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Message from Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on the occasion of "Marine Day" on July 16

Friday, July 13, 2012

[Provisional Translation]

As a country surrounded on all sides by ocean, the ocean has been indispensable to Japan as a means to transport goods and as a source of food from ancient times, and we have benefited from the many blessings the ocean provides.

We are a maritime nation. Japan has as many as 6,847 remote islands, and our territorial waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) are approximately 12 times the size of Japan's land area. Adding to that the extended continental shelf on which the United Nations (UN) made recommendations in April of this year, the oceans under our jurisdiction extend over a vast area of approximately 13 times the size of Japan's land area.

The waters have an abundance of marine resources. As a new energy frontier, expectations for ocean energy and mineral resources are increasing. In this context, the ocean is the basis of Japan's existence as a maritime nation and is taking an ever more essential role given its wealth of resources.

In May of this year, the Government decided the Policy on Initiatives to Promote the Use of Maritime Renewable Energy. This policy will serve as a platform from which to make maximum use of the significant amount of ocean energy that can be utilized from the surrounding waters of Japan and to forge a new energy society.

Meanwhile, Japan faces a plethora of challenges in regard to the ocean, including securing maritime interests, protecting remote islands, and ensuring maritime safety. Japan must make concerted efforts to tackle these challenges and turn them into dynamics for the Rebirth of Japan.

For Japan, a maritime nation, to become a country of hope and pride, it is critical to promote the opening of the ocean as a new frontier and leverage the ocean strategically. For this, it is important that each and every Japanese citizen has a deep understanding and interest in the ocean.

I sincerely hope that "Marine Day" will give the people of Japan an opportunity to express appreciation for the great benefits the ocean provides us and aim for the further prosperity of Japan as a maritime nation.

July 13, 2012
Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister
Director-General of the Headquarters for Ocean Policy

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