Situating Somali Piracy in Japanese Security Policy

Robert Attwell

Abstract


This paper examines Tokyo’s engagement with Somali piracy and discusses what it reveals about Japan’s overall security posture. I argue that Japan’s response to Somali piracy highlights the continued salience of domestic political processes and em-bedded anti-militarist norms in moulding Tokyo’s responses to emergent threats, of which piracy is a prime example. This is evidenced by the fact that the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), rather than the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF), is primarily responsible for Japan’s anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden. Additionally, I draw attention to the economic logic underpinning Japan’s approach to security and posit that the defence of sea lanes links maritime security issues to continued economic security to explain why combatting maritime piracy is important to Tokyo.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7552/0-4-182

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