complements the global efforts to ensure a safe passage for ships, and their
maritime personnel, in response to the rampant acts of piracy and hijacking
occurring off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in particular, said that the
recent passage of Japan's new, decisive anti-piracy law dovetails with the
wider efforts of the United Nations (UN), including the Philippines and
other affected countries, to ensure the safe passage of ships in the world's
maritime trading areas.
Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque had been apprised by the
Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the salient legislative
development in Japan which, while aimed at protecting Japan-flagged vessels,
would reinforce the safety and well-being of the more than 40,000 overseas
Filipino seafarers currently manning the majority of Japan's global merchant
Prior to the development, Roque visited Tokyo earlier this year,
accompanied by the social partners from the Associated Marine Officers' and
Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), and the Philippine-Japan
Consultative Council, to represent the country at the Philippine-Japan
Seafarer Policy Forum, and successfully push the preservation of the jobs of
the numerous overseas Filipino seafarers employed in Japanese vessels.
The Labor and Employment Secretary had been apprised by Foreign Affairs
Undersecretary Rafael E. Seguis that, "His Excellency, Prime Minister Taro
Aso of Japan, had recently announced the enactment of the 'Law on the
Penalization of Acts of Piracy and Measures against Acts of Piracy.'"
As PM Taro Aso underscored earlier, the new law would benefit both Japanese
and non-Japanese vessels, allowing Japan to "discharge its responsibility as
a member of the international community," by actively contributing to the
global efforts against the menace of piracy.
Japan, in enacting the law, reaffirmed the UN Convention on the Law of the
Sea, which provides that all states shall cooperate to the fullest possible
extent in the repression of piracy on the high seas or in any other place
outside the jurisdiction of any State.
Forged in 1982 through the signatures of more than 150 countries including
the Philippines, the Law of the Sea defined piracy as illegal acts committed
on the high seas for private ends, adding that all countries have a right to
seize and prosecute those committing such acts.
Japan had contributed proactively to the anti-piracy efforts in tandem with
the protecting naval vessels of the United States (US), European countries,
China, and other states patrolling the waters off Somalia.
Its measures included the dispatch of two destroyers from the Japan Coast
Guard and the Maritime Self Defense Forces for the conduct of maritime
police operations in the Gulf of Aden. Specifically, the vessels had
already escorted some 87 Japan-flagged vessels in 28 operations since early
Importantly, the government has noted the point raised by Japanese Foreign
Minister Hirofumi Nakasone who said that the new law would allow Japan to
collaborate more closely with the international community in carrying out a
multi-pronged approach aimed at addressing the costs of piracy in the Indian
As Nakasone indicated, Japan's active aid to Somalia has so far totaled
approximately USD 67 million in the form of humanitarian assistance and aid
to improve order and security, adding that ultimately, the resolution of
piracy in the area involves a) the advancement of maritime law enforcement
capabilities of the region's coastal states; b) more regional cooperation;
and c) the stabilization of Somalia's situation in response to increased