Japan’s actions against piracy off the coast of Somalia

20 September 2012, Sweetcrude/African Press Organization (APO), TOKYO, Japan – Japan remains concerned about the continuing threat posed by piracy off the coast of Somalia. In 2011, total of 237 attacks occurred with 28 hijacks, and the threat to the safety of shipping is still growing.

Japan has taken a number of concrete actions to address the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia in cooperation with international partners. Japan is committed to continue with our effort to protect maritime security and to work together with international partners in order to improve stability in Somalia and build capacity in coastal States.

Japan’s actions against piracy include:

enacting “Anti-Piracy Measures Law”, which criminalizes act of piracy and enables Japan’s naval vessels to protect any ship from pirates regardless of her flag. The law came into effect on 24 July 2009. The Cabinet decided to extend the mandate of the current operation until 23 July 2013.

deploying two JMSDF destroyers with Japan Coast Guard law enforcement officers on board from March 2009, as part of the international effort to enhance maritime security through naval patrols and escort operations. As of 5 September 2012, Japan’s vessels have escorted 2,805 ships in 389 escort missions.

deploying two P-3C maritime patrol aircraft to the Gulf of Aden. These aircraft began patrol missions out of Djibouti on 11 June 2009 and have completed 746 mission flights as of 5 September 2012. The patrols are making a significant contribution in detecting pirate vessels and providing information on suspicious ships to other States’ naval vessels and merchant shipping nearby. Numerous cases led to disarming of pirate ships. Furthermore, JMSDF started to operate its facility for counter-piracy mission in Djibouti on 1 June 2011.

actively participating in discussions in the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia established pursuant to UNSC resolution 1851 and its Working Groups. Japan is committed to working in cooperation with other participants in the CGPCS. Japan chaired its fourth meeting in September 2009.

providing financial assistance of approximately US$229 million since 2007 through international organizations, for improvement of the humanitarian and security situations in Somalia.

contributing US$14.6 million to the IMO Djibouti Code Trust Fund (Japan initiates Multi-donor trust fund) for capacity-building in coastal countries neighbouring Somalia, and US$3.5 million to the Trust Fund to Support Initiative of States countering pirates off the coast of Somalia for the purpose of prosecution of suspected pirates.

extending an ad-hoc contribution of US$ 560,000 to the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) in 2012 for the purpose of sharing experience on anti-piracy measures in Asia with neighbouring states around Somalia.

sending survey/ODA missions to the coastal countries including Djibouti and Kenya to consider possible assistance in the area of maritime security toward TICAD V to be held in June 2013 in Tokyo. Japan believes that improving coastal countries’ capabilities for preventing and suppressing piracy and armed robbery is crucial in the international efforts to curb the piracy problem. Japan has also invited coast guard officials of coastal countries neighboring Somalia to training courses and experts’ meetings in Japan.

proceeding with the judicial process against four apprehended Somali pirates who were transferred to Japan in March 2011. Those four pirates are suspected of attempting to hijack and also actually attacking MV GUANABARA off Oman on 5 March 2011.

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