Statement by Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the Hijacking of a Chinese Fishing Boat off the Coast of Kenya

February 8, 2009

  1. Around 21:30 on February 8 (Japan time), a staff member of the Embassy of Japan in China successfully contacted Mr. Toyokazu Kugai, and confirmed his safety. Mr. Kugai, a Japanese national, is the Captain of the Chinese fishing boat “Tian Yu 8”, which had been hijacked in last November off the coast of Kenya and was reported to have been released on February 8.
  2. It is gratifying that the fishing boat and its crew were released safely.  Sincerely I congratulate the people concerned including the victims and their families on the release, and express my respect for the efforts made by the Government of China and other parties concerned for the safe release of the fishing boat and its crew.
  3. At this opportunity, the Government of Japan condemns anew piracy and armed robbery against vessels at sea.  The Government of Japan will seek to implement promptly possible measures to secure the safe navigation of vessels and to protect lives and property of Japanese nationals abroad.