Draft Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan
on Agenda Items 76(a) “Ocean and the Law of the Sea” , and
76(b) “Sustainable Fisheries”
December 6, 2011
UN General Assembly, New York
Let me first join other delegates in thanking the facilitators of the two draft resolutions, Ambassador Henrique Valle of Brazil and Ms. Koehler of the United States for their tremendous work. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Ms. Koehler, for her contributions over many years as a facilitator.
I also wish to thank all Member States who have worked together during informal consultations to produce these draft resolutions in a spirit of cooperation. My appreciation also goes to the Secretariat for its assistance.
1.Ocean and the Law of the Sea
Japan is a maritime state surrounded by sea on all sides, dependent for nearly all imports of energy resources, including oil and minerals, on maritime transport. Adoption of draft resolution A/66/L.21 on the Ocean and the Law of the Sea is extremely important for maritime states like Japan and for the international community as a whole. It contains crucial issues for maintenance of peace and security in the world, such as peaceful settlement of disputes, freedom of navigation, safety at sea and compliance with international laws including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Japan is pleased to be a co-sponsor.
(1)Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nautical miles
With regard to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) beyond 200 nautical miles, Japan has been actively taking part in the discussions and making contributions through consultations in the Meeting of the State Parties to the UNCLOS, as well as informal consultations of this draft resolution.
As we pledged at the 21st Meeting of State Parties to the UNCLOS held last June, Japan contributed approximately 211,000 USD to the Trust Fund for the purpose of defraying the costs of participation for CLCS members from the developing States in the meetings of the Commission.
One of the very urgent collective tasks ahead of us is to provide an effective solution to the issue related to the workload of the CLCS due to a large number of submissions made by coastal States. In this regard, Japan welcomes that measures to improve the issue of the CLCS workload are clearly presented in this draft resolution, and strongly hopes that these measures, including personnel reinforcement of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat will be implemented without delay.
Japan is convinced that steadfast implementation of these measures will ensure smooth and expeditious consideration by the Commission of the submissions on the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.
(2)International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
As regards 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 Law at sea. Japan welcomes that proceedings have been continually instituted before the Tribunal in recent years and that ITLOS issued its first advisory opinion last February, in response to the request of the International Seabed Authority. Japan is committed to continue extending its full support to the valuable work of ITLOS under the leadership of President Yanai.
(3) International Seabed Authority
With regard to the International Seabed Authority (ISA), Japan welcomes its steady efforts to finalize the draft of the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Cobalt-Rich Ferromanganese Crusts in the Area, following the adoption of the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Polymetallic Nodules in the Area in 2000 and the adoption of the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Polymetallic Sulphides in the Area in 2010.
In view of the importance to ensure a well-balanced approach between exploration and environmental protection in the Area, Japan highly values workshops on these issues organized by the Authority.
Japan’s contributions to ISA’s activities have included Japanese contractors and related organizations exploring polymetallic nodules. In addition, Japan has contributed 100,000 USD to the Endowment Fund for Marine Scientific Research in the Area in order to support research by marine scientists for 2011. Through these kinds of contributions Japan actively keeps supporting the Authority.
(4) Maritime safety and security
Piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, which has been expanding to the eastern African coast and the Indian Ocean continues to pose a serious threat to maritime security.
In order to combat piracy, we must adopt a multi-layered approach. This approach should entail assistance for capacity building in maritime enforcement and other medium to long term efforts, in addition to counter-piracy operations by naval vessels.
Japan is engaged in various ways including escort and surveillance activities by Japanese vessels and patrol aircraft, which are deployed in the region on a permanent basis. In addition, Japan has so far disbursed 14.6 million USD and 1.5 million USD to the IMO Djibouti Code Trust Fund (a multi-donor Japan initiated trust fund) and to the Trust Fund to Support Initiative of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia respectively.
Japan also continues to play a leading role in efforts based on the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).
As a responsible fishing State and a State Party to UNCLOS and UN Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA), Japan is dedicated to the promotion of sustainable use through the conservation and management of living marine resources and appropriate conservation of the ecosystem, in cooperation with concerned parties, through bilateral fishery agreements, FAO and RFMOs.
Japan welcomes recent developments in the management of high seas bottom fishing, including the conclusion of arrangements that have established 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 by mobilizing support for the earliest entry into force of these arrangements in cooperation with other parties and related organizations.
On the other hand, it must be noted that there are areas where such sustainable management and conservation measures are not yet sufficient. Therefore, we need to move proactively, to establish RFMOs for these oceanic regions.
Before concluding, my delegation would like to make the following comment with respect to the Statement made by the distinguished Ambassador of Monaco. In a nutshell, the rightful place for the discussion of these issues is readily available at appropriate international organizations such as International Whaling Commission in accordance with the UNCLOS.
In conclusion, Mr. President, Japan sincerely hopes that the draft resolutions before us will be duly adopted at this session of the General Assembly.
Thank you, Mr. President