Statement by H.E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
on Agenda Items 75(a) “Oceans and the Law of the Sea”
and 75(b) “Sustainable Fisheries”
December 11, 2012
United Nations General Assembly, New York
Let me first join other delegates in thanking the coordinators of the two draft resolutions, Ambassador Eden Charles, Deputy Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago, and Ms. Alice Revell, Legal Advisor of the Permanent Mission of New Zealand, for their tremendous work.
I also wish to thank all Member States who have worked together in a spirit of cooperation during informal consultations on the said draft resolutions. My appreciation also goes to the UN Secretariat for its assistance.
With regards to agenda item 75(a), “Oceans and the Law of the Sea,” Japan would like to point out that it is a maritime state surrounded by water and dependent on nearly all imports of energy resources, including oil and minerals, which are delivered by maritime transport. Adoption of this draft resolution, which contains crucial issues for the maintenance of peace and security in the world, such as the peaceful settlement of disputes, freedom of navigation, safety at sea and compliance with international laws including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), is extremely important for maritime states like Japan and for the international community as a whole. In this regard, Japan is pleased to co-sponsor the draft resolution A/67/L.21 on the Oceans and the Law of the Sea. Japan would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the accession to UNCLOS by Ecuador and Swaziland.
(1) International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
With regard to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea （ITLOS）, Japan highly appreciates the important role played by the Tribunal in terms of the peaceful settlement of disputes as well as the maintenance and development of the rule of the law at sea. Japan welcomes that cases have been continually submitted to the Tribunal since its establishment. Japan also welcomes the Tribunal’s first maritime delimitation judgment, which was delivered in March of this year, following its first advisory opinion by the Seabed Dispute Chamber of the Tribunal issued in February of 2011, based on the request by the Council of the International Seabed Authority. Japan is pleased to witness that the Tribunal’s work covers various fields. Japan is committed to continuing its contribution to the valuable work of ITLOS under the leadership of President Yanai, by providing its full support.
(2) International Seabed Authority
With regard to the International Seabed Authority (ISA), Japan welcomes the adoption of the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Cobalt-Rich Ferromanganese Crusts in the Area in July of this year, following the adoption of the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Polymetallic Nodules in the Area in 2000 and those for Polymetallic Sulphides in the Area in 2010.
In view of the importance of ensuring a well-balanced approach between exploration and environmental protection in the Area, Japan highly values workshops on these issues organized by the Authority.
Japan has been supporting activities undertaken by the Authority in various ways including by the Japanese contractor for the exploration of polymetallic nodules and relevant organizations. I would like to express Japan’s intention to continue its support to the Authority.
(3) Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf
With regards to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), I wish to pay tribute to the Commission’s consistent work on 61 submissions in total which led to the adoption of 18 recommendations including that for Japan.
In light of the considerable number of submissions, Japan appreciates that several measures including the extension of the duration of the Commission’s sessions for the increase for the year of 2013, based upon the decisions taken through last year’s resolution under this agenda item, will solve the Commission’s workload issue.
Having pledged at the 22nd Meeting of State Parties to UNCLOS held in June of this year, Japan at the end of November, made an additional disbursement of approximately $352,000 USD to the Trust Fund for the purpose of defraying the costs of participation of the members of the CLCS from the developing States in the meetings of the Commission.
Japan firmly believes that through voluntary contributions to the Trust Funds by State Parties as well as the steady implementation of the measures decided last year to solve the issue of the heavy workload of the Commission, the smooth and expeditious consideration of the submission by the Commission, where members were newly elected this June, would be possible.
(4) Maritime Safety and Security
Regarding the maritime safety and security issue, piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, which is now expanding to the areas of the eastern African coast and the Indian Ocean, continues to pose a serious threat to maritime security.
Japan is of the view that a multi-layered approach, which includes assistance to maritime enforcement capacity building in Somalia and its neighboring countries, and other medium to long-term efforts for stability in Somalia, in addition to operation by naval vessels, must be pursued to suppress piracy.
Japan currently has deployed escort ships and patrol aircraft to the region, and works together with other countries to deal with piracy. In addition, Japan has so far disbursed $14.6 million USD and $3.5 million USD respectively to the IMO Djibouti Code Trust Fund (a multi-donor trust fund that Japan initiated), and to the Trust Fund to Support Initiative of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
Japan also continues to play a leading role within the framework of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).
With regard to the agenda item 75(b) “Sustainable fisheries,” Japan would like to state that as a responsible fishing State and a State Party to UNCLOS and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA), Japan is dedicated to addressing the promotion of sustainable use through the conservation and management of marine living resources and the appropriate conservation of the marine ecosystem, in cooperation with the parties concerned, through bilateral fisheries agreements, FAO and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs).
Japan welcomes recent developments in the management of high seas bottom fishing, including the conclusion of arrangements concerning the establishment of new RFMOs, which reflect past resolutions on Sustainable Fisheries, especially the ones adopted in 2006 and 2009. Japan will further promote the management of high seas bottom fishing through efforts for the earliest entry into force of these arrangements in cooperation with other parties and related organizations.
Before concluding, Mr. President, Japan iterates its wish that the two draft resolutions before us, which are the results of intensive negotiations among Member States with a spirit of cooperation during the informal consultations, will be duly adopted at this session of the General Assembly.
Thank you, Mr. President.