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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the Occasion of "Marine Day"

Friday, July 12, 2013

[Provisional Translation]

For Japan as a nation surrounded by the sea, since ancient times the sea has been indispensable as a means for transporting goods and as a source of food, and we have benefited from the many blessings the sea provides. Japan is a maritime nation with as many as 6,847 remote islands. Moreover, our territorial waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) give us a vast maritime jurisdiction that is approximately 12 times the size of our land area.

In recent years, expectations have been rising dramatically towards the development of marine resources in our waters, including hopeful anticipation now that we have successfully completed the world's first marine methane hydrate production test. Against this backdrop, the new Basic Plan on Ocean Policy that will enter into effect this fiscal year will advance various efforts to foster the creation of resources through the development and use of the sea, an area which will be key for the growth of Japan.

At the same time, the security environment has become increasingly severe, including through provocations surrounding our territorial waters. The peace and prosperity of Japan as a maritime nation have their origins in free, open, and peaceful seas. Based on a shift in thinking from "a country protected by the sea" to "a country that protects the sea," Japan is determined to maintain stable sea lanes and defend our maritime interests within our territorial waters and EEZ while also upholding the order of free and open seas on the basis of the rule of law, opposing changes to the status quo predicated by force.

Moreover, in order to bring about a Japan as a maritime nation that has both hope and pride, it will be important to protect the marine environment, which is an unexplored frontier, and to actively engage in efforts to resolve climate change and other global issues. In light of this, it will be important for us to promote education regarding the sea and to foster in each Japanese citizen a deep understanding of and interest in the sea.

I sincerely hope that Marine Day will serve as an opportunity for the Japanese people to appreciate the benefits we receive from the sea and to desire further prosperity for Japan as a maritime nation.

Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister
Director-General of the Headquarters for Ocean Policy


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