Minister in charge of Ocean Policy and Territorial Issues Jun Matsumoto visited Tsushima Island in Nagasaki on Feb. 4. During his meeting with Nagasaki Governor Hodo Nakamura and Tsushima Mayor Naoki Hitakatsu, he noted that the government plans to step up its efforts to promote the island’s economy. “Foreign fishing boats have been observed engaged in illegal fishing off the coast of Tsushima,” he said in the meeting. “From the perspective of maritime security, the island is located in an area of strategic importance. We want to learn more about challenges the island faces as a result of population decline.” On Feb. 5, he will be debriefed by the Japan Coast Guard on the maritime security situation inside territorial waters.
In Tsushima, which is attracting a growing number of South Korean tourists, a firm with South Korean capital purchased a plot of land near Self-Defense Forces facilities. Foreign ships have been spotted off the coast on many occasions. Remote islands serve as a base for managing Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. From the security viewpoint, retaining population on those islands is a pressing issue. Starting from fiscal 2017, the government will extend aid to inhabited islands near the national border, including Tsushima, through such measures as the lowering of fares for trips by air and sea.