Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged Japan's support for Pacific island nations in efforts to protect the maritime order.
Abe delivered the keynote speech at a meeting on Saturday of Pacific island leaders in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. Leaders from 16 countries and 2 French territories in the South Pacific are participating.
Abe noted the marine environment continues to be degraded by illegal overfishing and unregulated seabed resource development.
Abe said Japan will not spare assistance to help improve the islands' ability to "protect the sea," including law enforcement capabilities.
The prime minister added Japan will help the islands develop infrastructure against disasters. He revealed a plan to help train and conduct exchanges with more than 5,000 young people from the region by the time of the next summit in 2021.