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Japan to assist Vietnam in maritime security

Wednesday, August 03, 2016, 20:00 GMT+7

Japan has promised to assist Vietnam in the enhancement of maritime law enforcement with help in the areas of infrastructure, human resources, and law.

During an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper in Tokyo on Tuesday, Motonari Adachi, director of the International Affairs and Crisis Management Division under the Japan Coast Guard, confirmed that Vietnam is Japan’s closest partner in Southeast Asia.

The two nations share several similarities in terms of geographical features, including long coast lines and multiple islands, as well as international issues regarding complicated situations at sea, Adachi elaborated.

According to the official, Tokyo is in a better situation than Hanoi thanks to its powerful law enforcement forces including a fleet of 452 vessels, of which 128 are patrol boats, a total of 13,522 officers, and an annual budget of over JPY187 million (US$1.84 million).

The maritime units are also supported by a line-up of 74 modern aircraft and helicopters, Adachi added.

Similar to its Vietnamese counterpart, the Japan Coast Guard is tasked with the primary mission of preventing crimes, smuggling, pirates, terrorism, and illegal fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zone, he stated.

The director said that the role of law enforcement officers at sea is of great significance in current climate.

The Japan Coast Guard is not a military unit, he noted, adding that the force still has to apply assertive yet reasonable measures to force violators to comply with Japanese and international laws.

With regard to the support the Japanese maritime force has for Vietnam, Adachi confirmed that the most essential factor is to develop human resources, followed by the strengthening of infrastructure in the form of official development assistance (ODA).

Tokyo will also assist Hanoi in stabilizing a set of legal grounds which the latter can apply in the protection of its maritime sovereignty, the official continued.

Speaking during the interview, Professor Tetsuo Kotani, senior fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs, remarked that the East Vietnam Sea is crucial to Japan’s economic development, security and defense.

The United States-Japan alliance also plays a fundamental role in the preservation of peace in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in the East Vietnam Sea, Pro. Kotani stated, adding that U.S. ships depart from Japanese bases to carry out patrols in the maritime area on a daily basis.

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