MAIZURU, KYOTO PREF. – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended a graduation ceremony of the Japan Coast Guard School, a training school for future coast guard officers Saturday — the first time an incumbent prime minister attended the ceremony.
“Your seniors are engaged in warning and surveillance activities covering a vast extent of sea surrounding Japan 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” Abe told the graduates of the school in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture.
“They are the pride of the Japanese people,” Abe said. “I sincerely respect your decision to take this hard road with a strong sense of mission.”
Abe’s attendance was apparently aimed at highlighting his emphasis on maritime security following repeated intrusions by Chinese ships into Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands and unabated coral poaching in waters surrounding Japan.
“The role of the Japan Coast Guard in protecting the peaceful and rich ocean will continue changing and gain importance further,” Abe also said.
According to the school, this year’s graduates totaled 243, with 22 of them women.