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Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series - Is the Indian Ocean a Sea of Reincarnation? [2019年03月06日(Wed)]

This blog post was originally uploaded in
Japanese to OPRI's blog
on May 9, 2018.


Of the sea lanes, or main arteries which support
today’s global economy, the one that goes through
the Indian Ocean is becoming center stage for global
politics, economics, and security. One of the pillars of
Japanese diplomacy, the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific
Vision,” is a strategy to connect the Indian Ocean
and the Asia-Pacific regions. What kind of image
should Japan and the global society create for the
Indian Ocean moving forward? Before discussing
this, it is necessary to look back over the history of
the relationship between human beings and the
Indian Ocean.

Early in history, merchants from Nanyue, Dravida
and Arabia began freely traveling through the Indian
Ocean and essentially created a cosmopolitan world
there. After the great expeditions to the Southern
Sea, led by Zheng He as a state project of China’s
Ming Dynasty, a sea lane was created. When land
travel between East and the West was blocked due
to the rise of the Ottoman Turks, the Age of
Navigation began with Spain and Portugal as the
leading pioneers.

When the navy of the Ottoman Turks was destroyed
at the Battle of Lepanto, naval ships from the
Christian world began traveling out of the
Mediterranean Sea to accompany merchant fleets.
The sea powers which succeeded in securing the
sea lane and a beachhead toward overseas markets
began to reign supreme over the Indian Ocean.
After that, the Indian Ocean became a crucial
location which continued to serve as a sea lane for
the sea powers −Portugal, Holland and Britain− to
utilize in order to obtain colonies and markets in
South Asia and East Asia. After World War I began,
the Indian Ocean became a central location where
great nations contended with each other for
military superiority. This lasted until the post-World
War II period and the Cold War era following that.

Looked at from a classic geopolitical perspective, the
Indian Ocean was a “cosmopolitan ocean,” possibly
from prehistoric times. Then it became an “ocean
targeted by land-power nations” (such as the Ming
Dynasty) in the beginning of the 15th Century.
Half a century later came the Age of Navigation, and
it changed to an “ocean targeted by sea powers.”
The Indian Ocean continued its paradigm shifts to
become an “ocean of military conflict” during the era
of World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.

Since the Cold War and the globalization of economic
activities, the Indian Ocean has become the center
stage of economic activities by various countries and
non-state actors − from both inside and outside the
Indian Ocean. However, a system or regime to
regulate the utilization of the Indian Ocean has not
necessarily been established. In regard to security,
“power vacuums” exist in the vast Indian Ocean.
Therefore, it is more appropriate to call the Indian
Ocean “chaotic” than “free,” “fluid” than “vibrant.”

Currently, China is actively advancing toward the
Indian Ocean based on its Belt and Road Initiative
(BRI), causing concern that the security environment
may become unstable with this shift of power.
Although the aim of the BRI is to spur global
economic activities, instead of expanding China’s
military influence in the world, if a new country joins
an economic arena in order to obtain economic
benefits where certain countries have already been
receiving benefits, this may create conflict. Japan
has established a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”
strategy, and the United States of America, India
and Australia have expressed interest in cooperating
with this strategy.

From my perspective, the Indian Ocean currently
seems to be a place where a “cosmopolitan ocean,”
an “ocean targeted by land-powers,” and an “ocean
targeted by sea powers” are all mixed into one.
Looking back over the lessons of history, should we
expect an “ocean of military conflict” to come next?

Although protectionist sentiment can be seen in
some countries, there is no sign of a decrease in the
globalization of economic activities or the creation of
a global society without borders. The same thing is
occurring in ocean space. All oceans −the Pacific,
the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean− are closely
linked, and it is time to consider the space they
create one unified body called a global ocean.
If the Arctic sea ice continues to melt and year-round
navigation becomes a reality, a route which goes
around the Eurasian Continent would be open.
Non-stop routes which cover all oceans on earth
would no longer be just a dream.

Evaluations of the relationship of the Indian Ocean
and other oceans of the world by historic individuals
(Famous quotes)

This means that what is happening in the Indian
Ocean affects all other oceans on earth. If the
Indian Ocean becomes an “ocean of military
conflict,” the safety of all oceans on earth could be
jeopardized. Therefore, the Indian Ocean should
not just be considered an expanse of water limited
to that region. Human society should create a
paradigm of wide utilization of the Indian Ocean as
the axis for all of the oceans in the world. I think
that this might serve as an approach to prevent
the Indian Ocean once again becoming an “ocean
of military conflict.”

However, if you ask me whether or not I have
specific countermeasures, I cannot give you an
answer yet. However, an international effort to
establish universal rules to control usage of the
Indian Ocean is necessary. Therefore, Japan’s
“Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision” should not
aim to compete with the BRI. The strategy
should show the value of human rights/
democracy/free trade, the attractiveness of
developing a high-quality infrastructure and
reliable investments, as well as the importance
of compliance with the International Law of the

The Ocean Policy Research Institute of the
Sasakawa Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF)

conducts a wide variety of research, taking the
view of the world’s oceans, including the Indian
Ocean, as a unified body of water. We think it is
important to look back through history. History
does not flow but accumulates. People say that
history repeats itself, but history does not repeat
itself. History is always present and affects what
we do next. I see this with the China-Japan and
Korea-Japan relationships.

What kind of picture should we or can we create
for the future of the Indian Ocean? To come up
with an answer, it is crucial to analyze in detail
the paradigm shifts that have already occurred
in the area.

Kazumine Akimoto
Senior Research Fellow

Posted by OPRI at 15:00 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
"Ocean Newsletter Selected Papers No.23" Now Available [2019年02月21日(Thu)]

The Ocean Policy Research Institute of the
Sasakawa Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF)

publishes a Japanese-language newsletter called
the "Ocean Newsletter" twice a month.
The "Ocean Newsletter" seeks to provide people of
diverse viewpoints and backgrounds with a forum
for discussion and to contribute to the formulation
of maritime policies conducive to coexistence
between mankind and the ocean.

The "Ocean Newsletter Selected Papers" contains
English-language versions of papers from the
Japanese Newsletter edition. It is our sincere hope
that these Selected Papers will provide useful
insights on policy debate in Japan and help to foster
global policy dialogue on various ocean issues.

Please click here to access "Ocean Newsletter
Selected Papers No.23," the latest in the series,
containing works published between No.411
(September 20, 2017) and No.430 (July 5, 2018)
in the Japanese edition.


Selected Papers.PNG
A preview of "Ocean Newsletter
Selected Papers No.23"


Discussion: Innovation to Overcome the Dangers
Facing Our Oceans
Yohei Sasakawa
Chairman, The Nippon Foundation
Atsushi Sunami
President, Ocean Policy Research Institute of the
Sasakawa Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF) /
Executive Director, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation

CCS Demonstration Project Offshore Tomakomai
Yutaka Tanaka
General Manager, Technology and Planning
Department, Japan CCS Co., Ltd.

The Fire of Rice Sheaves and its Connection to World
Tsunami Awareness Day
Koichi Sakiyama
Director, Inamura-no-Hi no Yakata

Ama Divers are Incredible!
Yoshikata Ishihara
Director, Toba Sea-Folk Museum

Hosting of the Coast Guard Global Summit (CGGS)
−Towards the Maintenance of International Maritime
Kentaro Furuya
Associate Professor (joint appointment),
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
(GRIPS) / Japan Coast Guard Academy

What Recovery Means for Us −Thoughts Following
Production of the Film “Fukushima Fishermen”−
Toru Yamada
Film Director

The United Nations University's “Noto Satoumi
Movement” −Connecting Japan's Coastal
Management to Global Ocean Problems−
Evonne Yiu
Research Associate, United Nations University
Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability

The Roadmap to Oceans and Climate Action
Biliana Cicin-Sain
President, Global Ocean Forum (GOF) /
Professor, University of Delaware
Meredith Kurz
Formerly Assistant to the President of GOF

Drug Resistant Bacteria in our Oceans: Where did
they come from and where will they go?
Satoru Suzuki
Professor, Center for Marine Environmental Studies,
Ehime University

Guideline for Consensus Building Regarding Use of
the Oceans: Towards the Creation of “Marine
Spatial Planning”
Yutaka Michida
Professor, Atmosphere and Ocean Research
Institute,The University of Tokyo
Tatsuro Suwa
Project Associate Professor, Graduate School of
Public Policy, The University of Tokyo

Putting “Dreams and Spirit” into Shrimp Crackers
Toshio Mitsuda
President and Representative Director,
Keishindo Corporation

Posted by OPRI at 10:00 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series: International Developments in Ocean Policy – From Charlevoix to Biarritz [2019年01月23日(Wed)]

This blog post was originally uploaded in
Japanese to OPRI's blog
on July 11, 2018.


Right after the Japan Meteorological Agency
announced the end of the rainy season, sudden rain
storms hit the western part of Japan in July 2018.
The extent of the damage is becoming clear.
Ground transport was cut off and the disruption
prevented relief supplies and volunteers from
reaching the people in need of assistance.
I express my sympathy for the people affected by
this disaster and hope for expeditious recovery and
restoration of the affected areas.

Natural disasters like this are not only happening in
Japan, but have become world-wide phenomena
in recent years. At the G7 summit held last month
(June 2018) in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada, G7
leaders adopted the Summit Communiqué and seven
other documents (declarations and annexes).
The “Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas
and Resilient Coastal Communities” was one of the
key documents adopted at the Summit.

The Charlevoix Blueprint states that “The health of
our oceans and seas is ‘critical’ to the economic,
social and environmental well-being of the planet.”
The Blueprint describes that oceans and coastal
communities, particularly in small island developing
states (SIDS), face severe threats such as illegal
fishing, marine pollution, marine plastic litter, ocean
warming, ocean acidification, sea-level rise and
extreme climatic events (author’s note: such as
typhoons, storms, and droughts). The Blueprint
states that Arctic and low-lying communities,
including SIDS, are the most vulnerable.
It underlines the importance of planning and
disaster prevention efforts against sea-level rise
and extreme climatic events and encourages the
“development of coastal management strategies”
and the “reinforcement of ‘resilient’ and quality
infrastructure in coastal communities.”
(The word ‘resilient’ is interpreted as ‘responsive’
or ‘recoverable’ rather than ‘physically solid,’ as
‘infrastructure’ here can also include disaster
prevention through the use of natural capital and
the better environmental management.)

G7 leaders specifically listed in the Blueprint the
development and deployment of eco-friendly and
resilient energy systems, including those from
renewable sources. They have also referred to
wetlands, mangrove forests, seagrass beds and
coral reefs as natural capital, and expressed their
support to strengthen their conservation and
rehabilitation as they are important infrastructures.
In addition to this, they also decided to strengthen
the capacity to implement policies necessary for
early warnings of extreme climatic events and
geophysical disasters (author’s note: landslides,
volcano eruptions and earthquakes).

It was widely reported that Japan, along with the
United States, did not sign the “Ocean Plastic
Charter” that was an annex to the Blueprint.
Little was reported about the actual content of the
Blueprint itself. It is important to recall that the
Blueprint demonstrates important policy directions
for energy systems, natural capital, financing, earth
observation, integrated coastal zone management,
sharing of scientific knowledge and data,
countermeasures for illegal fishing and overfishing,
protection and management of vulnerable ocean
areas and marine resources, and countermeasures
for marine plastic and debris. Japan and other
countries of the world need to assess and strive to
improve the situation.

The 2018 G7 Summit led by Canadian Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau has not yet been completed.
The Canadian government announced that it plans
to hold a meeting for G7 Environment, Energy and
Ocean Ministers from 19 – 21 September 2018 in
Halifax, Canada. The meeting will be co-chaired by
three cabinet members of the Canadian
government: H.E. Ms. Catherine McKenna, Minister
of Environment and Climate Change, H.E. Mr.
Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard, and H.E. Mr. Jim
Carr, Minister of Natural Resources. It has been
reported that the participants will discuss climate
change, marine conservation, production,
transport and energy.

It is worth mentioning that at the press conference
following the Charlevoix Summit, French President
Emmanuel Macron spoke together with Prime
Minister Trudeau and announced that the next G7
Summit would be held in Biarritz, one of the most
renowned resorts in France facing the Northern
Atlantic, and that the leaders would include in the
agenda the issues of climate change and the oceans,
regarding them as important issues that the
international community must tackle.

France manages the second largest sea area after
the United States and is approximately two times
larger than that of Japan, which has the sixth
largest sea area in the world. At the 21st Conference
of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015,
the female French Minister of the Environment,
Energy and the Ocean played a major role.
French Polynesia, which includes Tahiti and New
Caledonia in the Pacific, shares a large portion of
France’s sea areas. In New Caledonia, a referendum
will be held in November 2018 to decide whether it
should remain as a French territory or become
independent. At this stage, it is projected that it
would be decided to remain as a French territory
although it might be a narrow margin.

There are ambivalent views on this matter.
Some argue that there are no longer vested
interests in the Pacific islands after the completion
of nuclear testing. Others argue that there are still
important vested interests in the Pacific islands as
New Caledonia and Tahiti are important tourist
destinations and there are mineral resources on
the seabed. For these reasons, it is presumed that
the French government will continue to maintain
and manage its overseas territories as an
important part of the country’s sovereignty.

photo 5.png
Tamatoa Bambridge, Research Director at the French
Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique,
explains the purpose of the meeting.

photo 1.jpg
Gérald Parker, Chief of Teahupo’o Village, Tahiti,
shares information about marine protected areas,
which are considered to be tapu (sacred). The
photograph was taken inside Teahupo’o’s Village Hall.

I participated in the “International Workshop on
Large Marine Protected Areas in the Pacific” held at
the University of French Polynesia in May 2018.
I made a presentation on marine management in
the Pacific region, participated in discussions, and
also joined a field visit to study marine protected
areas of Tahiti, Mo’orea, and Raiatea, to observe
aquaculture, coastal zone management methods
and other research and human resource
development projects.

During the Workshop, the participants discussed the
conservation of large transboundary sea areas,
sustainable management of fishery resources,
conservation of marine ecosystems,
countermeasures for illegal, unreported and
unregulated (IUU) fishing and marine security.
Various views were expressed concerning the
ecological significance of the sea areas of the
Cook Islands, Kiribati and French Polynesia, and
the feasibility of introducing conservation
measures in their surrounding international waters,
as reference was made to the difference in fish catch
between sea areas and in capacity to monitor and
enforce the implementation of conservation

The sites visited could be characterized as
progressive, integrated, long-term envisaged,
comprehensive, and international. For example, in
Rahui, a small fishing community in Teahupo’o
Village located in the south-eastern part of Tahiti,
the village authority designated the 768 ha of
coastal areas as a marine protected area and
banned fishing in 2014 as reef fish stocks inside
the atoll drastically decreased. The villagers, who
live on agriculture and fishing, monitor illegal
fishing activities, monitoring the process of fish
stock recovery following the establishment of a
small no-fishing zone. The progress of the project
was shared at an international conference held at
the University of Hawaii in April 2018.

In Vaira’o, a community to the west of Rahui,
research on shrimp farming has been conducted at
the Fisheries Technology Center. The purpose of this
research was to increase income for fishermen and
to provide local restaurants with sufficient shrimps
to meet the high demand of food required by the
increasing number of tourists. The center conducted
egg collection, artificial insemination, and larvae
production in a tank and then transferred juvenile to
a pond. The researcher, Thomas Camus, explained
that the challenge was to find a way of applying
residue discharged from the seafood processing
plant to feed the shrimp in order to save the cost of
importing feed from overseas.

photo 2.jpg
Thomas Camus, Researcher at the Vaia Vairao
Aquaculture Centre Technique in Tahiti,
explains about shrimp feed.

photo 6.jpg
A juvenile shrimp farm tank at the Vaia Vairao
Aquaculture Centre Technique in Tahiti

On Raiatea island, I visited Taputapuatea, a site that
was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in
2017. The site is the combination of natural
landscapes, archaeological remains of marae (a ritual
site) from the 16th century, and other cultural
heritage sites dotted from the mountains through
canals to the beach. At Vaihuti Fresh, I visited an
organic farm. The representative at the farm,
Thierry Lison de Loma, who used to be a coral reef
researcher, developed so much frustration seeing
large amounts of red soil sedimentation piling up on
reefs, that he became an organic conservationist
farmer on the hillside. By forming ridges in parallel
with the contour lines and ditches to collect surface
water, he contemplates to arrest top soil run off to
the coast.

On Moorea island, coastal and marine spatial
planning efforts were undertaken and a
“no-fishing” zone was created in the tourist areas
away from the fishing areas.The project was also
undertaken to bury power grids into the ground in
order to improve views and landscapes and to
reduce disaster risks. There is also an oceanographic
research center in Moorea called Gump Station that
operates under the auspices of the University of
California. There is also another research center
called the Centre de Recherches Insulaires et
Observatoire de l’Environnement (Center for Insular
Research and Observatory of the Environment/
CRIOBE) funded by the French Government.
CRIOBE has a guest house for students and
researchers from around the world to stay for the
long term and conduct research while helping and
inspiring each other.

photo 3.jpg
Thierry Lison de Loma, manager of the organic farm
Vaihuti Fresh, gives a brief introduction of his farm.

photo 4.jpg
Research on the acidity tolerance of coral at the
French Centre de Recherches Insulaires et
Observatoire de l’Environnement (Center for Insular
Research and Observatory of the Environment/
CRIOBE) at Moorea.

Staring at climate and ocean, world leaders are
having discussions on how people can live on this
planet. Japan, surrounded by oceans, is expected to
share its long-established expertise and technology
with other countries and take a lead in scaling up
effective policies and measures from long-term and
global perspectives. We will continue our research
works useful to the process where Japanese leaders
and stakeholders will demonstrate leadership at
the Biarritz G7 summit and the Osaka G20 Summit
in 2019.

Masanori Kobayashi
Senior Research Fellow

Posted by OPRI at 15:00 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
Latest news - OPRI-SPF Joins the "East China Sea and Yellow Sea Studies Think-tank Alliance" [2019年01月09日(Wed)]

Beijing 2.PNG
View of the signing ceremony.
(L) Dr. Atsushi Sunami, Executive Director of SPF and
President of OPRI-SPF
(R) Dr. Zhang Haiwen, Director General of the China
Institute for Marine Affairs (CIMA), State Oceanic
Administration (SOA)

The Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa
Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF) joined the "East China
Sea and Yellow Sea Studies Think-tank Alliance" on
December 21, 2018, following a signing ceremony
in Beijing attended by Dr. Atsushi Sunami, Executive
Director of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and
President of OPRI-SPF.

The Alliance was established in November 2017 as
a network of ocean and maritime research institutes
in East Asia under the initiative of the China Institute
for Marine Affairs, SOA, based on the idea for
creation of an “East Asia Maritime Cooperation
Platform” raised by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at
the Ninth East Asia Summit in 2014. It has the
objective of creating a Track-2 level cooperation
platform for ocean and maritime research institutes
in the coastal countries and regions of the East
China Sea and Yellow Sea, promoting communication
among them, and making efforts on various ocean
and maritime related issues in the East China Sea
and Yellow Sea.

For more information, please see the article here.

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Ocean Newsletter No.442 (Jan. 5, 2019) [2019年01月07日(Mon)]

The Ocean Policy Research Institute (OPRI) is
pleased to announce its latest English publication,
as part of its efforts to disseminate information on
ocean issues both in and outside Japan.


OPRI publishes a Japanese-language newsletter
called the "Ocean Newsletter" twice a month, with
the aim of providing people of different viewpoints
and backgrounds with a forum for discussion and to
contribute to the formulation of maritime policies
conducive to coexistence between mankind and
the ocean.

Please find the latest English article in our
newsletter below.


No. 442 (Jan. 5, 2019)
The World Maritime University−Sasakawa
Global Ocean Institute: A New Institute in a
Unique University

Ronan LONG
(Director, WMU–Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute,
World Maritime University)

It is our sincere hope that the article will provide
useful insights on policy debate in Japan and help to
foster global policy dialogue on various ocean issues.

Posted by OPRI at 15:00 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
Latest news - Oceans Action Day at UNFCCC-COP24 [2018年12月26日(Wed)]

Photo 5.jpg

The Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa
Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF) hosted the “Oceans
Action Day” event on December 8, 2018, during the
24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC-COP24), attracting around 400

Oceans Action Day has been held annually since
2015 as a special event to discuss issues related
to the oceans and climate, co-organized with the
Global Ocean Forum (GOF), Oceano Azul
Foundation, Intergovernmental Oceanographic
Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO-IOC), among

This year, under the theme of the “oceans and
climate nexus,” more than 60 speakers involved in
climate change and the oceans from international
agencies, governments, research institutes, NGOs,
and others, gathered for effective discussion from
the point of view of the oceans regarding issues
including mitigation and adaptation to climate
change, scientific knowledge, financing mechanisms,
and displacement.

For a brief photo summary of OPRI's participation in
Oceans Action Day at COP24, please see here.

For more information on Oceans Action Day, please
see the report provided by the Earth Negotiations
Bulletin here.

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Latest News - English Edition of the "Ocean White Paper 2018" Now Available [2018年12月19日(Wed)]

The Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa
Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF) is pleased to present
the English edition of the “White Paper on the
Oceans and Ocean Policy in Japan 2018,” featuring
selected articles by OPRI-SPF scholars and other

Please click the image below for the English edition,
entitled “Selections: White Paper on the Oceans and
Ocean Policy in Japan 2018.”

Ocean White Paper 2018.jpg

For more information, please see the article below.
English Edition of the “Ocean White Paper
2018” Now Available

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Latest news - OPRI President Atsushi Sunami Named to Arctic Circle Advisory Board [2018年12月05日(Wed)]

北極サークル Arctic Circle.jpg

Dr. Atsushi Sunami, President of the Ocean Policy
Research of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
(OPRI-SPF) and Executive Director of SPF, was
named to the Advisory Board of the Arctic Circle,
the largest international conference to discuss
Arctic-related issues, on October 18, 2018.

For more information, please see the article below.
OPRI President Atsushi Sunami Named to
Arctic Circle Advisory Board

Posted by OPRI at 13:34 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series: Thoughts on the “Workshop on Arctic Governance in Tokyo" – Expectations for Japan regarding Arctic Issues [2018年10月17日(Wed)]

This blog was originally uploaded in Japanese
to OPRI's blog
on March 12, 2018.


The Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa
Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF), with co-organizers
The Nippon Foundation and the National Graduate
Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), hosted the
“Workshop on Arctic Governance in Tokyo
for two days on February 8 and 9, 2018.
The purpose of the workshop was to invite experts
on Arctic issues from overseas to discuss what
Asian countries, including Japan, can do for the
Arctic region from their diverse perspectives.
It was the second workshop following the first held
last year, and had many prominent individuals in
attendance. One of the reasons behind this would
be that the world is expecting Japan to do more
on Arctic issues.

The key person among the invited experts was H.E.
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, former President of Iceland.
He is currently the chairman of the Arctic Circle, an
international conference considered to be the Arctic
version of the Davos Forum. It is no exaggeration to
say that he is the most influential person in the
world when it comes to Arctic issues. I participated
in the Arctic Circle for the first time when it was held
in Iceland in October of last year, and I was
fortunate to be able to meet Mr. Grímsson in person.

At that time, he said that Japan has not stood out
in the Arctic Circle and insisted that it should become
as involved as the other Asian countries. This does
not mean that there were not many Japanese
people participating in the assembly, but he might
have felt that Japan had not stood out because
there were not many sessions led by Japanese
speakers as compared to those from other Asian
countries, such as China and Korea. In particular,
all eyes of the world have been on the connection
between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the
Arctic these days. News about China has thus
been in the spotlight, which might have given
him such an impression about Japan.

H.E. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, former President of
Iceland, gives a speech at the “Workshop on
Arctic Governance in Tokyo 2018”

Arctic Circle brochure (Front page)

Therefore, I told him that our institute was holding
an international workshop on Arctic governance in
February in Tokyo and suggested that he come to
Japan to participate in the workshop and have an
opportunity to discuss issues directly with Japanese
officials and experts. He immediately said yes.
After Mr. Grímsson’s participation became highly
likely, a number of prominent people from other
countries began to show interest, making the
workshop very successful as a result.
Regrettably, the workshop was a closed meeting for
participants only, so I cannot mention in detail what
was discussed. However, I would like to write about
what the Arctic countries think about Japan being
involved in Arctic issues.

In summary, all experts from the Arctic countries
believe that the stability of the Arctic region is the
most important issue. The Arctic remaining peaceful
and stable is important not only for the Arctic
countries but also for other countries.
However, the viewpoints differ depending on the
country. For Japanese people, the Arctic is a
far-away place. It is like the garden of someone who
lives in a different country. Therefore, we tend to
have the viewpoint of bystanders.

However, if we see the issue from the viewpoint of
the Arctic countries, not just the large ones but
even the small ones, we realize that the role of
Japan has a different significance to them.
Unlike Antarctica, there are many countries in the
Arctic region, and the relationship among these
countries largely affects the stability of the region.
During the Cold War, the power of the United States
and Russia --two superpowers-- and the ice-covered
ocean prevented access to other countries, and this
played a major role in keeping the region stable for
a long time. When the Cold War ended, the main
source of stability in the region changed to the
governance system among the eight countries of
the Arctic region, namely the Arctic Council.
In addition, as the amount of sea ice is reduced due
to global warming, the Arctic has become an
ordinary ocean that anyone can access.
This evoked interest from other countries,
including Asian countries.

Today, it is generally understood that the Arctic is
governed in accordance with international law, such
as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Sea (UNCLOS). However, there seems to be a
difference in the understanding of regional stability
among the eight countries, depending on their
standpoints. Officials and experts from the eight
countries participated in the workshop, so we were
able to hear their opinions from their individual
standpoints. Of course their opinions included not
just opinions which represent their country but also
their own personal opinions. However, in general,
all of the countries think that it is important for the
United States and Russia to maintain a constructive
and cooperative relationship.

On the other hand, it was pointed out that the
balance of the two superpowers regarding the Arctic
has been changing. Some thought otherwise, so
they were unable to agree; but various opinions
were exchanged on how to respond to the change
and how to include Asian countries. Speaking about
Asia, considerable attention was given to the idea of
the “Polar Silk Road” as part of China’s Belt and Road
Initiative, though there was both enthusiasm and
skepticism for the idea among the participants.

Open session at the workshop

During the workshop, I felt that three types of
balance were important when thinking about the
stability of the region: (1) balance within the Arctic
region (2) balance between the Arctic region and
Asian countries, and (3) balance among Asian
countries. I will not discuss the evaluation of the
Arctic Council, the current governing system, but
there are both small and large countries among the
eight countries that comprise the Council.
Some are close to the Arctic Ocean, and others
are not. So, the condition of each country varies,
and their viewpoints toward Arctic stability are
different. Some insist that Arctic governance should
be decided by the countries of the region, and some
insist that they should let other countries be involved
if a change is likely in the balance of the relationship
between the United States and Russia. Some think
that if a country becomes too prominent among the
countries which regional authorities have allowed to
be involved, they should let other countries from
other areas be involved in order to neutralize that
power. Also, there was a suggestion to utilize
private frameworks more often. Regardless, it is
clear that Asian countries’ involvement has already
become a factor that will have a large impact on
Arctic issues.

In Japan, a new Basic Plan on Ocean Policy will be
established shortly, and I understand an independent
article on Arctic issues has recently been formulated.
When Japan makes detailed plans on how to become
involved with Arctic issues, it is important to consider
which of the above-mentioned three factors applies
to each of the plans and check the plans again by
focusing on the viewpoint of each country.
It is important not to consider the Arctic countries as
one, but to decide which country needs which kind of
cooperation. We need to have an overall picture
while maintaining a relationship with each country.
Japan needs to become involved in order to maintain
a balance since the presence of Asia has increased in
the Arctic. I want to emphasize again that we need
to firmly understand what the countries expect us
to do.

While listening to the discussions, I was thinking
about why Mr. Grímsson wanted Japan to become
more involved and why he decided to come all the
way to Japan. Considering the situation that Iceland
is currently in, I now have a better understanding of
the reasons.

Eiji Sakai

Ocean Policy Planning and Management Department

Posted by OPRI at 15:00 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series: Establishing a Sea Grant Project in Japan (Part 1) [2018年09月20日(Thu)]

This blog post was originally uploaded in
Japanese to OPRI's blog
on April 18, 2018.


In this article, I would like to write about the Sea
Grant Programs implemented in the United States
and Korea and discuss whether we can establish a
similar program in Japan. I have chosen to divide
my analysis of the program into two parts.
In this first part, I will present a short discussion
on the topic following an introduction of the
program implemented in the U.S.

-Sea Grant Programs in the United States-

Have you heard of programs called “Sea Grants”?
In the US, Sea Grant Programs (SGPs) have been
supporting locally rooted marine industries and
environmental conservation activities through
grants to universities, for about 50 years on a
cross-sectoral basis. Thirty-three programs are
in place across the United States, including the
Great Lakes, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

An SGP is a support project sponsored by the federal
government based on an act called the National Sea
Grant College Program Act enacted in 1966.
It promotes marine-specific education, research and
extension at universities. Initially, the main target
was the development of fishery resources.
However, in recent years, they have extended their
activities to the development of renewable energies,
such as offshore wind farms, disaster prevention
(for high tides and oil spills) and tourism promotion,
depending on the situation in each region.
They are working to solve multiple issues in the
coastal areas. There are 33 programs all over the
U.S., including in Alaska and Hawaii.
The annual budget of the federal government is
68 million dollars, and the programs have created
economic benefits of approximately 8.5 times that
amount to the areas.

The SGP spread all over the United States.
(Source: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) website)

One of the features of the programs implemented
by regional universities in coastal areas is that they
are programs based on science. This means that
the most important features of the programs are to
provide solutions utilizing the newest technology for
issues each area has and to provide objective
scientific information for the issues of coastal areas
where various conflicts of interest occur.
For the coastal areas where scientific information on
matters such as tidal currents, water quality,
biological activities and submarine topography is
required, the role of these universities is
immeasurable. While new ways of utilizing the sea,
such as the establishment of offshore wind farms,
have begun, these universities are making efforts
to solve issues and connect the activities of local
governments, enterprises and residents.

We tend to focus on the size of the 68 million dollar
budget from the federal government when
considering the SGP in the United States, but
projects – such as connecting local activities and
forming a national network to connect regions –
which do not necessarily require a large budget,
are also highly valued. With such a network,
the outcomes of a project in one area are shared
and spread throughout the entire nation.

*For more details about the SGP in the United
States, please see an article covering the subject
in Ocean Newsletter No.419.

-Extending SGP to Costal Areas in Japan-

Based on the hypothesis that there are some things
we can do without a large budget, I would like to
discuss briefly whether it is possible to develop a
system similar to the SGP of the United States in
Japan or not, taking into consideration new
movements from the aspects of industrial
applicability, security and environmental

First, I will discuss industrial applicability.
As in the United States, the introduction of offshore
wind farms is becoming more realistic in Japan.
Discussions about laws and regulations regarding
the introduction of offshore wind farms into general
waters are now occurring. For example, the Cabinet
submitted the “Bill on the Promotion of the Use of
Territorial Waters for Offshore Renewable Energy
Generation Facilities” last month (March 2018).
How to advance discussions on this new applicability
method while considering the characteristics of the
proposed areas could be an issue, and the bill
allows a committee to be established in order to
gather opinions of the people involved. If we have a
system similar to the SGP, it will allow the committee
to have objective and scientific discussions.

Next comes the topic of security. The Basic Policy**
developed in April 2017 following the enactment of
the “Act of Inhabited Remote Islands on National
Borders” emphasizes the importance of the
sustainability of local communities on the specified
remote islands located on the border of the territorial
seas. However, the importance will be applied not
only to these remote islands but also to the coastal
areas where depopulation and aging is progressing.
Now that wooden boats have been steadily arriving,
possibly from North Korea, Japan has to decide how
to preserve and maintain the coastal areas.
There are an increasing number of expectations for
the establishment of a system which will visualize
and share the local knowledge of each area by
utilizing a system like the SGP.

Lastly, environmental conservation comes into play.
I would like to give a brief introduction of the
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are
currently being discussed and debated

The SDGs were set by the United Nations in
September 2015, and goals related to sustainable
conservation and usage of the ocean and marine
resources were indicated as SDG14.
Global efforts are taking place towards the full
implementation of SDG14. The first United Nations
Ocean Conference was held at UN Headquarters in
June 2017, and discussions on marine environment
conservation have been progressing. In particular,
the importance of regional cooperation and
implementation of action plans based on technology
have been pointed out. In addition, with a proposal
from UNESCO in December 2017, the United Nations
designated the years 2021 to 2030 as the “Decade
of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.”
The importance of ocean science in marine
environment conservation is attracting attention,
and I can easily say that we are in a situation where
we must establish a community support system
like the SGP.

SDG14 Logo Image.PNG

Original Icons of Ocean SDGs (SDG 14)
(Source: Ocean White Paper 2018)
*Click to enlarge

Although this requires further study, looking at
recent movements, I believe that there is a need
to establish a science-based community support
system similar to the SGP. In Japan, there has
traditionally been an excellent network for the
purpose of promoting the fisheries, and it has
been functioning for a long time.

I would like to continue my study further by
considering working together with a great network
of prefectural marine experiment stations and fishery
colleges. The SGP of the United States created a
system in which innovations which were created to
solve issues in each community eventually created
new value, and I hope that in my next article I will
be able to introduce a system similar to that.

**Basic Policy on Preservation of Inhabited Remote
Islands on National Borders and Sustainability of
Local Communities on Special Inhabited Remote
Islands on National Borders (April 2017)

Note: This article was utilized research results from
the Japan Society of Ocean Policy’s Research Group
"Towards Revitalization of Coastal Regions by the
Use of the Ocean Policy Approach"
(October 2016 - September 2018)

Tomohiko Tsunoda

Senior Research Fellow
Ocean Policy Studies Division

Posted by OPRI at 14:00 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
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