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"Ocean Newsletter Selected Papers No.27" Now Available [2022年03月22日(Tue)]

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.27," the latest in the series, containing works published between No.491 (January 20, 2021) and No.510 (November 5, 2021) in the Japanese edition.



Acquiring the World’s First MSC Certification for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
USUI Sotaro
CEO of Usufuku Honten Co., Ltd.

10 Years After the Great East Japan Earthquake: Our Experiences and Lessons to be Passed Down
IMAMURA Fumihiko
Director, International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University

Thinking of the Arctic through the Board Game, The Arctic
Researcher, Institute of Arctic Climate and Environment Research, Research Institute for Global Change, JAMSTEC

The Marine Products Industry’s Reliance on Foreign Workers and the Issue of Continuity
SASAKI Takafumi
Associate Professor, Faculty of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University

Kaisou Oshiba’s 30-Year Journey: Welcome to the Forest of the Ocean
NODA Michiyo
President, Kaisou Oshiba Society

The Large Survey Vessels “Heiyo” and “Koyo” Come into Service: Current Status on the Enhancements of the JCG’s Survey Resources
Director, Administration and Planning Division, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, Japan Coast Guard

Let’s Strengthen the Ties Between Ocean Science and Policy
Project Principal Researcher, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC); Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo

Aiming for a “Sea of Fertility”: The Engineering Academy of Japan’s Proposal for Ocean Terroirs
President of the University of Tokyo, Leader of the Project for Strategic Promotion of Ocean Research, The Engineering Academy of Japan

Liquefied Hydrogen Carrier Paving the Way to a Decarbonized Society
Executive Officer and Deputy General Manager, Hydrogen Strategy Division, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.

A New Approach for a Fertile Seto Inland Sea
OKADA Mitsumasa
Professor Emeritus, Hiroshima University and The Open University of Japan

The Growth of Coast Guard Agencies Worldwide and the Current Situation on Their Cooperation
Former Commandant, Japan Coast Guard

Aiming for a New Form of Medical Care for Remote Islands
Director of Kamishima Clinic, Toba City

Posted by OPRI at 18:00 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series – A Cool Man of the Sea [2022年02月27日(Sun)]

This blog post was originally uploaded in Japanese to OPRI's blog on 21 April 2021.

Mr. Craig McLean of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a good friend of mine. As you can see from the picture, he is also a handsome man and has a cool air about him.

Mr. Craig McLean's Portrait (Source: NOAA)

I've always been fascinated by the persuasive speeches he delivers on the stage at major international conferences. He's just so "cool." As you may know, Craig McLean is not only a big name at NOAA, but in international ocean science as well. About the United Nations Ocean Decade, which started on the 1st of January 2021, Mr. McLean said following:

Ocean Decade - Interview with Craig McLean from NOAA (US)

Mr. McLean and I first became friends during the regular meetings held between my previous workplace, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), and NOAA. JAMSTEC and NOAA have a long-standing MOU framework and hold regular liaison meetings, alternating between the US and Japan. However, when I first joined the regular meeting as delegation head after becoming an executive director of JAMSTEC, my impression was that it consisted only of formalities, and that there was no merit or substance to the partnership. Of course, given its long history as the official JAMSTEC-NOAA regular meeting, the rhetoric of my closing remarks reflected the exact opposite sentiments.

At the reception in the evening, Mr. McLean, who was the leader of the NOAA side, and I were seated side by side. At first, we talked about the situation in Japan and the US, comparing the Fukushima disaster with that of Three Mile Island, then about the food and wine, and so on. After a while, I asked Mr. McLean frankly, "Are the regular meetings always carried out like the one today? The conversation continued as follows:

Mr. McLean (CM): What is the purpose of your question?
The author (HS): We are only showcasing the research results of our institutions. I don't see the point of having regular meetings under an MOU just for this.
CM: I completely agree.
HS: Don't you think it's a waste of time and budget for so many people to come to Japan?
CM: It's hard to say whether it's a waste or not, but we've been doing it like this for a long time.
HS: So, do you think it's productive?
CM: To be honest, it's unproductive.
HS: If you agree with me about this, I’d like to change the whole approach and style of the meetings to make them more productive. What do you think?
CM: Depends on the proposal. But would the Japanese side be in favor of such radical change?

Things were getting a little serious, when one of the guests suggested to us in Japanese, "You shouldn't talk about such things at a fun get-together.” Mr. McLean, sensing the mood, said, "We'll pick it up again later.”

However, after many subsequent one-on-one discussions, Mr. McLean and I were able to change the relationship between JAMSTEC and NOAA to be more scientifically productive, with real collaboration. And the regular meetings became a time to set up a joint research plan under the MOU, check its progress, and plan the next strategy. After that, we met at an international conference and I invited him to lunch. For me, that was a truly enjoyable get-together. We shared how our life’s work had led us to our current positions.

The dashing McLean's first job was as a sailor on a NOAA research vessel. He was inspired to become a sailor when his father took him to see the Nippon Maru-I sailing down the Hudson River in 1976 to celebrate the bicentennial of the USA. “It was so cool!" Fascinated by the noble Nippon Maru-I, he made up his mind to become a sailor in the future. I will never forget the sparkle in Mr. McLean's eyes when he spoke about how he had devoted his entire life to the sea, which made him what he is today.

The Nippon Maru I in the Hudson River in 1976 (top) (source: Nick Dewolf Photo Archive) and the current Nippon Maru I (bottom) (photo by the author)

When I told Mr. McLean that I was leaving JAMSTEC to join OPRI, he sent me this message via e-mail.

Dear Hide

I am very saddened by this news. I have found great admiration and respect for your vision, your solid leadership, and the depth of our friendship. I have always found your ideas very refreshing and found myself easily convinced of their merit...
You and I shall keep our momentum going and reinforce your move to OPRI as a positive opportunity as we might continue our advocacy toward joint exploration of the ocean and the comfort in the belief that we will find solutions for society in the coming Ocean Decade. I value your friendship, and appreciate your sharing this news with me.
With my best wishes for your success,

In spite of my age, I was moved by these words from such a cool man of the sea, perhaps similar to how Mr. McLean felt when he saw the brave figure of the Nippon Maru-I. I decided, "Okay, my goal from now on is to make OPRI the coolest think tank in the world!" I’ve made up my mind!!

Hide Sakaguchi
The Ocean Policy Research Institute

Posted by OPRI at 16:32 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series - The Evolving of Edo-Tokyo from the 16th to 21st Century [2021年10月13日(Wed)]

This blog post was originally uploaded in Japanese to OPRI's blog on 24 September 2021.

“Japan as an ocean state” is a slogan not frequently used until recently. Nationwide construction projects, like the building of the pyramids in Egypt, were called “Tenka Bushin” and conducted all over Japan in the past, with systematic logistics for timber and rocks via rivers, canals, and the sea. The massive constructions contributed to prestigious large-scale castle towns such as Kumamoto, Okayama, Fukuyama, Nagoya, Odawara, etc. Edo, or Tokyo nowadays, has the largest castle area in Japan (Figure 1) and is a capital on the ocean, made possible by the sophisticated civil engineering of landfills and canal systems, where substantial trading, logistics, and other economic activities took place.

Figure 1 Edo Castle Tower of Kanei (1638-57) during the Edo Period (Scale: 1/30)

Edo, literally the gateway of rivers, has been a legend of urban planning (Figure 2) since her establishment in the 16th century. As of 1721, the population of Edo reached 1 million, surpassing London and Paris, and became the biggest city in the world. Serving as Japan's capital city in politics, commerce, and innovation, the city now embraces her inclusive mission with a continuously growing vitality among her 44 million metropolitan residents, equivalent to 43% of the population of Japan. Nevertheless, behind the efficient transportation, business enterprise, and vibrant global supply chains, the concepts making the city great are still evolving systematically. This study introduces the urban planning elements from Edo to Tokyo that contributed to its development throughout history from three aspects:

Figure 2: Estimated coastline before the Edo period (by the author)

A city of the ocean thanks to hydro engineering, Edo was designed in the Japanese transition period from wartime to the feudal Tokugawa shogunate. It first benefitted from massive canal moats and lagoon landfill projects carried out by other feudal lords. Construction was initially done under order, reflecting the contemporary power balance, but eventually was presented as proof of loyalty, and there was also the incentive of gaining more privileged residence areas if landfills could be made in the coastal areas. The overall urban planning successfully protected Edo from flood hazards, and the canals facilitated resource logistics (Figure 3) and a well-water supply system. The “Foresight” spiral-like design of the city has also allowed the urban area to expand unto the present day.

Figure 3 The busy water logistics under Nihonbashi Bridge

A city of resilience with disaster risk reduction and preparedness
Being an island state located on the Pacific Rim, Edo had high exposure to almost all kinds of natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and storms. However, for hundreds of years, the support provided by the public administrative and social system has ensured stability in the aftermath and rapid recovery. This rooted sense of resilience –“falling at times, but building back better and stronger.” Such a spirit has allowed Tokyo to overcome obstacles regarded as insurmountable, and even continually attract more residents for its inclusive growth.

A city of innovation toward Society 5.0
Edo became a consumption oriented city thanks to the "Change of Attendance" commanded by the Tokugawa feudal government, costing regional feudal lords a fortune traveling back and forth with a huge number of retainers every year. Creative industries prospered, incentivizing more sophisticated specializations. The importance of canals for logistics was reduced, as their critical space was thus transformed into urban highways. (Figure 4). As of 2015, the port of Tokyo resumed its top rank in Japan, mainly due to the shipping of alternative energy such as LNG and, soon, hydrogen power. A super smart society, or "Society 5.0," is under preparation to welcome decarbonization with eco-friendly transportation, production, and human-centered connectivity.

Figure 4 Highways built above the canals have served as major arteries

Tokyo is unique in being highly exposed, damaged by disasters, but always built back and then moving forward with resilience. Up to the 21st century, Tokyo has remained the prime destination for population inflow due to its convenience, opportunity, and potential, despite Japan's severely shrinking demography. This paper aims to generalize these critical elements with policy implications for cities that are emerging or confronting difficulties. The experience of Edo-Tokyo demonstrates a showcase of effective urban planning with its examples of profound wisdom in innovative and sustainable development.

Figure 5 A city still evolving with the embrace of the ocean – Tokyo-Edo

Michael C. Huang
Research Fellow
The Ocean Policy Research Institute

Posted by OPRI at 15:00 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series - The Development of Castle Town in Japan during the Great Discovery [2021年05月14日(Fri)]

This blog post was originally uploaded in Japanese to OPRI's blog on 12 May 2021.

Recently, the growing attention of Japanese history could be found in newly produced English-speaking films and animation from subscription-based streaming services such as Netflix. Among them, “Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan” and “Yasuke – the African warrior who served under Oda Nobunaga” could present the fascinating stories of the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1603), while the overall development of this era that has contributed to castle towns, culture, and philosophy as the heritage of Japan till today.

Photo 1. Namban Folding Screens (Kano School, 1570-1616) in The National Museum of Ancient Art of Portugal in Lisbon [Photo by the author]

The National Museum of Ancient Art of Portugal in Lisbon is one of the most visited museums in Portugal, with over 40,000 items spanning a vast collection of painting, sculpture, goldware, furniture, textiles, ceramics, and prints. Among them, the Namban Folding Screens (Photo 1) by Kano School of Azuchi-Momoyama period depicted in detail the arrival and unloading of the cargo of the Portuguese ship at Nagasaki harbor of Japan. The folding screens were the most vivid archives of the Golden Age of Japan for the vibrant interchange during the Great Discovery, as well as for the popularity of culture – Tea Ceremony, Noh, Kabuki all began to prosper to accommodate the social consolidation.

The Azuchi-Momoyama period also stood for the transition of the Japanese castle from its purpose of “defensive fort” into “luxury showcase” and later, “governance” in the Edo period (1600-1868). From the early feudal period of the 13th century, approximately 3000 castles were built all over Japan, but up to date in 2021, the remained sites, including the reconstructions, are about 200 (Photo 2). The scale of castle towns has also increased thanks to the evolving logistic system of river and sea transportation for commercial demands substantially, and more importantly, urban planning.

Photo 2. The Iwakuni Castle (reconstructed), built on the top of the mountain in 1608 [Photo by the author]

In 1992, the Sevilla EXPO in memorial of Discovery of America 500th Anniversary was held in Spain. A must-see spot in the Japan pavilion is the replica of the 5-6 floor of Azuchi Castle, with the Kano School painting restored from its original. The Azuchi Castle was the very first castle built not for defensive purposes but for the display of fancy artistic and unprecedented castle construction. The most notable feature is that the stone base was made through a professional construction group – Anoshu through systematic allocation. Such a method was applied to all other well-known large-scale castles today, such as Osaka Castle, Nagoya Castle, Kumamoto Castle, etc.

Photo 3. Azuchi Castle built by Oda Nobunaga, a castle of fantasy only existed for 3 years (1579-1582). [Photo by the author]
Left: The replica of 5-6 floors that displayed in 1992 Sevilla EXPO /
Right: 1/20 Model in Museum of Azuchi Castle

Another unique case is Nagoya Castle in Saga Prefecture (Photo 4), which Toyotomi Hideyoshi built with advance on Korean Peninsula and Mainland China. It is still imaginable for the thousands of naval troop gathering, whereas the site of the castle has become a museum with the regular exhibition of Korean, representing the peace and friendship nowadays.

Photo 4. Site and the exhibition of Saga Prefectural Nagoya Castle Museum [Photo by the author]

Mr. Juan M Delgado-Moreira, former director of the Ministry of Education in Spain, indicated that it is “Cultural Citizenship” to tie up the nations and create a universal European Identity. The historical heritages are known for generating cultural identity that accelerates tourism, social and commercial influence. The castle towns in Japan are the harvest of the interaction in the Great Discovery. Despite the losses due to the political transition and war destruction, the experiences and strategies in cultural preservation and promotion for a friendlier historical heritage environment, which worth much greater academic attention and effort for further investigation on the holistic policymaking function and framework.

Photo 5. The maintenance of Kurashiki Town and the new inauguration of Cat Master-Sanjunro of Bichu-Matsuyama Castle [Photo by the author]

Michael C. Huang
Research Fellow

Posted by OPRI at 17:00 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series - Music and Maritime History [2021年03月17日(Wed)]

Recently I was looking over some CD compilations made by Nakamura Toyo back in the 80s and 90s and started to think about the connections between music and history. Nakamura founded Music Magazine, a Japanese magazine that was a pioneer in introducing readers to a wide variety of non-mainstream popular music genres along with refreshingly opinionated commentary. After getting to know Nakamura and translating many of his works, I tried applying his view of music as a series of intangible artefacts: forms coming into being, flourishing, and while sometimes ceasing to grow, never entirely disappearing, but affecting history. For example, one of his themes that made a big impression on me was the origin and role of “call-and-response” in the development of popular music.

He often cited the American musicologist Alan Lomax, who recorded many examples of work songs by those actually laboring in fields, forests, or on railroads in the 1930s. Growing up in the American south, the connection between blues music and work on the farm seemed an obvious one to me. It was only when I understood the use of “call-and-response” in synchronizing activity among groups, and that the form had long existed in West Africa and was brought over by slaves, that I realized the importance of intangible artefacts and how tracing them could illuminate connections in history. Those sung in the southern part of the U.S. were the roots out of which gospel, blues, and rock and roll eventually grew. Up until my parents’ generation, before the invention of sophisticated farming machinery, people still picked cotton under the hot Tennessee sun to songs like “Pick a Bale of Cotton” that Lomax had recorded. Unfortunately, many examples of these intangible cultural artefacts, passed on and refined generation after generation, have now disappeared forever.

If people naturally seek to lighten the burden of simple repetitive labor or to synchronize their exertions for maximum effect through the chanting of songs in unison or in a call-and-response format, we can easily imagine them taking place as the pyramids or the Great Wall of China were being built. A similar situation pertains to work at sea. Our certain knowledge only goes back a few centuries
but references in extant written sources and pottery provide some hints into the relation between music and onboard work. For example, The Olympias, a trireme reconstructed in the 1980s, based on ancient Greek sources, employs 170 rowers on three levels. Old movies used to show ancient coxswains coordinating their rowers at sea with loud, rhythmical drumbeats, but trials on The Olympias showed that melodies played on “auletes” (double pipes with reeds and a bagpipe-like sound) were more effective in keeping the long overlapping oars from getting entangled. We know from documents
that aulete players were part of ancient crews, but still lack evidence for any songs that might have been sung.

Image of Trireme
(Source: 1.bp.blogspot.com)

The need for synchronization of effort also applied to
sailing ships. As riggings became more extensive, moving to three and even four masts from the 15th century onwards, hoisting and lowering of the greater number of sails required a higher level of coordination by crews. On whaling ships in the 19th century the work was compounded by the hunt. What emerged out of this demand for synchronization and endurance, in different languages and eras, was called in English the sea shanty.

I had long been aware of the term and knew, probably from old movies, that singing often accompanied work on board ships, but the last few years has seen an explosion of interest in the sea shanty. People around the world are now enjoying as a musical form on the stage, YouTube, but especially TikTok, what grew spontaneously out of harsh and dangerous conditions, the result of trial
and error by sailors, not musicians, over hundreds of years. The 1956 movie version of Moby Dick included several renditions of shanties and ballads; there were also many in the 2019 musical. In 2018, the English sea shanty group The Longest Johns included the song “Soon May the Wellerman Come” on their popular album Between Wind and Water.
However, what is now considered the worldwide sea shanty movement began when a young Scottish postman named Nathan Evans posted his version of the same song on TikTok in January of this year. By February it was the number one song on the UK, German, Dutch, and Swiss music charts and is now being constantly remixed on TikTok. It’s a whaling song that can be traced back to New Zealand in the mid-nineteenth century, and is sung from the perspective of the crew on board a whaling ship who are desperately waiting for supplies from the Weller Brothers whaling station in Otago.

Image of sea shanty No.1
(Source: Publicdomainreview.org)

Perhaps the new-found popularity of the genre is related to the pandemic: people are attracted to the shanties because they are simple, upbeat, and were meant to be sung in groups, so are ideal for mashups, which, though online, gives the sense of collaboration and so can reduce the stress of quarantines. However, even before the pandemic and latest boom, sea shanties were being kept alive by enthusiasts in fishermen’s associations around the U.K. and by the Wellington Sea Shanty Society in New Zealand. It is also taught in the cultural component of the SEA Semester run out of Woods Hole, MA. in the U.S., where students also spend time on research voyages. Even in Japan, the Sailingship Nippon-maru Fan Male Choir has performed sea shanties at their concerts for the past twenty-five years. In England, the Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival draws crowds of 60,000, but will unfortunately have to be held virtually this year.

Image of sea shanty No.2
(Source: americanheritagemusic.com)

The shanty boom was foreshadowed by the 2010 BBC documentary Shanties and Sea Songs with Gareth Malone, which gives a good picture of the historical background of the shanty around the U.K. and shows how the singing tradition has been carried on by choral groups in different ports and fishing villages and is still part of the work of active fishermen in Cornwall.

However, just as the work songs of field and forest
died out with the coming of agricultural machinery, when ships turned to steam in the nineteenth century the work routines on board changed and the sea shanty lost its role. Luckily, in the 1920s, the American scholar James Madison Carpenter toured the U.K. to record the last of those who had actively sung shanties on ship in their youth, providing authentication for how they are sung today.

Thanks to the emerging technology of a hundred years ago, combined with TikTok and YouTube, marine artefacts from centuries past have been revived and are again part of our cultural vocabulary. This bodes well for teaching aspects of maritime history that are often overlooked, but more importantly, it’s fun!

John A. Dolan
Research Fellow
The Ocean Policy Research Institute

Posted by OPRI at 15:00 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series - Seabed Mining in the Pacific Islands: New economic frontier or Pandora’s box? [2021年03月10日(Wed)]

We live an electric and electronic world. We are reminded of this reality each time we tap on our smartphones, watch the news on our flatscreen tv-sets, use our laptop computers to work from remote or order food online. Yet, we are less aware of living in a technosphere that is also mineral and metallic. For example, the average smartphone contains more than sixty different metals, some of them in short-supply. Also, copper, nickel, lithium and related minerals are key components used to make electric-vehicle batteries and other parts. Moreover, in order to achieve the goals set by the Paris Agreement, humanity is bound to adopt “green technologies’’ such as renewable energies and electric transportation at an unprecedented scale. Since those technologies require a high input of critical minerals and metals, the challenge posed by geological scarcity and extractive capacity is going to be a crucial aspect of the upcoming
green-tech revolution and decarbonization of industries and economies globally.

Presently mining occurs almost entirely on land. Yet,
almost all the mineral commodities mined on land are found also in the marine floor. So far, there has been a lack of incentive to develop the undersea resources due to the technical difficulties and the costs of mining operations. But change is coming fast, prompted by the bustling demand for strategic minerals. Estimates by the World Bank
suggest a necessary production increase of almost 500 percent by 2050 to satisfy the growing demand across electric vehicles, renewable energy systems, and more. Thus, the question of how to procure those minerals in sufficient quantities, and in an environmentally and socially ethical way, looms larger by the day. In this difficult predicament, the seabed is set to become a new “promised land” and economic frontier offering scores of unexploited raw materials essential to the green transition.

The case of seabed cobalt deposits epitomizes the focal role that undersea mining is going to play in the future decades. The global demand for cobalt, a key material to the buoying rechargeable battery market, is expected to double by 2030. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the African country accounting for 65 percent of the world’s cobalt provision, the mineral is often mined inappropriately. The oceans could offer an alternative both in terms of sufficient supply and ethical mining. In fact, cobalt crusts on the seafloor contain large amounts of cobalt, nickel,
manganese, and other metals potentially exceeding the resources contained in land deposits. Hence it will not be long until states and corporations start digging that bounty up and usher the world into the era of commercial-scale undersea mining.

Seabed mining involves extracting submerged minerals and deposits from the marine floor. To date, this activity has been generally limited to shallow coastal waters. For this reason, a distinction should be drawn between seabed mining and deep seabed mining (DSM), the latter occurring below the 200-meter depth line. DSM is an experimental industrial field that involves mining large areas of polymetallic nodules, cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts of seamounts or active and extinct hydrothermal vents at depths varying from 1,400 to 3,700 meters. The vents create globular or massive sulfide deposits, which contain valuable metals such as silver, gold, copper, manganese, cobalt, and zinc.

Types of Seabed Mining.jpg
[Figure 1] New Zealand Environment Guide

The world’s first large-scale mining of hydrothermal vent mineral deposits was carried out by Japan in
, when Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation conducted extractive operations at the hydrothermally active basin known as the Okinawa Trough, a seafloor zone off the coast of Okinawa and within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ, a 200-nautical-mile/370 km area surrounding coastal nations). Like Japan’s, mining activities falling within a country’s EEZ are regulated by that country’s domestic law. To date, only a relatively small number of states - thirty-two in total including China, India, the United States of America and nine Pacific Island countries - have established legal and institutional frameworks for the future
development of DSM. In addition, there is a range of other international agreements pertaining to seabed mining in national jurisdictions, if the nation in question is signatory to these.

In the case of the high seas, ocean floor mining is governed by the 1982 United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which came into force in 1994. The Convention established the International Seabed Authority (ISA) - based in Kingston, Jamaica, and counting 167 member states plus the European Union, - which regulates states’ DSM ventures outside the limit of EEZs and is responsible for managing ocean floor resources “for the common heritage of mankind”. While a total of 85-million square kilometers of ocean falls within EEZs and comes under the jurisdiction of national laws, the international deep seabed area (the Area) regulated by ISA comprises about 260-million square kilometers.

ISA is also producing a “Mining Code” : a
comprehensive set of rules, regulations and procedures to regulate prospecting, exploration and exploitation of marine minerals in the Area. The Code falls within the general legal framework established by UNCLOS and the 1994 Implementing Agreement related to DSM. Up to the present time, ISA has issued regulations for the development of three types mineral resources: polymetallic
sulfides (seafloor massive sulfides formed at hydrothermal vents); polymetallic nodules (manganese nodules on abyssal plains); and cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts that form on seamounts. Decisions to grant exploration and mining contracts are determined the Legal and Technical Commission, an organ of the ISA Council, consisting of twenty-four members elected by the Council for a period of five years. The Commission’s functions include issuing deep sea exploratory and mining licenses, review of applications for plans of work, supervision of exploration or mining activities, and the assessment of the environmental impact of such activities.

DSM does not yet exist in the Area, where most of the marine deposits of minerals prized by world markets are situated. However, as of February 2021 ISA has entered into fifteen-year exclusive exploration contracts in the deep seabed with thirty contractors in areas totaling more than 1.3 million square kilometers. Such contracts are held by states parties to UNCLOS and by companies sponsored by those parties. Expectedly, holders of exploration contracts would later seek exploitation contracts to initiate mining. On this account, ISA member-states have directed the ISA Secretariat to hasten the drafting of environmental regulations that would govern exploitation contracts. In fact, mining activities will not only be undertaken in extreme geophysical conditions, but also occur in unique environments supporting unique ecosystems teeming with life and exerting a major influence on the whole oceanic biosphere. Therefore, assessing all the potential risks and disciplining a brand-new industry is going to be a pivotal challenge.

Considerations about the environmental impact on the ocean’s living resources factor heavily in the seabed mining equation, since the interconnected
nature of the ocean means that effects would be systemic. For instance, rare and endangered species of marine lifelike whale sharks, sperm whales, and leatherback turtles are at risk from metal toxicity caused by waste disposal. Also, commercial fish catches like tuna are under potential threat. Nonetheless, from a developmental perspective, the governments of a number of small island states, especially in the Insular Pacific region, look at seabed mining as a very promising avenue for improving the economic and social well-being of their countries. Correspondingly, Pacific Island states are among the sponsors of private sector and state-owned companies, from industrialized countries, exploring a large area of the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCFZ). The CCFZ covers 4,500 kilometers of ocean floor between Kiribati and Mexico and is rich in mineral deposits, especially in polymetallic nodules. Signally, of the thirty international exploration licenses issued by ISA, twenty-five are in the Pacific Ocean and eighteen in the CCFZ. Furthermore, there are reportedly hundreds of active exploration licenses in the national waters of six Pacific Island countries, and four Pacific island states have sponsored the grant of exploration licenses in the Area.

Tellingly, Papua New Guinea (PNG) was the first country ever to approve a permit for seabed minerals exploration in 1997, and subsequently a mining license in 2011, to a Canadian company
named Nautilus Minerals Ltd. In addition, the PNG government opted to purchase a 30 percent stake in the project, which was opposed by a vocal coalition of domestic and international preservationists
decrying the destructiveness of that mining venture. Eventually, in November 2019, in the face of serious financial and logistical setbacks, Nautilus was declared bankrupt. And PNG lost $US125 million: an amount equivalent to one-third of its annual health budget. However, the demise of Nautilus did not mark the end of the road for DSM in the Pacific Islands, even among calls for a ten-year moratorium on seabed mining. On the contrary, the Pacific Ocean continues to be at the forefront of the global marine mining effort. For example, Canada-based seabed mining company Deep Green Metals is now targeting nodule fields on the CCFZ floor with support from the governments of Nauru, Kiribati and Tonga.

For certain, DSM is going to rank high in the Pacific
Island agenda in the years to come. In a profoundly
divisive sense. As a matter of fact, the divide is
already evident. In one camp stand some Pacific
Island governments
, driven by the prospect of
providential financial gains (or even economic
salvation) for their countries, siding together with
mining industry players and extra-regional interests.
In the other camp, concerned Pacific Island
political and civil society figures join hands with
scientists and conservationists, and enjoy the
support of international organizations and
governments around the world. Notably, the opening
of the undersea mining era in the Pacific Islands
would have sizeable geopolitical implications for
the international order. To begin with, thanks to the
mining revenues some island countries would
become less dependent on aid and development
assistance, and recalibrate their foreign policy
accordingly. Secondly, power relativities within the
region would be reshaped, leading to new
geopolitical equilibria. Also, the Pacific Islands would
accrue geo-economic centrality, and great power competition for access and influence would intensify
resultantly. Finally, the global map of mineable
resources would be redrawn. In particular, the
existing quasi-monopolies of rare earth metals and
critical minerals would be considerably lessened.

While potential investors keep eyeing the undersea mineral deposits, the controversy about mining the floor of the Pacific extends well-beyond the Pacific Islands, involving environmentalists, scholars, politicians and entrepreneurs worldwide. On the one hand, reports like those issued by the Deep Sea Mining Campaign & Mining Watch Canada in 2020
and WWF in early 2021 warn of the dangers posed to the marine ecosystem and Pacific Island livelihoods and cultures, and urge a moratorium on seabed mining. On the other hand, sources like a 2020 scientific study commissioned by Deep Green Metals - contend that damages from seabed mining would be significantly less than land-based mining. Actually, the switch to ocean-floor mining can be delayed but not indefinitely deferred, because the planetary quest for mineral commodities will inescapably make today’s undersea mining scenarios tomorrow’s reality. In the Pacific as well as in other oceanic quadrants, averting ecological devastation and dispossession of developmental stakeholders will require close supervision and effective governance by ISA and other international bodies, responsible best-practice government and industry regulation, and transparent global/local community engagement to ensure participation and ownership. As Jules Verne proclaimed in his 1870 underwater adventure novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, “the earth does not want new continents, but new men.”

Fabrizio Bozzato
Senior Research Fellow
The Ocean Policy Research Institute

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Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series - Search for new a form of Ocean Governance−from the Perspective of Blue Infinity Loops [2020年03月27日(Fri)]

This blog post was originally uploaded in
Japanese to OPRI's blog on 27 June 2019.

The Ocean Policy Research Institute (OPRI) has taken
up numerous research activities and achieved results
on specific marine issues such as comprehensive
coastal management, marine education, biodiversity,
utilization of Arctic shipping routes and maritime
security. While recent policy research studies have
focused on individual maritime issues, we have also
been carrying out research on the seas of East Asia,
where we are situated, and on the world’s oceans
from a comprehensive viewpoint, or one that
investigates the management of oceans as a global
public good.

Today, however, the conservation and sustainable use
of marine environments and resources are central
topics of discussion on all international platforms.
For this reason, the importance of multilateral
maritime governance has emerged, and establishing
a governance mechanism has become a pressing
issue. With this awareness, OPRI launched a
research project titled “Creation of a New
International Structure to Protect the Ocean” in
April 2019, and started a research study aimed at
producing a universal form of maritime governance.

To briefly introduce the analytical framework of this
project, the target areas for the research are the
world’s oceans in the two blue belts shown in
Figure 1, what we call “Blue Infinity Loops.”
In the sea areas of each Blue Infinity Loop, while
various marine problems such as illegal,
unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing,
extreme weather due to climate change, and
marine debris are recurring challenges, the serious
impact of these problems is felt not only in individual
sea areas but also other bodies of water.

Figure 2 shows the relationship between such
marine problems and the users of the sea area:
spatial or geographical classifications (coastal,
offshore, open sea) and legal classifications based
on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Sea (UNCLOS) (territorial waters, contiguous zones,
exclusive economic zones, international waters) are
on the vertical axis and the main users of sea areas
related to the allocation of those jurisdictions are
on the horizontal axis.

In the context of the maritime issues existing in
each sea area and the forms of cooperation involved
in solving them (bilateral or multilateral), we would
like to examine the governance mechanism and
methods necessary to promote sustainable marine
use and make policy recommendations by analyzing
the interrelationship (causal relationship) between
the users of sea areas and the marine problems
that exist there.

This new research project has just begun and many
difficulties are anticipated in the future. We would
appreciate your support to President Sunami and all
of our researchers as we undertake this formidable

Figure 1-ppt.JPG

Figure 1: Concept of Blue Infinity Loops


Figure 2: Image of Multilateral Governance
in the Ocean

Xiang Gao
Research Fellow
The Ocean Policy Research Institute

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Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series - The Future of Islands and Climate Change Adaptation [2020年01月24日(Fri)]

This blog post was originally uploaded in
Japanese to OPRI's blog on 29 May 2019.

Hello, everyone. My name is Nagisa Yoshioka and
I’m a newbie researcher of oceans and climate
change issues at the Ocean Policy Research Institute
(OPRI) of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. In this
Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece, I’d like to talk about the
current state of islands and climate change while
introducing the research projects I’m involved in.

■ What is Climate Change Adaptation?

First, I’d like to provide a simple explanation of
Climate Change Adaptation, a field that particularly
interests me. I imagine many of you know that
climate change countermeasures can largely be
categorized into the areas of “mitigation” and

Mitigation-type countermeasures aim to curb climate
change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,
while adaptation-type means minimizing the negative
impacts that climate change has on society. In
developing countries, the question of how people
living in environs more vulnerable to climate
change−due to a shortage of infrastructure or low
economic standards−will adapt to change is a
major issue. What does this mean in terms of how
climate change affects small island countries or
coastal countries?

■ Climate change issues facing islands

The industries of people living in coastal regions
depend heavily on marine resources. Fishing and
tourism are typical examples. If marine resources
decline due to climate change, people working in the
fishing industry will experience unstable incomes.
Or, if beautiful coral reefs are lost, the tourism
industry of island countries−often a key industry
−will face difficulties. A decline in industries
caused by the depletion of marine resources is
becoming a major threat to the economies of
coastal countries and island countries. It is also
threatening people’s livelihoods and the food
security of communities.


A fish market in Fiji.
Some fishermen noted they have seen a decline in
their catch recently
(photographed by the author)

Another issue is the growing severity and frequency
of disasters caused by climate change. Such disasters
can be roughly categorized as “extreme weather
events” and “slow-onset events.” In addition to
damages from abnormal weather, such as larger
typhoons and localized torrential rain, there is
concern that more disasters such as rising sea
level and drought will threaten people’s livelihoods
in the future.. The impacts from such disasters
include not only human and property damage,
but also the loss of land where people live.


A beach in the Marshall Islands.
The palm tree fell over due to coastal erosion.
(photographed by the author)

Countermeasures from various perspectives are
needed for people living on islands to adapt to these
risks from climate change. Below, I’d like to quickly
introduce topics OPRI is exploring in terms of climate
change adaptation for Pacific island countries.

■ Recognition of climate change risks to oceans

First, recognizing the type of risk is key to determining
the right investment and policy action. For example,
the negative impacts that climate change will have
on marine resources and people’s living environments
need to be understood based on scientific evidence.
Admirably, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) released its Special Report on the
Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate in
September 2019.
Now is an excellent time for society to develop a
deeper understanding of climate change risks facing
the world’s oceans. This fiscal year, OPRI will begin
joint research on the theme of “ocean risks and
climate change security” with the Stimson Center in
Washington D.C. This research will involve creating
an index and mapping both climate change and ocean

■ Disaster risk reduction in coastal areas

Countermeasures against disaster risks have become
an important issue for small island countries and
coastal countries to help empower coastal
communities to combat natural disasters such as
typhoons and high tides. In addition, there is a
growing worldwide movement to increase resilience
to disasters by sharing knowledge and technology
related to disaster risk reduction. Recently, I took
part in the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
(GPDRR) held in Geneva, Switzerland as an observer.
Organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster
Risk Reduction (UNDRR), this conference is held once
every two years following the Sendai Framework for
Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 established in
2015. I felt there is growing interest in
ecosystem-based DRR, or Eco-DRR, that utilizes
natural ecosystems as a focal point of discussion on
oceans and coasts. Eco-DRR involves such activities
as mitigating risk of tsunamis and high tides by
fostering the growth of mangrove forests. It is being
promoted to increase resilience while safeguarding
ecosystems along with vibrant food resources of
coastal communities. The number of good practices
involving such initiatives and the sharing of knowledge
worldwide is expected to increase going forward.
OPRI will continue to research cases in Japan and
in Pacific island countries.


Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
held in Geneva
(photographed by the author)

■ Migration induced by rising sea level

As discussed above, small island countries,
particularly atoll countries, such as Kiribati,
the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and the Maldives,
face such problems as land erosion from rising
sea levels. There are growing concerns in the
international community that people living in
these countries will be relocated to other lands.
Meanwhile, legislation for the protection of climate
change refugees has been slow to develop because
the factors for relocation are complex and
intertwined, as well as politically sensitive.
Given this situation, there are growing voices that
migration should not be forced, but rather optional.
OPRI launched research on climate-induced migration
issues from last fiscal year. We are now studying the
issues facing people living on atolls migrating to
another country and the type of international
assistance needed to facilitate migration with dignity.
Most of these people migrating do so for education or
career purposes. Still, in case more people relocate to
other countries in the future due to rising sea levels,
it will be important to achieve “migration with dignity”
(a concept advocated by Anote Tong, Kiribati’s former

■ Financing for Pacific island countries

The discussion of financing is essential to combating
the ocean risks introduced here. However, it remains
difficult to mobilize funds for countermeasures against
uncertain events such as climate change. One major
issue is how to create incentives for investors.
For example, decisions on investments in disaster risk
reduction cannot be made without the recognition
that the costs for reducing risks in advance can be
fully offset by the reduction of losses from damages
caused by actual disasters.

Furthermore, there are many cases where developing
countries find it extremely difficult to secure and
allocate enough funds internally to the field of disaster
risk reduction. Therefore, discussions must be held on
how to draw funds from around the world for building
resilience. This will require identification of funding
gaps and utilization of innovative financial tools.
OPRI is also researching these risks and financing
schemes, with the goal to provide policy
recommendations on how to address financing
issues of island countries that are particularly
vulnerable to coasted disasters.

This concludes my introduction of OPRI’s research
on climate change adaptation. Each of these examples
is an exploratory study that has only just begun.
We will continue to share research outcomes with
society for a sustainable future for the world’s oceans
and islands.

Nagisa Yoshioka
Research Fellow
The Ocean Policy Research Institute

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Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series
- 20th Anniversary of the IARC and the
Future of Arctic Research [2019年12月27日(Fri)]

This blog post was originally uploaded in
Japanese to OPRI's blog on 13 March 2019.

In March 2019, I participated in the
“Japan-US Arctic Science Collaboration−Reflections
on the Past Two Decades and Future Opportunities”,
held by the University of Alaska’s International Arctic
Research Center (hereafter “IARC”). This conference
commemorated the 20th anniversary of the IARC
and was co-sponsored by the Wilson Center and
Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research,
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and
Technology, as well as our institute.


International Arctic Research Center (IARC)


Hajo Eicken, Director of the IARC (left),
Syun-ichi Akasofu, Founding Director
of the Center (middle),
Atsushi Sunami, OPRI President (right)

The IARC was launched as a research institute
established at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in
1999 under the bilateral Japan-US cooperation
framework “US-Japan Common Agenda for
Cooperation in Global Perspective,” initiated in 1993,
with the purpose of promoting international
cooperation on research into global scale
phenomena such as climate change and the Arctic,
and it plays an important role as a base for Arctic
research, not only between the US and Japan,
but internationally.

When the IARC was launched, Japan’s Arctic
research was of a smaller scale than it’s Antarctic
research, and our international presence was
also weak. However, over the last 20 years the
environment surrounding Japan’s Arctic research
has changed dramatically with the launch of the
national projects of the GRENE Project in 2011 and
the ArCS Project in 2015, and the Japanese
government formulating an Arctic policy with
scientific research as one of its three pillars,
enhancing both funding and policy. The reality of
today is that many of the researchers supporting
these projects have had experience in research at
the IARC, and the role of the IARC in fostering
young researchers from when Arctic research was
less active 20 years ago and the achievements of
its founder Syun-ichi Akasofu have been

Going forward, policy perspectives will be
increasingly important in Japan’s Arctic research.
The purposes of the ArCS Project are to elucidate
climate change in the Arctic and to clarify the
impacts of environmental changes on society,
and to effectively communicate to stakeholders
research that contributes to policy decisions and
problem solving on Arctic issues, or in other words,
placing an emphasis on providing scientific
knowledge for policy decisions. One of the most
interesting things that happened at this conference
in Alaska was when Larry Hinzman, Vice Chancellor
of the University of Alaska and former Director of
the IARC noted that the role of the IARC was to
“obtain scientific knowledge to contribute to
international policy”. That is, there is a need for
research which contributes to policy, even within
the international Arctic research community.
The ArCS Project is due to finish in 2019, and its
successor project which should start from 2020
will also need to look to further this role. This also
means an increasing importance on policy research,
which bridges scientific research with policy making.
This was the reason for our institute co-hosting
this conference, to seek out the role that policy
research needs to play in taking Arctic research in
Japan to that next level.

The Arctic Science Ministerial Meeting is one
important framework in considering Arctic research
from a policy perspective. This is an initiative of
the United States which was launched in 2016 for
the purpose of holding high level discussions on
matters related to Arctic scientific research, and,
unlike the Arctic Council in which Japan merely has
observer status, the feature of this meeting is that
non-Arctic countries can actively take part in
setting the agenda. The 2nd Arctic Science
Ministerial Meeting took place in Berlin, Germany
last October, and at the meeting it was decided
that the 3rd meeting will be jointly hosted by
Japan and Iceland and be held in Japan. This will
be the first time it will be held in Asia, which is
a manifestation of the many years of results and
trust which has been established here with respect
to Arctic research. At the same time, as host
country, it will be our obligation to show concrete
measures to the international community for how
Japan can contribute in the area of science to
issues concerning the Arctic. At the very least,
we will need to really take advantage of this
opportunity to host this Arctic Science Ministerial

In this sense, this IARC meeting was a very useful
opportunity to develop a concrete image of what
future international cooperation in Arctic research
will look like. Hajo Eicken, director of the IARC,
expressed his great expectations for the up coming
Arctic Science Ministerial Meeting to be held in
Japan, and noted that the IARC would be
interested in cooperating. I believe that we will
see a further increase in the importance of
cooperation with the IARC than over the past
20 years.

In addition to the Arctic Science Ministerial Meeting,
2020 will see a large number of other major
conferences related to the Arctic held in Japan.
Our institute plans to hold a regional forum in
cooperation with Iceland’s Arctic Circle, which has
become known as the Arctic version of the Davos
Forum. This has been planned since the Chairman
of the Arctic Circle, and former President of Iceland,
Grimsson was invited to an international conference
in February 2018, and is an attempt by Japan and
Iceland to cooperate in both public and private
fields, through the government level Arctic Science
Ministerial Meeting and the private level Arctic Circle.
In addition, a variety of events have also been
planned in the academic field, including Kobe
University planning to hold a Polar Law Symposium,
all of which should make 2020 a truly Arctic Year for
Japan. In addition to the attention that is sure to
come with the Olympics, we hope that our institute
will be a force in attracting the attention of the world
in the field of Arctic cooperation.


Cake celebrating the 20th anniversary of the
IARC (a very sweet typical American cake)

Eiji Sakai
Vice President
The Ocean Policy Research Institute

Posted by OPRI at 15:00 | この記事のURL | コメント(0)
"Ocean Newsletter Selected Papers No.24"
Now Available
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.24," the latest in the series,
containing works published between No.431
(July 20, 2018) and No.450 (May 5, 2019)
in the Japanese edition.



A preview of "Ocean Newsletter
Selected Papers No.24"

Towards “Zero” Greenhouse Gas Emissions from
International Shipping

Hideaki SAITO
Director, Shipbuilding and Ship Machinery Division,
Maritime Bureau, MLIT / Chair,
Marine Environment Protection Committee,
International Maritime Organization

Protecting Palau's Oceans through Disposal of
Explosive Remnants of War (ERW)

Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS) Palau

What Environmental DNA Brings to the Future of
the Oceans

Associate Professor, Field Science Education and
Research Center, Kyoto University

Development of an Underwater Floating-type Ocean
Current Power Generation System and the
Demonstration Sea-trial

Shigeki NAGAYA
Manager, IHI Corporation

Creation of the 2nd Taketomi Basic Plan on Ocean
Policy: A town living in harmonywith Churaumi
(beautiful ocean)

Taichiro TOUJI
Director, Policy Promotion Division, Taketomi Town
Government, Okinawa Prefecture

On the Utilization of Water Transportation in
Tokyo Bay

President and Representative Director,
Tokyo Water Taxi, Inc.

Launch of the Japan Coast Guard Mobile Cooperation
Team (MCT)

Director for Coast Guard International Cooperation,
Administration Department,
Japan Coast Guard

The World Maritime University -- Sasakawa Global
Ocean Institute: A New Institute in a Unique

Ronan LONG
Director, WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute,
World Maritime University

Efforts towards the Creation of an Oyster Farming
Pipe Utilizing Biodegradable Plastics

Division Head, Second Operations Division,
UMI & NAGISA Foundation

The Kuroshio Large Meander and its Impacts
Senior Scientist, Application Laboratory,
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and
Technology (JAMSTEC)

Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency’s
Contribution to SDGs: Promotion of the SH“U”N

Yoshioki OOZEKI
Senior Advisor, Japan Fisheries Research
and Education Agency

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| 次へ