Maritime Self-Defense Force, Japan Coast Guard to Jointly Assist Marshall Islands’ coast guard authorities; Aims for ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The main gate of the Defense Ministry is seen in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan Coast Guard plan to visit the Marshall Islands this month to jointly offer technical assistance to the Pacific island nation’s coast guard authorities, according to Japanese government sources.

The aim is to help the Marshall Islands improve its coast guard capabilities through joint drills and other activities.

This is the first time that the MSDF and the JCG will jointly land on a Pacific island nation to offer such assistance.

The Japanese government is wary of China’s moves to increase its influence over some island nations by signing security pacts and other means. With the upcoming assistance, the government aims to realize a “free and open Indo-Pacific” based on the rule of law.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

According to the Japanese government sources, the MSDF and the JCG will conduct a joint rescue drill for coast guard personnel of the Marshall Islands in its capital, Majuro, this month.

The MSDF will also conduct training with vessels from the Marshall Islands.

JCG personnel will stay in the Pacific island nation until late this month to conduct training such as ship inspection.

The MSDF and the JCG hope that their cooperation will broaden the scope of assistance for improving the coast guard capabilities of other countries, thus increasing the effectiveness of such drills.

The JCG began efforts to strengthen ties with island nations last fiscal year, dispatching for the first time personnel specializing in assistance for improving capabilities to three countries, including Kiribati.

Last month, the MSDF also announced that it will send the Special Boarding Unit (SBU), which responds to spy vessels and suspicious ships, to countries in the Indo-Pacific region to help strengthen their law enforcement capabilities.

During the planned deployment to the Marshall Islands, the MSDF will not send the SBU.