The U.S. Coast Guard has successfully completed its International Port Security Program in Japan, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism announced.
According to the Japanese ministry, the Coast Guard implemented the program, which was established in April, 2004, based on the U.S. Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, between Dec.15 last year and Feb. 25.
After discussing port security measures with Japanese authorities, a team of Coast Guard officials, led by Capt. David Negron-Alicea, inspected five representative ports in the country -- Hachinohe, Niigata, Osaka, Tokyo and Hiroshima.
It was the second time since December, 2004, that the International Port Security Program had been carried out in Japan.
The program is designed to help the U.S. and its maritime trading partners better protect the global shipping industry by facilitating the implementation of security improvements in ports around the world.
Under the program, the Coast Guard works jointly with the foreign nations to evaluate their overall compliance with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, an international agreement that was signed in December, 2002, and entered into force in July, 2004.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the Coast Guard team thoroughly evaluated Japan’s full compliance with the international code.
As to Japan’s best practices, the Coast Guard team specifically cited sufficient information sharing among the relevant authorities and an agreement to launch a pilot project of the U.S.-led Megaports Initiative at the Port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, on March 2, the ministry said.
The Bush administration launched Megaports in 2003 as part of its efforts to prevent inflows of nuclear materials by tightening cargo inspections at the ports of exporter countries and thereby block nuclear terrorist attacks in the United States.