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2012年8月19日 (日)

不法入国者送還 「尖閣」管理へ海保の拡充を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 19, 2012)
Govt must boost JCG power to control Senkaku Islands
不法入国者送還 「尖閣」管理へ海保の拡充を(8月18日付・読売社説)

The government should make further efforts to bolster the Japan Coast Guard's policing abilities to maintain and stably manage the Senkaku Islands.

The government on Friday authorized the deportation of 14 people, including anti-Japan activists from Hong Kong, who were arrested earlier this week on suspicion of violating the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law by landing on Uotsurijima island, one of the Senkakus. Judicial proceedings against them were not taken because it was concluded their action did not constitute a serious violation of law, such as the obstruction of public duties.

Such a decision appears to be inevitable, but it is unlikely to bring down the curtain on this issue.

Anti-Japan groups such as the one based in Hong Kong have seen their funding boosted and are likely to step up their activities. There are signs that the latest Senkaku incident could develop into anti-Japan protests throughout China.

The government should press China again not to ignore such provocative acts by private groups.


Be cautious of China's tactics

Regarding measures to prevent further illegal intrusions onto the islands, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said at a press conference, "Ministers concerned will swiftly deal with the matter."

Members of the government must share the same recognition of what is at stake and establish a system to quickly eliminate illegal acts.

There is concern that the Chinese government could try to take control of events if another incident like this one flares up in the future.

China has expanded its effective control of the South China Sea, where it has territorial disputes with neighboring countries, by having fishing boats enter disputed waters and then deploying fisheries patrol vessels and warships for the ostensible purpose of protecting the fishing boats.

The situation of the East China Sea, where the Senkaku Islands are located, differs from that of the South China Sea, but the government needs to be cautious to prevent Beijing from using similar tactics.

China reportedly plans to increase its number of patrol vessels to 520 by 2020, including ones to be deployed in the East China Sea.

In contrast, the JCG has basically taken a scrap-and-build strategy for patrol vessels. A significant increase from the current fleet of about 360 patrol vessels would be difficult. The JCG is bound to be overtaken by its Chinese counterparts in terms of both quality and quantity. The time has come for Japan to consider plans to expand JCG power.


Buildup plans for JCG needed

We suggest the government create mid- and long-term buildup plans for the JCG, analogous to the National Defense Program Outline and the Mid-Term Defense Program for the Self-Defense Forces.

During a plenary session of the House of Representatives in July, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said, "The government will respond firmly [to intrusions on Japanese territory including the Senkaku Islands] and use the SDF if necessary."

The SDF needs to speed up work to increase its surveillance of the Nansei Islands to counter China's naval buildup.

The presence of the U.S. military is also important. The Senkaku Islands fall within areas for Japan-U.S. joint defense.

The U.S. deployment of new MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft to Okinawa Prefecture would enhance the mobility of U.S. marines in times of emergency. It would also be conducive to protecting the Senkaku Islands. The latest Senkaku incident reaffirms the need for the deployment.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 18, 2012)
(2012年8月18日01時38分  読売新聞)


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