Japan could fire at foreign official vessels aiming to enter waters near Diaoyu Islands
- Officials had said earlier Japan’s coastguard is only allowed to fire weapons at foreign vessels in cases of self-defence and emergency escape
- The move comes weeks after China implemented a new law that allows its coastguard to fire on foreign vessels in disputed waters
Government officials had said earlier Japan’s coastguard is only allowed to fire weapons directly at foreign vessels in cases of self-defence and emergency escape.
The officials explained the confirmed interpretation at a meeting of the panel, saying it is possible for Japan’s coastguard to fire on foreign official vessels under laws by regarding vessels aiming to land on the islands – known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands – as committing violent crimes.
The interpretation is partly based on applying the use of police power under a police law to the coastguard, an LDP member who attended the meeting said, citing the government officials. The interpretation emerged because using force against vessels of foreign countries is considered to run counter to Japan’s war-renouncing constitution and exclusively defence-oriented policy.
It is the first time government officials have referred to the coastguard’s possible firing on foreign official vessels aiming to land on Japanese territory, according to the LDP member, Taku Otsuka, who leads the LDP’s National defence Division that held the meeting.
Diaoyu-Senkaku islands spat deepens as Japan warns China over coastguard ships in East China Sea
There were rising concerns in Japan that the country is unable to deal with China’s assertiveness around the Japan-controlled, China-claimed Diaoyu Islands.
After the implementation of the law on February 1, Tokyo expressed “strong concern” over the legislation, which also authorises the Chinese coastguard to seize foreign ships entering waters claimed by Beijing.
Suga also said, “I firmly believe that it is ‘a free and open order based on the rule of law’, not ‘force or coercion’, that will bring peace and prosperity to the region and the world.”