The Japan Coast Guard can directly fire weapons against foreign official vessels, including Chinese ones that aim to land on the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
Earlier, Japan’s coast guard could fire weapons only in cases of self-defense and as an emergency escape. On Thursday, government officials said foreign vessels’ attempt to land on Senkaku Islands would now be considered as a “violent crime,” Kyodo News reported.
This comes days after China enacted a new law that allows its coast guard to use weapons against foreign ships that Beijing sees as illegally entering its waters.
Although Senkaku Islands are presently controlled by Japan, they are claimed by China. Waters surrounding the islands are strategically significant in terms of sea lane control given their location and the amount of maritime traffic in the area. They also present notable economic value in fishing resources and untapped hydrocarbon energy reserves.