Japan Should Be Stopping Their Own Pirates
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso has announced that he will be submitting legislation in March that will authorize Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force to take ships to the coast of Somalia to oppose Somali pirates. The new legislation will lift restrictions on the use of weapons, presently limited under the Japanese Constitution to self-defence according to Gen Nakatani, the Chief of the government's anti-piracy committee.
Japan intends to send at least one of its destroyers to the Coast of Somalia by March 2009. Pirate attacks off the Somali coast last year jumped almost 200 percent from 2007 to 111 cases, the International Maritime Bureau said last week.
Three Japanese ships were attacked last year, prompting a shipping group to request government action. More than twenty nations and international groups have dispatched navies to patrol the area, according to Japan's foreign ministry. The large industrialized nations are up in arms over Somali piracy since the pirates began attacking oil tankers.
Most of the so called pirates from Somalia are in fact impoverished fishermen forced by necessity into acts of piracy by the most powerful of motives - starvation! And the reason they are starving is because for years, European, Chinese and Japanese pirates have been illegally plundering the waters off the coast of Somalia. Hundreds of millions of dollars of fish have been looted from Somali water and the world did and does nothing to prevent it.
The Somali pirates began by attacking foreign fishing boats and driving them out of their waters. You can bet that these pirate fishermen will be returning with the shield of their nation's navies to protect them.
Japan has a force of 200,000 fishermen operating throughout the world's oceans in a constant hunt to extract the world's fish from every corner of the globe. The coasts of most African nations have been plundered by foreign fishing operations.
We see the white painted Japanese and Taiwanese fishing vessels in every port we go to. We see them setting their 50 mile long lines in the world's oceans, taking everything they can hook. We have seen them inside the borders of the Galapagos National Park Marine Reserve and throughout the West Indies where Japanese fishermen are the modern day real pirates of the Caribbean.
What we have here is the sanctimonious rape of the waters of third world nations by industrialized fishing nations. What these vessels are doing is absolutely no different than what the Somali pirates are doing when they seize an oil tanker, except that Somalis robbed of their fish are starving.
The difference is that the guys with the big guns get what they want, whenever they want, from whoever they want. And as usual the impoverished nations get nothing because they don't have the guns to defend their thievery as Japan does. It is the same Japanese government that sends its pirate whaling fleet to the Southern Ocean to slaughter endangered whales in an established international whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling.
Japan is a nation that subsidizes and encourages piracy on the high seas. Their plunder is fish and whales and their victims are the poor nations of the world and all of humanity because of their destruction of marine bio-diversity.
Japan is the largest fish eating nation on Earth with the average per capita consumption of its population of one hundred million of 67 kilograms of fish each.
To meet this insatiable demand, Japan sends out its most destructive fleet of killing machines to poke and probe, bait and hook, harpoon and net every fish it can find regardless of what laws it must break and of how many people it will impoverish.
The audacity of Japan, the world's largest pirate nation, to point their fingers at Somalia for simply trying to survive.