Indonesia, Malaysia urged to join Asia-oriented anti-piracy pact

JIJI

A Japanese official has urged Indonesia and Malaysia to join an international pact on anti-piracy measures for Asia that was created at the initiative of Japan.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, dubbed “ReCAAP,” will become even more important if joined by the two countries facing the Strait of Malacca, said Foreign Ministry special assistant Masafumi Kuroki, who is set to become executive director of the ReCAAP Information Sharing Center in April.

The agreement entered into force in 2006. The center, based in Singapore, promotes regional cooperation on piracy-fighting measures mainly through information exchanges.

The pact has 20 signatories with strong interest in Asian marine traffic, including Japan, China, India, Britain and the United States as well as Southeast Asian countries.

But Indonesia and Malaysia remain outside the agreement, apparently because of discontent with some elements of the pact and the location of the center, informed sources and media reports have said.

For reducing piracy, the most important thing is “to enhance the capabilities of member countries’ law enforcement authorities equivalent to the Japan Coast Guard,” Kuroki said in a recent interview.

He emphasized that he hopes to address this issue.