The OPRI Center for Island Studies, SPF is operated by the Ocean Policy Research Institute, SPF with the tasks of collecting and organizing historical materials and relevant literature on various issues related to Japan’s islands. In particular, we concentrate on scholarly analysis of these issues from the perspectives of historical developments and international law.
Surrounded by the sea, Japan comprises 6,852 islands in all. For this island nation to exist peacefully into the future and to forge mutually prosperous, beneficial relations with its neighbors, its people need to have accurate, reliable knowledge about these islands—and what is more, to be able to share that knowledge with people from other nations. This knowledge goes beyond superficial facts like climate, history, and geographical features to encompass societal aspects, such as the role of industry in the islands’ pasts. We must develop a multifaceted understanding of the characteristics of the islands that make up the whole of Japan.
Recent years have seen the rise of confrontations between Japan and its neighbors regarding the territorial status of some Japanese islands. The nations involved are disseminating a wide range of information to the global community based on their claims, and historical factors are contributing to an increasingly murky international view of the situations being discussed. This has at times even threatened to undermine the relations among the nations of East Asia. If the region’s nations are to enjoy stable development into the future, they will need to reach a shared understanding of the facts on these island issues—one that is shared not just among Japan and its neighbors but by the international community as a whole. Careful examinations of the historical record and questions of international law will be particularly central to achieving this shared understanding.
By sharing the results of its island-related research and other activities with a global readership, the OPRI Center for Island Studies hopes to contribute to deeper, broader understanding of the complex issues involved. We thank you for visiting our website.