Japan will guard disputed islands
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force will now respond when Chinese vessels enter the Senkakus’ territorial waters.
Japan’s MSDF Will Help Guard Disputed Islands From Chinese Warships
On Tuesday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga clarified that Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Forces (MSDF) can engage in a “maritime policing operation” when a foreign warship enters Japan’s territorial waters and is not practicing “innocent passage” under international law. The Yomiuri Shimbunreported that such seaborne patrolling actions would be undertaken should Chinese naval ships enter the territorial waters surrounding the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani also confirmed, “If it becomes difficult for the police and Japan Coast Guard (JCG) to deal with the matter [in the East China Sea], there is the principle of having the SDF respond through maritime policing activities.” Per the Self-Defense Law, the MSDF could operate when the JCG is not sufficient to deal with the situation – such as when a foreign ship outguns the JCG. The Abe Cabinet decided last May that the defense minister could mobilize the MSDF following a phone conference should such a contingency arise.
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