The Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF) and the Global Infrastructure Fund Research Foundation Japan (GIF Japan) hosted an International Online Conference "Transport Corridors on the East Coast of Africa in the context of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision" on November 18th, 2021.
The symposium focused on the African East Coast, a major logistics corridor on the continent, and discussed the approaches that Japan and the world should take for the sustainable development and growth of transport corridors in East Africa and ways to ensure the stable functioning of sea lanes in the context of the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) Vision" proposed by Japan.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Hide Sakaguchi, President of OPRI-SPF, introduced the significance of focusing on the African East Coast, which is the terminus of the sea lanes in the Indo-Pacific region and the lifeline for inland African countries. He also expressed his hope that the discussions at this symposium would lead to further development of the studies being conducted by OPRI-SPF and GIF Japan.
This was followed by two keynote speeches: "The Free and Open Indo-Pacific and East Africa’s transport corridors" by Dr. Brendon Cannon, Assistant Professor, Khalifa University (UAE) and "From the seas to the logistic corridors on East Africa “by RADM (JMSDF, Retired) Kazumine Akimoto, Senior Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF. In the first keynote speech, Dr. Cannon showed that FOIP is being developed in a different context from the "One Belt, One Road" initiative advocated by China.
And RADM Akimoto suggested that climate change may lead to the formation of new sea lanes (blue infinity loop) between the Eurasian and American continents, a development that would significantly change the existing maritime order.
Keynote speech (Left: Dr. Cannon, Right: RADM Akimoto)
The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Mikiyasu Nakayama, Managing Director of GIF Japan, and featured commentators, Dr. Carl Bruch, Senior Attorney, Environmental Law Institute (USA), speaking from the perspective of the US government, CAPT (JMSDF Retired) Teruaki Aizawa, Associate Professor, National Defense Academy of Japan, speaking from the perspective of the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" vision, and Mr. Masanori Kobayashi and Dr. Atsushi Watanabe, Senior Research Fellows, OPRI-SPF, speaking from the perspective of the blue economy. After the comments, the panel discussion then proceeded to address comments and questions from the commentators and audience. Finally, this symposium concluded with a summary by Dr. Nakayama.