Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Japan Coast Guard (or JCG or 海上保安庁) in Japanese, was formerly called the Maritime Safety Agency when it was founded in 1948. The JCG is the Japanese federal agency that employs about 12,000 personnel for the protection of Japanese waters and coastlines.

The Japan Coast Guard remains under the oversight of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Its ships and personnel patrol Japan’s territorial seas and between 12 – 200 nautical miles out from the shore to provide countermeasures against piracy, maritime conflict, illegal operations as well as provide search and rescue, oceanographic surveying and maritime traffic management.

The Japan Coast Guard also works with local fishermen’s unions and reviews and approves solo and relay crossings of the Tsugaru Channel by swimmers attempting swims under the auspices of the Tsugaru Channel Swimming Association and Ocean-navi.

We started working with the Japan Coast Guard back in 1988 on channel swims and marathon swims in Japan. Since that time, Commander Matsuzaki and subsequent Coast Guard teams all over Japan from Yonaguni Island in Okinawa to the Tsugaru Channel on the shores of Hokkaido were extremely helpful in planning swims around Japan,” explains Steven Munatones who works with Masayuki Moriya of Ocean-navi and Yuko Matsuzaki of the Tsugaru Channel Swimming Association. “The Japan Coast Guard personnel’s knowledge of the local waters, conditions, currents and marine life are extraordinary. With a typical Japanese focus on details, careful planning and deep concern for the welfare of swimmers, they have been a tremendous joy to work with over the years.”

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