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.
Tamatoa Bambridge, Research Director at the French
Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique,
explains the purpose of the meeting.
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
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.
Thomas Camus, Researcher at the Vaia Vairao
Aquaculture Centre Technique in Tahiti,
explains about shrimp feed.
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
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.
Thierry Lison de Loma, manager of the organic farm
Vaihuti Fresh, gives a brief introduction of his farm.
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
Senior Research Fellow