JSDF marine ships to call on Cape Town

Defense Attaches in Pretoria join the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the JSDF with Japanese Defence Attaché, Lieutenant Colonel Koichi Kamijukkoku  (photo: Embassy of Japan)

18 June 2024

Cape Town – South Africa will be a port of call during the Japan Marine Self Defence Force Overseas Training Cruise in 2024. Ambassador Ushio of Japan to South Africa made this announcement at the 70th anniversary of the foundation of Japanese Self-Defense Forces Day at reception at the Embassy in Pretoria.

Making a historical time reference on the founding of the JSDF on the July 1 1954, Ambassador Ushio said, "At that time in South Africa, Mr. Albert Luthuli was President-General of the African National Congress. He would later(1961) be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in leading the non-violent anti-apartheid movement, becoming Africa’s first Nobel laureate. The changes of the past 70 years are evident in the history of South Africa, which has already celebrated 30 years of democracy after going through a difficult period."

Ambassador USHIO Shigeru - Emabassy of Japan

From the 3rd to the 6th of July this year two training ships from Japan will arrive with approximately 200 young trainee officers on board. This will be the very first time that the JSDF will call on a port in South Africa. The officers on board are considered the future Japanese admirals whose duty will be to bridge and further strengthen relations and cooperation with the African Continent, including South Africa.

"For Japan, 1954 was nine years after Japan’s defeat in World War II and three years after the Treaty of Peace with Japan was signed,"said ambassador Ushio in his commemorative remarks. "The JSDF was established as a minimum self-defence force in response to the worsening situation in East Asia."

Over the past 70 years, since its foundation, the JSDF has continued to develop, fostering a peaceful nation and saving many lives in large-scale disasters in Japan and abroad.  

Furthermore, the JSDF continues to contribute to the peace and stability of the international community today. 

On the African continent, the JSDF participated for the first time in a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operation in 1993 in Mozambique.
In 2009, Japan began anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and established a base in Djibouti in 2011. From 2011, an engineering unit was deployed in South Sudan and, in 2014, JSDF transport aircraft delivered personal protective equipment to Ghana during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. 

Currently, the JSDF continues to dispatch personnel to UN peacekeeping operations in South Sudan and is also engaged in anti-piracy operations in Djibouti.

One of the top priorities of Japanese diplomacy is the realization of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, or FOIP for short, to maintain and strengthen a rule-based, free and open international order. 

In 1993, JSDF was engaged in a peacekeeping operation in Mozambique and it was also the year in which Japan hosted the first Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD. The concept of FOIP was first publicly announced at TICAD 6, that was held in Kenya in 2016 by the then Japanese Prime Minister ABE Shinzo. 

Japan has always respected Africa as our friend, said Ushio. "Our desire is for the Indo-Pacific to be open and free, connecting the two oceans and the two continents together, and connecting Japan and Africa together. I feel this desire is shared by the founder of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa."

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