やしの実通信 by Dr Rieko Hayakawa


水産庁取締船パラオ派遣と平和安全法制 Deployment of Japan Fisheries Agency patrol boat to Palau and the Peace and Security Legislation


















Deployment of Japan Fisheries Agency patrol boat to Palau and the Peace and Security Legislation

The Nippon Foundation's new concession of surveillance boats, which comes with long term of fuel, maintenance and personnel training, had made the project to remain beneficial to Micronesia. But these vessels cannot protect the vast EEZ. So I took my own decision to step in with the Japan Fisheries Agency (JFA). My target was then Deputy Director-General Masanori Miyahara. Mr Miyahara had long had the idea of dispatching JFA patrol boats to the island countries.

'Why don't you do it?' I asked him.

It was January 2014. He was thanked for my removal of Sea Shepherd from Palau in 2011. The JFA official went to the Palau President's Office to shout at him. Then the Sea Shepherd used this action against Japan. I worked with the US to get them out. It was a natural decision, knowing that Palau's security is under US authority.

Mr Miyahara then took action immediately. Mr Koya, now Director General of the JFA, became the point of contact and negotiations began on the dispatch of JFA patrol boat to Palau. The Palauan Government immediately gave the OK after I negotiated with them. However, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japanese Ministry of Justice held it up. Why? They said it is stuck in the Peace and Security Legislation that was being discussed at the Abe government. Don't say it's just a matter of fish. Japan cannot get involved in law enforcement in the Palau EEZ without a legal regime and agreement. The person who took action at that time was the late Yukihiro Wada, then Director of the Oceania Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I will never forget meeting Mr Wada at a conference in Samoa in 2014, where he said, "Please take care of the rest".

In October 2014, the JFA's 500-tonne patrol boat Mihama was dispatched to Palau, a large vessel designed to monitor EEZs. However, the Japanese position was limited to the scope of collecting information on surrounding Japanese fishing vessels. Even so, for the first time the Palauan Government became aware of what was happening in the Palauan EEZ, where no information had even been collected.

Mr Hanyu, who was targeting shipbuilding and MLIT monopolized concessions, was furious at the JFA's dispatch of the boat. I was shouted at by him. But I did what I was shouted at for. I knew his interest is only concessions.

This led to the Nippon Foundation providing Palau with a medium-sized surveillance vessel, which was also a forced gift to Palau. Fortunately, JFA patrol boats have continued seven times since 2014, and the Umesato (499 tonne) was dispatched in 2023. It was operated by Shipriders with Palau law enforcement officers on board.

The problem is that Japan has no maritime security policy. This remains a misunderstanding on the part of both RAND and ifri's Ms Pajon. There is a lot of background to the issue, but it is important to note that both the JFA and the JCG were established by GHQ in 1948, i.e. during the US occupation of Japan.

Finally, I would like to note how I linked this Micronesian maritime security project to the Abe administration's Indo-Pacific concept.