Statement by Mr. Jun Hasebe, Counsellor and Legal Adviser, on Agenda Item (77) : Oceans and the Law of the Sea at the Seventy-Second Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

Mr. President,
 
          Let me first join others in thanking the coordinators of the three draft resolutions under Agenda Item 77: Oceans and the Law of the Sea for their tremendous work. Japan also wishes to thank all Member States, who have worked together in the spirit of cooperation during the informal consultations on these resolutions. Our appreciation also goes to the Secretariat for its assistance.
 
          “Open and Stable Seas” are essential for the peace and prosperity of the entire international community. Japan takes every opportunity to emphasize that the rule of law at sea needs to be respected throughout.
 
(International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea [ITLOS])
          Japan highly appreciates the important role played by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in the peaceful settlement of disputes, as well as the maintenance and development of the rule of law in the oceans. As the largest contributor to the Tribunal’s budget, Japan will continue to support its activities including by providing highly qualified legal professionals.
 
(International Seabed Authority (ISA))
          Japan also appreciates the role of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in establishing maritime legal order concerning this area. A balanced approach to the exploitation of the deep seabed, which takes environmental conservation into account, is needed. Japan will continue to engage constructively toward the adoption of a rational Exploitation Code, which strikes a reasonable balance between economic and environmental needs. Japan will also continue to be actively engaged in the work of the ISA, whose importance is ever increasing, through both human and financial resources.
 
(Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf [CLCS])
          Bearing in mind the important role of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), Japan has consistently supported its activities. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Commission, the Government of Japan, together with United Nations University, will hold an international symposium in Tokyo on 14 December this year, aiming at raising greater awareness of the achievements of the Commission. Japan will continue to support the Commission including by providing highly qualified professionals as well as through financial contributions.
 
(Maritime Safety and Security)
Mr. President,
 
          As a country that benefits from maritime trade, Japan believes it is crucial to respond to piracy and armed robbery against ships. We contribute actively to international efforts against piracy and armed robbery of ships.
 
          Since 2009, Japan has been consistently conducting anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. We have also contributed human and financial resources to the activities of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), and held a Capacity Building Executive Programme on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia for the first time in October this year.
 
          Combining various forms of assistance, Japan will continue and strengthen its seamless support for spreading the rule of law at sea.
 
(Marine Biological Diversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ))
Mr. President,
 
          Japan, as one of the co-sponsors, welcomes the draft resolution to convene an intergovernmental conference to develop an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).
 
          Japan recognizes the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ.  We look forward to contributing to the discussions in the forthcoming intergovernmental conference to develop a well-balanced, effective and universal legally binding instrument.
 
(UN Conference to support the Implementation of SDG 14)
          We are pleased to see the successful outcome of the United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, which reflects the growing interest of the international community in the ocean. Japan places importance on such issues as marine debris, ocean acidification, sustainable fisheries and assistance to Small Island Developing States.
 
          In this regard, Japan has been strongly promoting “the 3Rs”: namely, “Reduce”, “Reuse”, and “Recycle”, utilizing environmentally sound technologies to improve waste management. We assist in particular developing countries in Asia and the Pacific in their efforts to implement the 3Rs. Upon Japan’s proposal, the concept of the 3Rs was included into the “Call for Action,” the outcome document of the Conference.
 
          Under these policies, Japan will continue to cooperate with the international community toward the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans for sustainable development.
 
(Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated [IUU] Fishing)
          Japan attaches importance to measures against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, which threatens the sustainable use of living marine resources. In this regard, Japan concluded the Port State Measures agreement this May. We encourage countries which have not yet done so to conclude the agreement soon. Japan is determined to reinforce efforts to eradicate IUU Fishing in cooperation with other countries, including through Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMO).
 
          In closing, Mr. President, Japan reiterates its wish that the three draft resolutions before us, which are the results of intensive work among the Member States done in the spirit of cooperation, will be duly adopted by the General Assembly.
 
Thank you, Mr. President.