Supporting establishment of a combined coast guard for the three nations of Micronesia [Part 2]
The leaders of the three Micronesian nations in conference
"Chairman of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) Mr. Hanyu holding discussions with the representatives of the three nations
The presidents of the three Micronesian nations (the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau) attended a summit meeting at the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia, Pohnpei Island, on the 19th and 20th of November. The presidents adopted a declaration to work towards establishment of a combined coast guard for the three nations of Micronesia. A request for support for the coast guard was made to the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) and to The Nippon Foundation
.The two foundations responded by means of a letter written by Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, to the effect that the foundations are ready to cooperate and would provide support from a civilian standpoint
for maintenance of the safety of the Micronesian ocean region and its vast EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone).
Patrol boats moored in the Micronesian harbour.
Although, concrete policy regarding support will be discussed at the upcoming inaugural meeting of the “Preparatory Committee for Establishment of a Micronesian Coastguard (tentative title)”, to be attended by representatives of the three Micronesian countries, the U.S. coastguard and members of the Australian navy, it is likely that support will be centred on training facilities, communication systems and capacity building projects. The letter from Chairman Sasakawa, presented by Mr. Jiro Hanyu, Chairman of SPF, welcomed the declaration, stating, “Appropriate management of the ocean area belonging to the three Micronesian nations will contribute to the detection and prevention of illegal activities, protect the environment, and conserve fishery resources”. The letter went on to outline the intention to provide training facilities, communication systems and various capacity building programs.
In recent years, the U.S. Coastguard and Australian Navy have been strengthening their patrols in the ocean area of the three nations in response to increased illegal fishing. In contrast, the two supporting foundations will be providing support from a civilian standpoint. Particular emphasis will be put on capacity building, with training facilities being established in the region and instructors dispatched from Japan to educate local practitioners. Also in the pipeline is training of officer candidates with the cooperation of the Japan Coast Guard Academy in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.
Although the combined population of the three Micronesian nations is only around 180,000 and the combined geographical area of is just 1400Km2, the combined EEZ, at 6,000,000Km2, is the third largest in the world, after the U.S. and Australia. Furthermore, the area represents the only East-West trading route that can serve as an alternative to that stretching between the Taiwan Strait and the Strait of Malacca, thus is highly significant in terms of maritime safety. SPF has been conducting activities to support the Pacific Island Nations since 1988; however, the idea for a combined coast guard surfaced during discussions between President of the Marshall Islands Mr. Litokwa Tomeing and members of SPF and The Nippon Foundation held during the president’s visit to Japan in spring of this year. The possibility of a combined coastguard has since drawn the attention of both the U.S. and Australia.
(Miyazaki Tadashi, the Nippon Foundation)
*This article was reproduced from The Nippon Foundation Blog Magazine with the permission of the Nippon Foundation.