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Japan's national security at stake in ocean policy

By
Elizabeth Shim
A Japanese coast guard video showing Chinese boats approaching the disputed Senkaku Islands in October 2016. Screenshot courtesy of Japan Coast Guard
A Japanese coast guard video showing Chinese boats approaching the disputed Senkaku Islands in October 2016. Screenshot courtesy of Japan Coast Guard

Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A panel of Japanese experts is advising Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to focus on national security in Tokyo's maritime or ocean policy, following the launch of North Korean missiles and Chinese incursions into Japan's territorial waters in 2017.

The panel that authored Japan's five-year "Basic Plan on Ocean Policy" is recommending Japan allocate more funds toward security than resource development, Jiji Press reported Monday.

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According to Yomiuri Shimbun, the plan calls for the pursuit of a free and open region according to the "rule of law," which would require the maintenance and management of border islands, and strengthening Japanese security around those areas.

Abe said the plans will form the basis of Japanese ocean policy.

Japan has been on alert since North Korea fired a missile that flew over the Japanese island of Hokkaido in August.

Pyongyang is seeking U.S. recognition as a nuclear weapons state.

Chinese coast guard vessels have been trespassing into Japanese territorial waters, near the Senkakus, islands claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan.

Beijing and Tokyo recently agreed to avoid accidents at sea, with the establishment of a hotline.

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The signing of the agreement in early December was seen as a sign of improved relations between Japan and China.

Japan has previously deployed naval vessels and aircraft to warn incoming boats.

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