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Press ReleaseSupporting establishment of a regional coast guard for the three nations of Micronesia


November 21, 2008
The following is an update of the situation concerning the proposed regional coast guard for the three nations of Micronesia.

At a summit meeting held on November 20, 2008 in Pohnpei, the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia, the presidents of the three Micronesian nations (Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau) adopted a communique to work towards establishment of a regional coast guard for the three nations. The three presidents then made an official request to the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) and the Nippon Foundation to support the establishment of the regional coast guard. The foundations responded to this request by means of a letter written by Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, stating that both foundations wished to cooperate with the establishment process.

Although concrete policy regarding support will be discussed at the preparatory committee for coast guard establishment, to be attended by the reprentatives from three Micronesian nations, SPF, the Nippon Foundation, the U.S. Coast guard and members of the Australian Navy, it is likely that support will be centred on training facilities, communication systems and capacity building projects. Particular emphasis will be put on capacity building, with training facilities being established in the region and instructors dispatched from Japan to provide guidance to local practitioners. Among other ideas now under consideration is provision of opportunities for officer candidates to train in Japan.

Although the combined population of the three Micronesian nations is only around 180,000 and the combined geographical area of is just 1400Km², their combined Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), at 6,000,000Km², is the third largest in the world, after that of the U.S. and Australia. Management of this vast EEZ without external assistance is a great challenge, and there are limits to the assistance that the U.S. and Australia can provide through marine patrols and clampdowns on illegal fishing; as a means to address this grave situation, the abovementioned appeal for support for a regional coast guard was made to SPF and the Nippon Foundation. Although SPF has been conducting activities to support the Pacific Island Nations since 1988, the idea for a regional coast guard only surfaced in spring of this year during discussions with the president of the Marshall Islands during his visit to Japan.