Japan: Communists Protest Call for Using SDF to Inspect North Korean Cargo Ships

6-26-09, 9:26 am

Original source: Akahata (Japan)

Following UN Security Council Resolution 1874 condemning North Korea's nuclear test, a project team of the ruling parties is calling for a special measures law to allow the Maritime Self-Defense Force to inspect cargo on North Korean ships on the high seas.

Former director general of the Defense Agency (now Defense Ministry) Nakatani Gen stated this at the project team's first meeting on June 18, calling for approval of the SDF's logistic support for US forces during maritime inspections of North Korean cargo ships.

Commenting on this move, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo stated, 'The need now is for the Japan Coast Guard to securely inspect cargo in ports. Using the Maritime SDF to inspect North Korean cargo on the high seas will amount to responding to North Korean military provocations. 'The JCP opposes any SDF participation in the international joint efforts on the high seas because it will only help increase military tensions in the region, in particular between North Korea and Japan,' he added.

Concerning UNSC Resolution 1874, the JCP chair stated, 'It is very important that the United Nations adopted a unanimous resolution urging North Korea to abandon all of its nuclear weapons programs, once and for all. This was indeed a reasoned response.'

'North Korea is called upon to accept this resolution, stop military provocations, abandon its nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons development programs, and rejoin the Six-Party Talks without conditions,' Shii said.

As regards Japan's response, Shii stated, 'It is legally possible under the current laws for the Coast Guard to carry out cargo inspections at ports and on the high seas. Inspections by the Coast Guard are the most effective and non-belligerent way.'

After a Coastal Guard officer explained that the JCG has sufficient inspection capability at the ruling coalition's PT meeting, some from the ruling coalition advocated that now that foreign countries use warships in cargo inspection activities, Japan is also recommended to use Maritime SDF vessels.

The PT will reach consensus on the essential points of the new bill.

The issue of cargo inspections has been referred to in the JCG Law and the Special Measures Law to deal with 'situations in Areas Surrounding Japan.' However, the government does not regard the nuclear text explosion by North Korea as 'situations in areas surrounding Japan' matter that gravely affects Japan's security.

This is why the government regards it as necessary to enact a new bill that will allow the SDF to take part in cargo inspections of North Korean ships.