Around in Somalia (Resolutions 1814, 1816, 1838, 1844, and

Around
2008 the international community began a more aggressive approach to combat
piracy, which grew ever more expansive and proactive in the years following.
According to The World Bank, in 2008 the UN Security Council passed 13
Resolutions to support anti-piracy operations aimed at the Horn of Africa (The
World Bank, 2013, pp. xi). One of the most significant resolutions was the 2008
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851 (from here on UNRES 1851).

 

UNRES
1851 was a significant resolution aiming to counter piracy in and around
Somalia. The resolution itself expanded upon previous resolutions concerning
piracy in Somalia (Resolutions 1814, 1816, 1838, 1844, and 1846) as well as
responding to TFG requests for international support in combating piracy
(United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851, 2009, pp. 140). UNRES 1851,
according to Alessi and Hanson, “authorized states with navies deployed in the
Gulf of Aden to, with the permission of Somalia’s Transitional Federal
Government, take action against pirates and armed robbers within Somalia”
(Alessi and Hanson, 2012, pp. 5). The language of the UNRES 1851 is very
specific in that a State must receive explicit permission from the Somali
government (TFG) in order to operate (United Nations Security Council
Resolution 1851, 2009, pp. 141) and which is granted for a period of 12 months
(Daxecker and Paris, 2013, pp. 941). UNRES 1851 also authorizes international
actors, with the permission and capacity to do so and providing operations
remain in accordance with international law, employ naval forces and military
aircraft in order to combat piracy off the Somali coast (United Nations
Security Council Resolution 1851, 2009, pp. 141). Additionally, UNRES 1851
created the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) in January
2009 with mandate to “address military and operational coordination, capacity
building, judicial issues, shipping self-awareness and public information related
to piracy” (Alessi and Hanson, 2012, pp. 5) in addition to “facilitate
coordination of the 60 countries and 20 international organizations working to
prevent piracy (The World Bank, 2013, pp. xii). Another international, although
African led, initiative was the 2009 Djibouti Code of Conduct which was tasked
with the implementation of initiatives demanded by UNRES 1851 (Alessi and Hanson,
2012, pp. 5) and (The World Bank, 2013, pp. xii). Further international
programs have included, “the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecutions Intelligence
Co-ordination Center, and the Indian Ocean Commission Anti-Piracy partnership
program” (The World Bank, 2013, pp. xii).

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International
naval operations have also been affected by UNRES 1851. Following this
resolution, North American Treaty Organization (NATO), European Union (EU),
United States of America (U.S.), missions have been deployed to the Gulf of
Aden. The EU mission to Somalia is conducted under the European Union Naval
Force Somalia via Operation Atalanta, NATO via Operation Ocean Shield, and
Combined Task Force 151 (CTF151) (The World Bank, 2013, pp. xi) and (Nelson and
Fitch, 2012, pp. 1). According to the NATO website, in 2008 NATO reacted to UN overtures
for assistance in combating pirates with Operation Allied Provider (2008), Allied
Protector (2009), Operation Ocean Shield (2009-2016) and NATO support for the
U.S.-led CTF151 (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 2016). Other individual
State initiatives have included states such as India, China, Russia, Australia
(Alessi and Hanson, 2012, pp. 6), and as we will see later, Japan. The World
Bank reports that over 40 States are involved in some capacity through
operations listed above in order to counter piracy (The World Bank, 2013, pp. xi).
In 2011, Nelson and Fitch report approximately 30 States as having maritime missions
conducted in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea (Nelson and Fitch, 2012, pp. 1). Nevertheless,
I surmise that 2011, witnessing the peak of pirate attacks, was especially
difficult for maritime forces. Nelson and Fitch assert that, because the
pirates operated much further than traditionally was the case, “the high-risk
area includes more than 1.1 million square nautical miles of ocean. Given that
this vast area is patrolled by approximately 25 naval vessels, each vessel is
faced with the daunting task of patrolling, on average, 44,000 square nautical
miles” (Nelson and Fitch, 2012, pp. 1). From this we can envision the daunting
task faced by international navies.

 

One
may ask, since pirate operations, “begin and end on land” (Daxecker and Prins,
2013, pp. 943), what has Somalia, or the international community done in terms
of ground-based operations? Indeed, one reason for the success of the Roman
General Pompey in his operations against the Mediterranean pirates was his
utilization of both maritime and terrestrial (Army) forces (Caleb Klinger, 2008).
Nelson and Fitch propose that the Western nations have been reluctant to
involve ground forces due to their experiences in Somalia in 1993. Moreover,
they state that Somali citizens themselves are rather averse to foreign
military boots on the ground (Nelson and Fitch, 2012, pp. 2). The European
Union’s Operation Atalanta was tasked with onshore operations however limited
these missions to helicopter operations and have avoided deploying ground forces.
Furthermore, Nelson and Fitch averred that although African Union Mission in
Somalia (AMISOM) could technically combat pirates, AMISOM has primarily focused
on Al-Shabab (Nelson and Fitch, 2012, pp. 2). Internally, both Puntland and
Somaliland created domestic forces tasked with combating the pirates; however,
despite some success and desire to rid themselves of the pirates, they lack the
resources to do so (Nelson and Fitch, 2012, pp. 2). Undeniably, in order to
fight the pirates there must be resources, something which Somalia clearly
lacks. However, in the case of Somalia there is a catch to sending kinetic
weapons or providing training in order to combat piracy – “the United Nations
Arms Embargo on Somalia, Resolution 733 (1992) and 1844 (2008), prohibits not
only the delivery of weapons to Somalia, but the provision of technical
assistance or training of a military nature without UN approval” (Nelson and
Fitch, 2012, pp. 3).

 

International
action has, as we have seen, included a number of individual States and
collective organizations. Interestingly, all of the literature reviewed in the
above two sections did not mention Japanese actions once or Japanese
participation in international efforts. This is surprising as Japan has taken
upon a greater role in many counter-piracy operations. Because Japanese trade
volume is so maritime dependent, the activities of Somali pirates in these
waters required Japan’s intervention to ensure the vitality and safety of these
shipping lanes and preserve the Japanese economy.

 

Writing
for Eurasiareview, Farhaoui summarizes Japanese concerns in these Persian Gulf
developments as dating back to the 1980s (Farhaoui,
2016). During this decade, some Japanese merchant vessels were attacked and
casualties were reported. In response, the Government of Japan declined
physical intervention but did provide financial support for the establishment
of a “reconnaissance system” deployed in the Gulf region (Farhaoui, 2016). By
1992, and with the passing of major domestic laws such as the Peace Keeping
Operations Law (PKO Law) (Act on Cooperation for United Nations Peacekeeping
Operations and Other Operations, 1992), Japan was able to widen its
region-specific lens (Asia-Pacific) to include the Indian Ocean and Arab region
as a whole within its strategic scope. Following the 9/11 attacks on the United
States Japan deployed a contingent of Self-Defense Force personnel to the Gulf
region in 2003 under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) which was followed
by a 2005 monitoring mission of Japanese sea lanes in the Indian Ocean
(Farhaoui, 2016).

 

Exactly
what is Japan’s stake in the security of the Gulf of Aden? According to The
Cabinet Secretariat of The Government of Japan’s March 2016 annual report
(2015):

“Japan depends, 99.6% of its trade
volume, on maritime transportation, therefore, the navigational safety is the
key for the daily life of its people as well as for its economy. The Gulf of
Aden is one of the vital shipping lanes for Japan, since 13% of the world
container cargos and 740,000 exported vehicles…from Japan were transported
through the Gulf of Aden in 2015.”

(The
Cabinet Secretariat The Government of Japan Annual Report 2015, 2016, pp. 2)

 

In
response to a 2008 Japan Seamen Unions demand for security (Farhaoui, 2016), Japanese
counter-piracy operations began in March 2009 under Article 82 of the SDF Act
in order to protect Japanese interests in the waters around Somalia. The
Government of Japan shortly thereafter deployed two JMSDF destroyers and two
P-3C maritime patrol aircraft (The Cabinet Secretariat The Government of Japan
Annual Report 2015, 2016, pp. 4).

 

Franz-Stefan
Gady writing for The Diplomat, states that “According to Japanese Defense
Minister, General Nakatani, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)
conducted 728 counter-piracy operations and escorted more than 3,800 commercial
ships since 2009. In addition, JMSDF aircraft flew more than 1,568 maritime
surveillance and reconnaissance missions” (Franz-Stefan Gady, 2016, pp. 1).
Furthermore, Gady notes that Japan has been operating with CTF151 since 2009
and for three months beginning in June 2015 CTF151 was commanded by JMSDF Rear
Admiral Hiroshi Ito (Gady, 2016, pp. 1), (The Cabinet Secretariat The
Government of Japan Annual Report 2015, 2016, pp. 4-5) and (Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of Japan,2016, pp. 1).

 

Japan’s
Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes other significant actions taken for the
purpose of counter-piracy: “enacting ‘Act of Punishment and Countermeasures
against Piracy’, which criminalizes acts of piracy and enables Japan’s naval
vessels to protect any ship from pirates regardless of her flag” effective July
2009 and extended July 2015; supporting of the CGPCS and Resolution 1851;
assisting the Djibouti Coast Guard; amongst other actions such as financing, significant
aid, and humanitarian assistance (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, 2016, pp.
1)1.
Furthermore, The Cabinet Secretariat The Government of Japan Annual Report 2015
states that in order to provide for security on board Japanese flagged ships traversing
the “pirate infested waters”, the “Act on Special Measures Concerning the
Guarding of Japanese Ships in Pirate-Infested Waters” (enacted November 13,
2013) allows Japanese flagged ships to host Privately Contracted Armed Security
Personnel (PCASP) (The Cabinet Secretariat The Government of Japan Annual
Report 2015, 2016, pp. 8). This Annual Report also notes other operations such
as “Joint Counter-Piracy Exercise with EU NAVFOR”, “Joint Counter-Piracy
Exercise with Naval Forces from CTF151″, Joint Counter-Piracy Exercise with the
Pakistan Navy” as well as join exercises with Turkey and the Republic of Korea
as other counter-piracy operations (The Cabinet Secretariat The Government of
Japan Annual Report 2015, 2016, pp. 9).

 

Japan
also maintains a base in Djibouti, operational since June 1, 2011 (Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of Japan, 2016, pp. 1), which hosts two JMSDF P-3C Orion
maritime patrol aircraft and around 200 personnel (Gady, 2016, pp. 1) with
counter-piracy as its operational purpose (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan,
2016, pp. 1). As of 2017, according to Gady, the Japanese stated that they will
continue their anti-piracy operations into 2017 (Gady, 2016, pp. 1). Therefore,
one can easily see that Japan has taken many large steps, and continues to due
so, in order to support international activities in countering pirate
operations in and around the Gulf of Aden. The continuing operations by the
JSDF highlight the importance of the security of its maritime traffic and trade
to the Japanese economy and citizens.

1
The Cabinet Secretariat The Government of Japan Annual Report 2015 also notes
“Japan’s Financial and Technical Cooperation to Tackle Piracy” (The Cabinet
Secretariat The Government of Japan Annual Report 2015, 2016, pp. 10).