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33-nation coast guard commandants’ meeting to open in Tokyo on Sept. 14

The government will create a conference of coast guard commandant-level officials from around 33 countries, including the U.S., China, and Russia. This group will hold its first meeting in Tokyo on Sept. 14 to discuss anti-piracy operations, cooperation during major disasters, and beefing up collaboration relating to maritime security. The new framework is meant to strengthen relations among maritime security agencies to prevent accidental conflicts.

 

In addition to Japan, the U.S., China, and Russia, participants will include the ROK, the Philippines, and other Asian countries, as well as Djibouti, Kenya, and other African states.

 

At the first meeting on Sept. 14, the group will discuss the creation of a mechanism for cooperation among maritime security agencies during major disasters and a framework for cooperation in fighting smuggling, poaching, piracy, and other crimes at sea.

 

There will also be discussions on providing know-how to assist human resources development in developing countries. The results of this discussion will also be included in the joint statement to be adopted that same day. Japan has initiated this global framework because the security of maritime transportation routes in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and other regions are critical for Japanese private companies.

 

Aiming at taking the initiative in maintaining maritime order, Japan will also participate in joint exercises with the participating nations.

 

Tensions are high in the seas around Japan, with Chinese government ships and fishing boats intruding into the area near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa.

 

The Japan Coast Guard has been dealing with this situation by increasing the number of patrol boats operating exclusively in the Senkaku area. Japan hopes that the conference will also help prevent accidents.

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