The Japanese government has donated MVR 38 million worth drug detection and testing equipment to the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). The donated resources, facilitated through an agreement made with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in March of this year, will be used to identify illicit drugs brought into the Maldives by sea.

The Japanese Embassy in the Maldives, in a statement, said that the testing equipment will be used for the identification of drugs and to aid in the investigation and prosecution of related offences.

Minister of Defence, Mariya Ahmed Didi, accepted Japan’s donation, presented by the country’s ambassador to the Maldives, Takeuchi Midori, during a ceremony held at the Bandaara Koshi army barracks in Malé on Thursday.

Formal diplomatic relations between Japan and the Maldives was established in 1967. The Maldives established the nation’s first Embassy in Tokyo, Japan in 2007 and Japan established their first Embassy in Malé, Maldives in 2016. The Japanese government has been one of the Maldives’ biggest development partners and has made significant contributions in education, environmental protection and other areas of socio-economic relevance.

UNODC was initially established by the United Nations (UN) in 1997 as the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, by combining the UN International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division in the United Nations Office at Vienna, later adopting its current name in 2002. UNODC’s focus is the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs, crime prevention and criminal justice, international terrorism, and political corruption.