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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 10 - 16  > SDF more closely integrated with US forces through monitoring operations of N. Korean ships
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2018 January 10 - 16 [POLITICS]

SDF more closely integrated with US forces through monitoring operations of N. Korean ships

January 14, 2018
Akahata on January 13 learned that in response to a U.S. request, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force has been conducting the monitoring of North Korean ships in the sea area around the Korean Peninsula.

The U.S. government in November 2017 claimed that North Korea had engaged in ship-to-ship transfers of oil and other cargoes in international waters in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, publicizing photos of such acts as evidence to support the claim.

The MSDF’s monitoring operation takes place in sea areas stretching from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea west of the Korean Peninsula under the guise of an implementation of the UNSC resolutions. The operation supposedly aims at preventing North Korea from evading UN sanctions through the joint efforts of Japan and the United States. Based on the U.S. request, MSDF recorded movements of suspicious vessels and provided the data to the U.S. Navy.

In response to an Akahata inquiry, a government official said, “Overtly watching North Korea’s activities will lead to the prevention of smuggling of oil-related products into North Korea.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. government on January 12 issued a statement which stipulates a policy to tighten maritime interdiction of cargo vessels suspected of carrying items banned by UN sanctions against the North.

The statement, which was signed by 16 countries, including Japan, will increase the SDF participation in activities associated with the U.S. interdiction against North Korea. Such operations, however, entail potential risks of an accidental military conflict resulting from a targeted vessel’s possible attempt to escape from or resist the interdiction.

Nagoya Gakuin University Professor of constitutional law and peace studies Iijima Shigeaki warned that the SDF’s collaboration with the U.S. forces in the maritime interdiction operation is undermining Clause 2 of Article 9 that renounces the rights of belligerence.

Past related article:
> JCP Koike: Proposed interdiction of N. Korean ships is de facto use of force [September 10, 2017]
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