The Ocean Policy Research Institute is engaging in the following discussions and making policy proposals on the state of ocean policies in Japan.
The Ideal State of Legislative Systems on the Integrated Development, Use and Conservation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf
OPRI intensively followed up on the "Policy Proposals on the Integrated Development, Use and Conservation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf," compiled in FY2010 (and presented in June 2011), revised several parts of the contents of the proposal, and created a working draft for the establishment of a comprehensive law on ocean management for future use by the government.
Policy Proposal on the Integrated Development, Use and Conservation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf
In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the enormous seas surrounding Japan, over 10 times the size of our land, have been put under our jurisdiction. In particular, our Exclusive Economic Zone is one of the world's leading fishing areas, a zone potentially abundant in energy and minerals, and a frontier for the production of renewable energy.
Draft Outline of the Law on the Integrated Development, Use and Conservation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf
This law based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other international agreements, in accordance with the Basic Act on Ocean Policy (Act No. 33, 2007) shall specify basic principles, the formulation of basic policies by the government and other necessary items in order to integrally develop, use, and conserve the Exclusive Economic Zones (Exclusive Economic Zones specified in Article 1-1 of the Act on Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Act No. 74, 1996) and continental shelf specified in Article 2 of the same act. Hereafter the same), and shall promote the sustainable development and use of the ocean while striving for the conservation of the ocean environment in order to contribute to the harmonious coexistence of mankind and the ocean, in addition to endeavoring for the stable improvement of the livelihood of citizens and the wholesome development of Japan's economy and society.
Systemization of Integrated Coastal Management (ICM)
This investigative study involved the examination of the following details in a four-year period from FY2011 to FY2014 on the state of systems for promoting the implementation of comprehensive management of coastal areas in Japan.
1)Understanding and organization of the current state of coastal management systems
2)Understanding and organization of the issues and topics concerning coastal management
3)Examination of ICM conducted with the region at the core
4)Formulation of policy proposals based on the findings from examining the state of ICM with a focus on the region, to promote implementation of ICM in our country.
In OPRI's research conducted in FY2013, continued from FY2012, the Comprehensive Ocean Policy Research Committee conducted an investigative study from a comprehensive perspective, incorporating scientific findings, technology and the current state of the economy and society regarding the ocean and coastal areas. Moreover, the "Working Group to Establish Legislative Systems for Ocean Management" and the "Working Group to Systemize Comprehensive Management of Coastal Areas" were newly set up under the Committee and have been carrying out more detailed investigations on related issues.
Governance of the High Seas
The Study Group on Governance of the High Seas was a private research group of experts from government, industry, and academia, jointly organized by the Meiji Institute for Global Affairs and OPRI (co-chaired by former Japanese Foreign Minister Junko Kawaguchi and then OPRI President Hiroshi Terashima).
The foundation of the study group was prompted by the establishment in spring 2013 of the Global Ocean Commission, in which experts from around the world came together to address the problems that the world is currently facing relating to the high seas, and its attendance by Ms. Junko Kawaguchi--who (at the time) was a member of the House of Councilors --as the representative from Japan. From the time of the first workshop on May 28, 2013, ocean experts in various fields participated in nine workshops, out of which drafts for policy recommendations emerged. The co-chairs compiled the drafts into a policy recommendation entitled Our High Seas for a Prosperous World: Its Governance for Improved Conservation and Utilization, outlined below.
Following cabinet approval of the New Basic Plan on Ocean Policy in April 2013, the Study Group on Strategy for the Basic Act on Ocean Policy engages in activities aimed at ensuring reliable implementation of the measures adopted.
Although new measures relating to the oceans are gradually gaining impetus in Japan, fresh thinking is needed to introduce deeper, more fundamental initiatives that will bring hitherto vertically segmented activities together so that we can peacefully and proactively develop and harness the oceans in the spirit of international cooperation while also striking a balance with protection of the marine environment.
OPRI strives to establish and promote ocean policy studies, since this constitutes an area of knowledge that is vital to cross-cutting solutions to policy challenges relating to the oceans. OPRI tracks the latest developments in ocean policies in Japan and other countries, together with the latest trends in ocean policy research, and collects relevant data. In addition, it also carries out awareness raising activities in order to contribute to the development and promotion of comprehensive and interdisciplinary ocean policy studies in Japan.
As part of these efforts, OPRI co-hosts seminars relating to ocean policy with the Japan Society of Ocean Policy and provides other kinds of support to the Society's activities.