1st Coast Guard Global Summit to be Held on September 14Heads of 40 countries, territories, and institutions expected to attend

The Nippon Foundation and the Japan Coast Guard held a press conference on July 18 to announce the Coast Guard Global Summit, a forum of senior maritime safety officials to be held in Tokyo on September 14, with a total of 40 countries, territories, and institutions expected to participate. The summit is also expected to issue a joint statement calling for cooperation that transcends existing bilateral and regional frameworks.

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The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa (left) and Admiral Satoshi Nakajima, commandant of the Japan Coast Guard (right), at the press conference

At the press conference, Admiral Satoshi Nakajima, commandant of the Japan Coast Guard, referred to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s message delivered to the launch ceremony of the Umi-to-Nippon Project (The Ocean and Japan Project), held on the Marine Day public holiday (July 17). In his message, Prime Minister Abe stressed the importance of global-level cooperation among institutions on the front line of maritime safety issues, along with diplomacy, toward achieving free and safe seas.

Admiral Nakajima also discussed the summit’s expected attendees. In addition to the 22 countries and territories that participate in the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum and the Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting, 15 countries from Europe, Africa, and Central and South America have been invited, bringing the total number of countries and territories to 37, along with three international agencies. Currently, 19 countries and territories including the United States and New Zealand, and two international agencies have expressed their intention to attend, and the China Coast Guard has indicated that it is considering participating. Ultimately, all 40 invitees are expected to attend.

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Members of the print and television media at the press conference

Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, added that the crisis of the ocean is quietly becoming worse, and cannot be solved by any one country. He also expressed his hope that bringing together the leaders of maritime agencies would be a first step toward the global resolution of these issues.

The summit will feature a keynote address on new roles for coast guards as the legal enforcement agencies for sustainable maritime management, followed by three sessions: Maritime Safety and Marine Environmental Protection, dealing with international ocean pollution; Maritime Security, to discuss international cooperation in addressing maritime crime; and Capacity Building to address maritime issues at the global level. The summit is also expected to adopt a joint statement on the subject of open seas based on the rule of law.

The forum grew out of a conference held in Tokyo in March 2000, with 16 countries and territories participating, to strengthen the response to piracy. Later, the first Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting was held in Tokyo in 2004, and has been held at alternating locations almost every year since then. The upcoming forum will be the first of its kind to be held at the global level.

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