Coast Guard Global Summit ~Reception~

Tokyo, Japan

I would like to convey my warmest welcome to all of you to Tokyo. It gives me great joy to hold this Global Summit with the Japan Coast Guard.

In 2004, The Nippon Foundation worked with the Japan Coast Guard to co-host the first conference for the heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies here in Tokyo. Taking the success of that first conference, for the following 10 years, we held regional conferences in various countries in Asia.

During that time, pirate attacks at sea were rampant. Oil spills from shipping accidents were causing serious environmental damage. The conferences were a way to bring Asian coast guards together to openly discuss shared issues and concerns, and to explore cross-border collaboration for faster, more effective response. After addressing many regional issues that were very relevant at a global level, I felt the need to tackle global issues with global participants.

Now more than ever, the world’s coastguards will have an increasing role to play. Not only are your existing roles as first responders and protectors of life at sea increasing in importance, but your joint efforts powered by enhanced dialogue and cooperation will be vital in overcoming diverse challenges facing the world.

I wish you all fruitful discussions and a rewarding conference.