On June 3, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) submitted to the Secretary General of the House of Representatives a draft bill on strengthening territorial security and the coast guard.
With the goal of maintaining public order in relation to territory and ensuring the safety of the Japanese people, the bill contained the following primary contents:
(1) Establishment of basic principles for territorial security;
(2) Formulation of basic policy on territorial security and a plan for strengthening the coast guard;
(3) Determination of basic terms for other measures concerning territorial security and related issues;
(4) Establishment of a conference for strengthening territorial security and the coast guard, to ensure that police agencies and the Self-Defense Forces can act swiftly in accordance with appropriate division of roles in matters of territorial security.
After delivering the draft bill, its presenters Go Shinohara, Director of the Research Commission on Foreign Affairs, Security and Sovereignty; Kazuhiko Shigetoku, Director of the Security Division; and Yasko Komiyama, Director of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Division, were interviewed by the press.
To begin, Mr. Shinohara explained the background to the presentation of the bill: "China has been increasing its activities in the area around the Senkaku Islands, and many armed fishing boats have been going to the Spratly Islands to demonstrate their strength. In response to this situation, the Japan Coast Guard is doing its best, but where this is not enough, we have drafted this bill so that the Self-Defense Forces can provide support, and to legally guarantee the ability to supplement (territorial security).”
Mr. Shigetoku then explained the main points of the bill. He stressed that "above all, as stated in the objectives and basic principles, police agencies play a central role in territorial security, and will protect territorial waters and other areas through the appropriate exercise of police powers.” The basic spirit of the bill, he continued, is to "enable the police agencies and the Self-Defense Forces to act swiftly under an appropriate division of roles according to the situation.”
He explained that the specific measures include the following two points:
(1) Systematic reinforcement of the Japan Coast Guard's personnel and equipment in accordance with the Basic Policy on Territorial Security, formulated by the Government every five years; and
(2) When the Minister of Defense receives a request from the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to supplement the Japan Coast Guard's security operations, the Self-Defense Forces should be able to take "maritime security preparatory actions" to supplement the Coast Guard's security operations.
Ms. Komiyama emphasized, "In the case of Japan, the Japan Coast Guard has the primary responsibility for guarding our territory. It is important to strengthen the Japan Coast Guard in order to protect our land and territory surrounded by the sea.” Participating in the presentation of the draft bill were House of Representatives members Go Shinohara, Masaharu Nakagawa, Yasko Komiyama, Yukihiko Akutsu, Kazuhiko Shigetoku, Shu Watanabe, Shinji Oguma, Hajime Hirota, Takashi Kii and Akiko Kamei, and House of Councilors member Hiroyuki Konishi.