990s, JSDF contingents were dispatched to Cambodia under the UN and to Iraq to aid in reconstruction efforts. These were relatively short-term missions and used temporary bases.[3]

Throughout 2009, in response to piracy off the coast of Somalia members of the European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other countries including Japan, China, Australia, and many others deployed personnel, air and naval resources as part of global anti-piracy measures. In July 2009, the National Diet passed the "Anti-piracy measures law".[4]

From March 2009, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) deployed the destroyers JS Sazanami and JS Samidare.[5] The JMSDF also deployed two P-3 Orion patrol aircraft to Djibouti, which began patrols on June 11, 2009.[6] From 2009 to 2011, the aircraft operated from Camp Lemonnier, which is run by the United States Navy.[7][8][9]

JGSDF soldiers conducting maintenance work in Djibouti.


On April 3, 2009, then Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone and Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf signed a letter on the legal and official status of JSDF troops in Djibouti operating in the area for anti-piracy operations.[10]

In March 2011,[11] the JMSDF established its own base nearby with 180 troops deployed there on a four-month rotational basis, with a command headquarters, boarding facilities and parking apron, at a cost of ¥4.7 billion yen (US$40 million).[12][13]

In 2015, two of the JMSDF's new Kawasaki P-1 patrol aircraft deployed to the base, to continue with operational trials within tropical and desert climates.[14][15]

Three Lockheed C-130H Hercules aircraft of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's 401st Tactical Airlift Squadron were sent to the base in July 2016 to evacuate Japanese citizens from Juba in South Sudan after fighting broke out there.[16][17][18] They were expected to pick up around 70 Japanese citizens.[19]

In August 2016, Tomomi Inada, the then Japanese Minister of Defense, visited the base.[20]

In November 2016, it was announced that the Japanese government was considering expanding the 12-hectare (30-acre) site by leasing more land to the east. It was considering deploying C-130 Hercules aircraft and Bushmaster armored vehicles. This was reportedly so that Japan could more easily rescue Japanese citizens in Africa.[21]

From September 25 to October 2, 2017, the SDF conducted a drill in Djibouti to practice rescuing Japanese nationals.[22]

In November 2017, a C-2 of the 403rd Tactical Airlift Squadron deployed to the base for the first time.[23] In the same month, it was confirmed that the base would be expanded. Currently 12 hectares (30 acres), Japan will lease 3 hectares (7.4 acres) on the eastern side of the SDF base.[24]


The following units are based in Djibouti:

  • Deployment Air Force Counter Piracy Enforcement (Japanese: 派遣海賊対処行動航空隊)[25]
  • Deployment Support-Group for Counter Piracy Enforcement (Japanese: 派遣海賊対処行動支援隊)[25]

11°33′11″N 43°08′39″E / 11.55311°N 43.144228°E / 11.55311; 43.144228

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The strategic attractions of Djibouti".
  2. ^ Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. "Japan to expand Djibouti base despite decline in piracy | DW | 19.11.2018". DW.COM. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  3. ^ Yomiuri Provides More Details on Djibouti Base May 28, 2011 Archived July 18, 2018, at the Wayback Machine Japan Security Watch
  4. ^ "海賊対処への取り組み | 統合幕僚監部". Archived from the original on June 23, 2019.
  5. ^ Japan destroyers set sail on anti-piracy mission April 20, 2009 CNN Retrieved November 23, 2016
  6. ^ Japan's Actions against Piracy off the Coast of Somalia September 2012 Ministry of Foreign Affairs Retrieved November 21, 2016
  7. ^ Japan: Joining the Anti-Piracy Effort off the Somali Coast May 28, 2009 Retrieved November 21, 2016
  8. ^ Here’s how Coalition Patrol Planes Hunt Somali Pirates in the Horn of Africa January 23, 2013 The Aviationist Retrieved November 21, 2016
  9. ^ Japan's Actions against Piracy off the Coast of Somalia February 15, 2016 Ministry of Foreign Affairs Retrieved November 21, 2016
  10. ^ "外務省: ジブチ共和国における日本国の自衛隊等の地位に関する日本国政府とジブチ共和国政府との間の交換公文について".
  11. ^ "Government constructs large-scale SDF facility in Djibouti". www.japan-press.co.jp. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  12. ^ https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Red-Sea-rivalries-The-Gulf-the-Horn-and-the-new-geopolitics-of-the-Red-Sea.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  13. ^ "Japan eyes first overseas SDF long-term base in Djibouti". January 20, 2015.
  14. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20150707085559/http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/formal/info/news/201507/20150707-02.pdf
  15. ^ Gady, Franz-Stefan. "Japan Seeks To Export its New Sub-Hunting Plane." The Diplomat, 9 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Japan sends military planes for evacuation of citizens in South Sudan". Reuters. July 11, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  17. ^ "Violence spurs Japan to evacuate workers from South Sudan". apnews.com. July 12, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  18. ^ Yoshida, Reiji SDF is ordered to evacuate Japanese nationals from South Sudan July 11, 2016 Japan Times Retrieved November 23, 2016
  19. ^ "Violence spurs Japan to evacuate workers from South Sudan". Sun.Star. July 12, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  20. ^ New defense chief Tomomi Inada meets SDF personnel engaged in anti-piracy mission off Somalia August 15, 2016 Japan Times Retrieved November 25, 2016
  21. ^ Japan to expand Djibouti military base to counter Chinese influence October 13, 2016 Reuters Retrieved November 21, 2016
  22. ^ "SDF to conduct drill in Djibouti aimed at protecting Japanese nationals abroad". Japan Times. September 16, 2017. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  23. ^ "C-2による国外運航訓練の実施について" (PDF). mod.go.jp (in Japanese). October 6, 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  24. ^ "Japan to expand SDF base in tiny but strategically important Djibouti". Japan Times. November 19, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  25. ^ a b "派遣海賊対処行動航空隊 | 統合幕僚監部" (in Japanese). Joint Staff. Archived from the original on April 22, 2021.