"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo


[Place] Nagoya
[Date] October 28, 2010
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The forest around Atsuta Shrine straddling the river used to face the seashore where small boats would depart and arrive until 150 years ago. The people living in this area have been protected by this forest and have enjoyed rich lives surrounded by the smell of the ocean. I myself was also born here in Nagoya, Aichi, where I grew up feeling great affection for nature. Therefore, I am greatly honored to say a few words before you, who have come to Nagoya from all over the world to attend COP10 on the theme of living in harmony with nature.

This COP10 is a historic occasion which combines the results of the continuous efforts of all stakeholders since the Convention on Biological Diversity came into effect. The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol has already been adopted in MOP5 in order to complement the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The negotiations on Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) of genetic resources and the new strategic plan are now reaching the final stage. In the process leading to COP10, Japan has been making intellectual and financial contributions towards progress in the negotiations, but we now have little time left. Japan will spare no effort to help bring about the successful conclusion of the negotiations.

In addition, Japan will take action geared to the future. Yesterday, Prime Minister Kan announced Japan's assistance plan named the 'Life in Harmony Initiative,' which will provide assistance of 2 billion US dollars over three years from 2010 to support the efforts of developing countries aiming to achieve the post-2010 target. Now I would like to explain the two concrete measures under this initiative.

The first is a new project to bring to fruition the effect of the protocol on genetic resources. Borrowing from the well-known fairy tale 'The Sleeping Beauty', I have named this project the 'Sleeping Microbial Beauties Project.' Many kinds of potentially valuable genetic resources including yet-to-be-utilized microbes are lying dormant in tropical forests. Under this project, these sleeping resources will be awakened by the prompting of developing countries making use of modern science and technology and will be used for the wellbeing of the whole of humankind. This project goes beyond joint studies with developing countries. It particularly aims to enhance research and development capacity to utilize microbes as well as promoting human resource development and technical transfer in developing countries.

The second project under the 'Life in Harmony Initiative' comprises support for a new joint initiative by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat. This is a project whereby the ITTO and the CBD Secretariat jointly support forest conservation activities, particularly focusing on the valuable habitats of organisms. At the outset, Japan is providing grant aid of approximately 2 million US dollars for improvement of the forest management plan, taking account of tiger habitats and the need for income generation for local residents in a forest conservation area between Cambodia and Thailand. Japan will consider extending further concrete assistance to this joint project.

In terms of Access and Benefit-Sharing of genetic resources, the framework for plant genetic resources is already established under the FAO. Japan wishes to take a new step forward in this area as part of its environmental diplomacy. Accordingly, Japan will make use of the opportunity presented by this COP10 to start internal deliberations on what measures can be taken towards the conclusion of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

I believe that whether we can achieve significant results here in Nagoya will be a litmus test for future agreement in the field of the global environment. I trust that all participating representatives here will continue to do their utmost in this regard until the last minute.

Thank you for your attention.