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

Friday, July 18, 2014

[Provisional Translation]

Japan is a maritime nation surrounded by the sea.  Since ancient times, Japan has reaped abundant marine products and other forms of the ocean’s bounty and, as a nation lacking domestic resources, secured a great many daily commodities including energy resources and food by means of the sea.
Japan has loved the sea since time immemorial, and we have achieved our development protected by the sea.  We must ensure the safety of maritime traffic, defend our maritime interests within our territorial waters, EEZ, and the like, and tackle head-on the matter of handing down to the next generation “open and stable seas” based on the rule of law.  Maintaining the seas of all humankind as a “global commons” accomplished through the rule of law is an interest shared in common by the entire international community.
The resources that derive from these vast seas hold great latent potential that will help carve out a future for Japan. In particular, in recent years, the development of methane hydrate and other domestically produced marine resources has progressed in Japan, against a backdrop in which demand for energy and mineral resources has been expanding worldwide. New roles for the sea have become even more important than ever before.
It was from this standpoint that this year on July 4 the government took a decision on the future policy for extending the continental shelf and, based on the stipulations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, made the decision to extend the continental shelf to which Japan maintains sovereign rights for the exploration and development of natural resources.  Japan will continue to make use of the sea and proactively engage in managing our sea area in order to promote diverse economic activities, including maritime industries.
In addition, as we make use of our sea area, we must actively work to resolve climate change and other global issues, bringing development into harmony with environmental conservation.  Towards that end, it is necessary for us to enhance education and the cultivation of human resources related to the sea and the marine environment and to foster in each Japanese citizen a deep understanding of and interest in the sea and the marine environment.
I sincerely hope that Marine Day will serve as an opportunity for the Japanese people to become fond of and familiar with the sea and appreciate the benefits we receive from the sea, as well as to think deeply about the future of Japan through the medium of the sea.

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

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