Statement by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open Debate of the Security Council
On Maintenance of Peace and Security: Piracy
19 November 2012
At the outset, I would like to echo other delegates in expressing appreciation to Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, Permanent Representative of India, for his leadership in convening this open debate and for giving me the opportunity to address the Security Council. I also would like to express appreciation to Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson for his briefing.
Piracy, which has been a longstanding issue to sovereign states over the centuries, has become a major threat along with other outstanding issues, such as transnational organized crime and terrorism. In particular, maritime security is threatened by piracy and has become of vital concern for the world economy, since economic and commercial activities rest on the safe passage of commercial vessels. Ransoms derived from kidnapping seafarers and vessels serve as resources to aggravate even more transnational crime scenes. Thus, it is imperative that the Security Council address this important issue today in a regional as well as a global context.
While a number of pirate activities occur in various parts of the world, piracy off the coast of Somalia remains the most imminent threat to the international community. Somalia’s piracy attacks total more than 200 cases per year, constituting more than 50 percent of all pirate activities in the last three years. Since 2008 we have been addressing this issue. Our experiences illustrate that a holistic and multi-faceted approach is effective and necessary to tackle this complex issue. Japan believes that the measures as follows, in particular, are mutually enforcing and should be further strengthened.
First, Japan emphasizes the need for concerted efforts by the international community to counter and prevent pirates attack in the sea. Japan is proud to have taken part in the concerted naval operations together with partners from the beginning in April 2009, by various measures, including the deployment of two destroyers and two patrol aircraft in the Gulf of Aden. This year the number of pirate attacks is decreasing in the region, but it should be noted that attacks by pirates are spreading out to the entire Indian Ocean region. We need to expeditiously address these new phenomena.
Second, the enhancement of coastal countries’ maritime security is crucial to complementing the above-mentioned operations. Since most countries do not have sufficient capacity, support by the international community is vital. In this regard, Japan would like to share anti-piracy effort experiences in Asia that have taken place in the framework of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combat Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, called ReCAAP. Japan fostered the ReCAAP mechanism as the first legal framework to tackle the problem of piracy in the East-Asia region, combined with information-sharing and operational cooperation functions. This framework contributed to a dramatic decrease in piracy incidents from 242 in 2000 to 45 in 2009.
Japan finds this regional approach useful to implementing anti-piracy activities off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden as well. In this respect, Japan proactively supports the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct in helping establish a similar mechanism, composed of three information sharing centres in Kenya, Yemen and Tanzania and a training centre in Djibouti, by its contributions amounting to approximately US $15 million through the IMO.
Third, we cannot forget the legal aspect of counter-piracy measures, including the apprehension, prosecution and imprisonment of pirates. We have explored several options and now have a common understanding that strengthening of the Somali judicial system as a whole with international assistance is the best option. It is all the more encouraging fact that the new Somali government has been formed and is ready to deal with these outstanding challenges. The international community should continue its assistance to enhancing the legally enforcing capacity of Somalia and its neighboring countries. Japan commends the role played by the U.N., and contributed a total of US$3.5 million to the Trust Fund to Support Initiatives of States Concerning Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
Finally, Japan commends the pivotal role played by the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and its Working Groups and has proactively participated in the forum since its inception and chaired its 4th plenary meeting in September 2009. While acknowledging the importance of this forum as an information-sharing and policy coordination mechanism, much improvement is necessary in order to enhance the effectiveness of the working methods of the Group. In this regard, Japan welcomes the adoption of proposals by the United States, which includes a one-year-term chairmanship. Japan does expect more active involvement by the U.N. Secretariat in this regard, namely the Department of Political Affairs, given the fact that the nexus between sea (piracy) and land (peacebuilding) and the enhanced need for regional cooperation in this field are the remaining challenges ahead of us.
I thank you, Mr. President.