In the waters around Japan, the Japan Coast Guard faces a wide range of serious situations that get diversified year after year. With a firm determination that we will never miss the signs of ever-changing incidents and continue to protect the safety and security of the people, the JCG works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to protect the territorial seas of Japan.
Overview of the Senkaku Islands
The Senkaku Islands is a general term for islands located at the western end of the Nansei Islands, including Uotsurijima, Kitakojima, Minami-kojima, Kubajima, Taishotou, Oki-no-kitaiwa, Okino-minamiiwa, Tobise, etc.
In order to maintain and manage the Senkaku Islands in a peaceful and stable manner over a long period of time, the Japan
Coast Guard acquired and owns the three islands of Uotsurijima, Kita-kojima, and Minami-kojima on September 11, 2012.
The area of territorial sea around the Senkaku Islands is about 4,740 km2, which is almost the same as the total area of Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures (about 4,605 km2). The territorial sea around the Senkaku Islands and its contiguous zones are very similar to Shikoku in size and shape. The JCG conducts security of the territorial sea by patrol vessels and/or aircraft in this vast sea area, day and night.
Current situation of the waters around the Senkaku Islands
(1) Addressing China Coast Guard vessels
In the contiguous zones around the Senkaku Islands, activities by China Coast Guard vessels are confirmed almost every day, and the number of confirmation days in 2019 was 282 days, the highest number ever. From April to June in 2019, the number of consecutive confirmation days was 64 days, the highest number ever, and intrusion into the territorial sea is repeated. In addition, it has been confirmed that China Coast Guard vessels have become larger, armed, and strengthened, and the number of vessels of 1,000 tons or more is about twice that of the JCG.
The JCG will continue to respond calmly and resolutely in accordance with international and domestic laws without escalating the situation.
(2) Addressing foreign fishing boats
Activities by foreign fishing boats continue in the waters around the Senkaku Islands. For the vessels that were warned to move out of the territorial sea in 2019, the number of Chinese fishing boats was 147, an increase from last year, while the number of Taiwanese fishing boats was 104, a decrease from last year.
In February 2019, the JCG deployed a patrol vessel with enhanced regulatory capacity at the Miyakojima Coast Guard Office. We have responded to invasions promptly and accurately using such force.
Current situation of foreign oceanographic research vessels
When a foreign vessel conducts research activities in Japan's exclusive economic zone, the vessel must obtain the consent of Japan based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In recent years, however, we have confirmed that many research activities that are not consented by Japan or differ from the consented ones (unusual behavior) are conducted by foreign oceanographic research vessels in the waters around Japan.
The JCG conducts warning and surveillance by patrol vessels and/or aircraft, and when any unusual behavior is found, it acts appropriately in cooperation with related ministries and agencies, such as confirming the status and purpose of the behavior and requesting the vessel in question to stop its activities.