Japan and China agree on regime to prevent air-sea mishaps

May 14 , 2018

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Abe watch over the MACM signing in Tokyo on May 9Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (standing before the PRC flag) and Japanese Prime Minister Abe (standing on the right) watch over the MACM signing in Tokyo on May 9

China and Japan reached an agreement to launch a regime to avert unintended incidents between the Japan Self-Defense Force and Chinese People’s Liberation Army at sea and in the air. The Maritime and Air Communication Mechanism (MACM) will go into effect on June 8 and is expected to greatly ease bilateral tensions over the contested sovereignty of the Senkaku islands.

Komeito has persistently called for such a mechanism to prevent an accidental conflict between the armed forces of the two countries. Beijing and Tokyo have been negotiating to implement such a regime since 2007 under the first administration led by current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The mechanism adopts a number of key initiatives, including routine meetings between Japanese and Chinese defense officials, establishing a hotline to avoid or defuse inadvertent military clashes and instituting the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) for direct communication between naval vessels or aircraft that Japan, China and the U.S. have already ratified.

When Komeito’s chief representative, Natsuo Yamaguchi, visited China in December 2010, he urged the two governments to establish such a regime. In January 2013, he appealed personally to Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping—now the president of the People’s Republic—during his visit to Beijing in January 2013.