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Ocean Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Series: Evaluation Process of Second Basic Plan on Ocean Policy [2018年07月25日(Wed)]

This blog post was originally uploaded in
Japanese to OPRI’s blog
on May 17, 2017.

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If you have been following this blog, you must be
well aware that our staff members and directors are
devoted to research studies that contribute to the
development of ocean policies both in Japan and
around the world. These research studies include
not only finding and providing new information but
also (re-)evaluating current or existing projects.
The latter is also very important for promoting
better research studies. We conducted an evaluation
process in January 2017 on the second Basic Plan on
Ocean Policy, the results of which will help guide our
future research studies.

We sent an evaluation form to 65 people on our
institute’s research committees (the Comprehensive
Ocean Policy Research Committee, the Research
Committee on the Implementation of the Integrated
Coastal Management Model, the Research
Committee on the Promotion of the Sustainable
Development of Islands and their Surrounding Ocean
Areas, the “Ocean Newsletter” Editorial Committee,
the “Ocean White Paper 2017” Editorial Committee
and the Research Committee on the Future of the
Arctic) and asked for their cooperation on our
evaluation process. Twenty-eight of these individuals
sent us their replies. I would like to thank those who
helped us, especially as it was during the busiest
time of the year.

The results are shown in the diagram below. We
received a high evaluation on the policies of
“4. Securing Maritime Transport,” “9. Integrated
Coastal Zone Management” and “10. Conservation
of Remote Islands.” On the other hand, we received
a low evaluation on the policies of “3. Promotion of
Development of Exclusive Economic Zones,”
“7. Promotion of Research and Development of
Ocean Science and Technology” and “8. Promotion
of Ocean Industries and Strengthening International
Competitiveness.” However, non-experts gave us a
high evaluation on those policies that received a low
evaluation from the experts. My honest opinion is
that it was very interesting (and rather surprising)
for me, who was in charge of this process, to see the
difference in their understanding and evaluation of
each policy. For reference, this evaluation process
had a feature where we asked the participants to
choose whether they were “an expert,” “not an
expert but have an interest,” or “not an expert and
have no interest” in each of the twelve policies
stipulated in the second Basic Plan on Ocean Policy
before they completed the evaluation process.
Therefore, we were able to show the differences in
their understanding, as shown below.

ジグソーピース図(英語).jpg
Evaluation of Achievement per Policy
(Source: Modified from “Report on Research
Concerning Ocean Policy in Japan (2016)”)

We also included a free comment section on the
evaluation sheet. There were some harsh opinions
on the second Basic Plan on Ocean Policy. One such
shared opinion was, “All in all, it was impossible to
avoid the impression that these measures were
thrown together quickly from existing ones from
each ministry. Policies based on the Basic Act on
Ocean Policy and the United Nations Convention on
Maritime Law have not yet been fully developed
since the initial planning stages.” Another opinion
stated, “I would encourage as many people as
possible to try to understand the ocean. For this,
it is important to share knowledge of the ocean with
Japanese citizens and gain their understanding.
However, I do not think this has been achieved.
People’s lives have gotten further and further away
from the concept of an ‘Ocean State.’” In addition,
we received comments regarding current issues and
future development that said, “The well-developed
Ocean Basic Plan should be made widely known to
the public. Efforts to evoke interest in the ocean and
opportunities to discuss the ocean should be
encouraged further.” As a researcher concerned with
ocean policy, this really pleased me.

For more details about the evaluation process of the
second Basic Plan on Ocean Policy, please read the
“Report on Research Concerning Ocean Policy in
Japan (2016),” compiled by our institute. We are
hopeful that the report will be utilized in future
research on ocean policy. Our institute wishes to
gather policy suggestions based on opinions from the
participants and utilize the report in contributing to
the establishment of a new Basic Plan on Ocean
Policy. We hope that we will continue to receive
further guidance and encouragement from our
readers in the future.

Yuta Komori
Research Fellow, Ocean Policy Studies Division

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