The China Crisis and the Japanese Coast Guard: Japanese Youth Seek to Join


2012-10-05 In a recent article in The Asahi Shimbun, the growing interest in joining the Japanese Coast Guard is the focus of attention.

Graphic Credit The Asahi Shimbun

Being an officer in the Japan Coast Guard is now seen as a really cool job, as shown by a surge of interest in joining the service.

Thousands of youngsters took an exam Sept. 30 for admission to the Japan Coast Guard School.

They apparently were drawn by recent incidents at sea in the row with China over the Senkaku Islands, as well as a popular film series extolling the exploits of the coast guard.

Officials said 7,708 youngsters took the autumn exam, 2.5 times the number of last year.

Some 700 examinees crowded Komazawa University in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward for admissions.

The Tokyo exam had been held in conference rooms at the land ministry, but the venue was changed due to the increase in examinee numbers.

Tsubasa Iizuka, a 19-year-old vocational school student from Katsushika Ward, said he is a fan of the “Umizaru” movies, featuring the lives of coast guard officers.

“I want to be a rescue diver,” Iizuka said.

A high school senior from Edogawa Ward said he became interested in the coast guard after a high-profile 2010 collision between a Chinese fishing boat and coast guard vessels near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The islands are administered by Japan but claimed by China.

“I want to protect our territory,” he said.