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Japan eyes providing patrol boats to Indonesia to fight piracy

Kyodo

Japan is arranging to provide patrol boats to Indonesia to support its fight against piracy, government sources said Wednesday, a move seen as part of efforts to assist Asian countries to boost their security capabilities in the face of China’s maritime assertiveness.

Since last year, Japan has announced plans to provide patrol boats and other vessels to the Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka to help boost their maritime security capabilities.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce the assistance when Indonesian President Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, visits Japan possibly in the first half of next year.

The move is aimed at expanding the patrolling of sea lanes connecting the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean as piracy is rampant in waters in Southeast Asia, threatening the safety of vessels including Japanese ones.

In November during talks at a regional economic meeting in Beijing, Abe and Jokowi agreed to step up cooperation on measures to counter piracy.

The boats will likely be offered by utilizing yen loans as port of official development assistance, but only after Jakarta takes measures to prevent a recurrence of ODA-related fraud as Tokyo has suspended ODA to Indonesia due to alleged fraud.