Posted by: mulrickillion | October 9, 2011

Coast Guard Beefs Up Senkaku Patrol Fleet


A Chinese fishing trawler is flanked by two Japanese Coast Guard vessels near Okinawa Prefecture on Sept. 12, 2010 following a clash between the boats days earlier. Associated Press.

By Yoree Koh, Japan Real Time –WSJ, Oct 6, 2011 —

The Japan Coast Guard station located closest to the island chain at the center of a territorial spat with China is beefing up surveillance capabilities amid increased sightings of Chinese boats in the contentious waters.

The Japan Coast Guard said the latest patrol vessel – a 1,300 ton boat called the “Hakata” – was deployed to its new base, the Ishigaki port in Okinawa. The new boat will bring the outpost’s limited fleet to three and is designed to enable patrolmen to respond to incidents more quickly. There are about 450 such patrol ships nationwide.

Located roughly 170 kilometers away from the disputed archipelago in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, the sensitive territory has become more of a priority patrol area since a controversial collision in September of 2010. A crash between a Chinese fishing boat and two Japanese patrol boats strained bilateral ties and spurred a wave of nationalist rallies in both countries.

While diplomatic tensions have since eased, the local Coast Guard station, located in the remote southwestern corner of Japan, said 14 Chinese boats, including fishing and research trawlers, have entered Japanese waters near the disputed island chain over the last year. That’s more than twice the rate of sightings before the September 2010 clash.

Over 500 Ishigaki residents and fishermen staged a rally asking the government to bolster security measures in the waters off Okinawa prefecture in June, according to the Kyodo news agency. The participants urged Tokyo to strengthen the Coast Guard’s patrol capabilities around the disputed waters as concerns spread over the fishermen’s safety while operating in the area.

The newest boat is similar to the existing two ships at Ishigaki, the Yonakuni and Hateruma, and has room on deck for helicopter landings. The boat will be renamed “Ishigaki” when it officially becomes a part of the island’s naval roster on Oct. 8.

Coast Guard Beefs Up Senkaku Patrol Fleet – Japan Real Time – WSJ


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