Defense officials readied for Africa

Kyodo

The Defense Ministry plans to send resident officials to gather military information in seven African countries and Brazil from fiscal 2014, a government source said Friday.

The dispatch of these attaches to obtain data about terrorism and other security matters comes after dozens of foreign nationals, including Japanese, were taken hostage and killed at a gas plant in Algeria in January. As well as Brazil, the envoys will be dispatched to Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa. Officials already have been sent to Egypt and Sudan, the source said.

In addition, the ministry will increase the number of its officials in European countries that have influence on Africa, including Britain, France and Germany, according to the source.

Japan has been providing not only financial but other kinds of aid to help Africa combat terrorism and improve security. The ministry is planning to set up a section in fiscal 2014 to reinforce human resources and enhance intelligence analysis capabilities.

The African countries were selected because of their close links to Tokyo.