The Yomiuri Shimbun The Japan Coast Guard intends to include graduates of four-year universities in its efforts to recruit people who will serve in senior positions, in a bid to increase its ranking officials, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
Currently, the route to serve as a JCG senior official is almost limited to attending the Japan Coast Guard Academy in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, after graduating from high school.
The JCG has been working to strengthen its system to handle the Senkaku Islands issue in Okinawa Prefecture, among other mounting concerns in recent years. However, there have been concerns over a lack of senior staff members.
The JCG plans to introduce a new recruitment examination in the 2020 academic year, according to sources.
Apart from staff in technical fields, those who seek employment with the JCG must pass Japan Coast Guard School examinations in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, where students mainly focus on becoming patrol boat crew members, or the Japan Coast Guard Academy examinations, where students are educated to serve in senior positions as JCG headquarters section and department chiefs, as well as large patrol vessel captains.
To sit entrance examinations for both academies, applicants must be high school graduates. However, those who want to take the Japan Coast Guard Academy’s examination must do so within two years of graduating from high school to avoid ineligibility.
As a result, almost all of the current JCG ranking officials who graduated from four-year universities are mostly career bureaucrats, who transferred from ministries and agencies.
In recent years, the JCG has been working to drastically reinforce its structure in response to such incidents as Chinese government ships intruding into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands and North Korean fishing boats illegally operating in the rich fishing grounds of Yamatotai, a section of the Sea of Japan.
As of April this year, the number of patrol ships totaled 142, increasing from 117 in April 2012. Japan Coast Guard School enrollment expanded to about 600 in the last academic year, up from about 400 in the 2012 academic year.
However, the Japan Coast Guard Academy’s enrollment figure only increased by 10 from about 50 in the same periods, mainly to maintain the quality of senior JCG officials.
The JCG plans to employ about 50 officials after the new recruitment examination starting in the 2020 academic year, the sources said.
Those who pass the examination will enroll at the Japan Coast Guard Academy to acquire expert knowledge, but the JCG is currently mulling over a reduction of the schooling period to two years from four years and nine months, which has been the standard period.Speech