H.E. Mr. Yoshiyuki Motomura
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan
On Item 52(a), "Oceans and the Law of the Sea", and Item 52(b), "Sustainable Fisheries"
24 November 2003
At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to the coordinators of the draft resolutions before us today, namely, Ms. Elana Geddis, delegate of New Zealand, and Mr. Colin McIff, delegate of the United States. My thanks go as well to the countries that contributed to the consultations in a spirit of cooperation, and to the all staff of DOALOS, who have provided invaluable support. Thanks to their able leadership and unfailing cooperation, we had very fruitful discussions during informal consultation, which resulted in the two draft resolutions. Japanese Government is pleased to co-sponsor the draft resolution A/58/L.19. Regarding the draft resolution A/58/L.18, we hope that it will be adopted by consensus.
Let me begin by mentioning the regime which the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has provided. The number of States Parties of the Convention will be 145 and the Agreement on the implementation of Part XI is having 117 States Parties. We are pleased that the Convention now provides an almost universal legal framework for ocean affairs. At this time, however, the international community is facing a range of new problems, including transnational crimes, such as terrorism and illegal trafficking in drugs, and the growing pressure on the marine environment. Japan considers that each of these issues must be addressed in a manner that respects the spirit and provisions of the Convention while maintaining, in principle, its framework.
My government is committed to continuing its support of the organs established under the Convention, namely, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). We have actively participated in the work of these organs, and is determined to further its contribution to their activities.
(Maritime safety and security)
The world has been plagued by the threat of piracy and armed robbery at sea. While such incidents are occurring in all parts of the world, the majority have been perpetrated in the Asian region. Due to our concern over the increasing frequency of these crimes in the Asian region, Japan has been actively participating in the formulation of the regional agreement for cooperating in the prevention and combating of piracy and armed robbery on Asian seas. We believe that the importance of this kind of regional agreement is reflected in operative paragraph 37 of the draft resolution A/58/L.19.
With a view to suppressing and preventing these crimes, Japanese Government has been cooperating with Southeast Asian countries, in particular, to take various measures including consultation among experts, dispatching of patrol vessels and aircraft of the Japan Coast Guard and combined exercises with those countries, holding of a Maritime Law Enforcement Seminar, and accepting exchange students at the Japan Coast Guard Academy. My government remains committed to the goal of bringing safety to the Asian seas.
Allow me next to touch upon the marine environment. The debate concerning the global environment has progressed significantly, especially since the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg in 2002 focused world attention on issues affecting the global environment.
To follow up the results of the WSSD, Japanese Government has been making every effort to contribute significantly to enhancement of the ocean policies of coastal States at the national level, strengthening of regional cooperation through the UNEP Regional Sea Action Plans, and putting emphasis on the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities. Especially as regards the Regional Sea Action Plans, we are making progress in strengthening the functioning of the Secretariat of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan.
We highly appreciate the initiative taken by interested countries that have contributed to the establishment of the process of the Global Marine Environment Assessment (GMA), which has been based on the previous resolution (A/RES/57/141) and the Secretary-Generalfs report of this year, and is now reflected in the draft resolution A/58/L.19. My government also intends to participate actively in that process.
We are seriously concerned about illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries activities and the over-capacity issues in global fisheries in spite of the efforts toward sustainable use of living marine resources. As a responsible fishing State, Japan has shown a commitment to eliminating IUU fisheries in order to conserve the marine ecosystem. We therefore welcome enthusiastically the entry into force in April 2003 of the 1993 Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (gthe Compliance Agreementh) as a sign of significant progress. We hope that more countries will become States Parties of the Compliance Agreement and that a global record of fishing vessels will be established by FAO, thus making progress in over-capacity issues as well.
In that regard, we would like to stress that, in discussing the problem of conservation and management as well as sustainable use of living marine resources, we should make certain that the discussion is based on scientific evidence provided by competent organizations such as FAO and the regional fisheries management organizations, rather than relying on the United Nations, as those organizations have the required specialized knowledge and techniques to accurately assess the situation.
(United Nations Informal Consultative Process)
Lastly, Mr. President, I would like to express our appreciation to the Secretary-General and the Secretariat, and especially DOALOS, for all the work that went into the annual Report of the Secretary-General, which describes the entire range of activities that have been conducted on ocean affairs and the law of the sea. I would also like to observe that the open-ended informal consultative process which was inaugurated in May 2000 has been an important forum for promoting discussion of these matters.
In concluding, I wish to reiterate that my government will continue to contribute to the stability of the legal framework of ocean affairs and thereby to the promotion of the prudent and equitable use of the sea by the international community, in accordance with the Convention.
Thank you, Mr. President.