Stronger military ties forged between Japan and Kenya

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Military ties between Kenya and Japan have been strengthened with an inaugural military-to-military dialogue at Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Nairobi headquarters.

The dialogue on Tuesday 9 January was led by KDF Assistant Chief in charge of Operations, Plans, Doctrine and Training, Major General Fred Leuria, and the Japanese Director General for International Affairs, Miura Jun.

A KDF statement has it the pair “exchanged views on a variety of security related issues and opportunities for Kenya-Japan defence co-operation and exchanges”.

Japan is no newcomer to the East African country and its military as a key player in establishing the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in 2009. According to the KDF the Centre “remains the pre-eminent peace support operations (PSO) training institution on the African continent, making Kenya a regional peace and security exporter through professionalisation of peace support operations in the region”.

In addition to Japan, IPSTC has 11 country partners. They are alphabetically, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US).

Another joint Japan/Kenya defence undertaking is the African Rapid Deployment of Engineering Capabilities (ARDEC). It supports rapid deployment of engineering capabilities continentally and has since 2015 developed capacity in 12 African countries.

In 2017, 18 personnel from the Japan Ground Self Defence Force were sent to the fourth round of training under the UN (United Nations) Project ARDEC, implemented by the UN Department of Field Support. Training in Kenya saw military engineering personnel, first from the KDF and later the Tanzania People’s Defence Force receiving instruction on operating “heavy equipment” (presumably excavators, wheel loaders and tractor/loader/backhoes [TLBs] among others).