Japan has sent members of its coast guard to participate in rescue drills in Micronesia and the Marshall Islands as part of an effort to enhance relations with Pacific island countries.
The Japan Coast Guard says four personnel took part in the exercises with local authorities from January 13 to 28. The drills focused on helping people in water climb onto a boat using a net.
The coast guard has been helping foreign countries, mainly in Southeast Asia, expand their operational capacity for decades. It launched the Mobile Cooperation Team in 2017 to expand these efforts. Since 2018, it has covered Pacific island nations, such as Palau and Kiribati.
The coast guard says one of the goals of the recent drills was to be ready to save fishing boats during emergencies. Japanese tuna fishing vessels operate in the South Pacific.
The four personnel are also believed to have given a lecture to local authorities about the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, including on how to implement the law within territorial waters.
Sources say the coast guard hopes to strengthen ties with Pacific island nations in the face of China's increasing maritime activities.