"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

[Title] Message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the Occasion of Marine Day 2017

[Date] July 17, 2017
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

For Japan, a nation surrounded by the sea, the sea has been essential from ancient times as a place for transporting goods and obtaining food in abundance. Japan enjoys the sixth largest maritime jurisdiction in the world and it extends far in the distance out to the horizon.

The plentiful resources provided by this vast sea hold great potential. In recent years, there have been mounting expectations towards the development of ocean energy and mineral resources in the waters of Japan that will lead to the creation of new marine industries, including development efforts towards the commercialization of methane hydrate and other resources.

At the same time, the situation surrounding the sea is becoming increasingly severe, including incidents of intrusion by foreign government-owned and other vessels into the territorial sea surrounding Japan. Based on a shift in thinking from "a country protected by the sea" to "a country that protects the sea," we must press forward with efforts as we ensure the safety of the sea and maintain our maritime interests in order to hand down to future generations an open and stable sea based on the rule of law while keeping an eye firmly on changes occurring with the passage of time and in the surrounding environment.

This April, as Japan marked the tenth anniversary of the enactment of the Basic Act on Ocean Policy, we began consideration of the next Basic Plan on Ocean Policy. The next Basic Plan, which is scheduled for release in the spring of 2018, will draw up a comprehensive plan that broadly takes into account maritime security in addition to the industrial use of the sea and is appropriately grounded in a variety of circumstances surrounding the sea, including a strengthening of our efforts to address such issues as guarding territorial waters, ensuring public order, responding to disasters, and preserving remote islands, while strategically promoting as a nation a wide-ranging marine policy.

In order to realize open and stable seas, it is important to engage in cooperation with coast guard agencies around the world that deal with issues as first responders and frontline actors while also undertaking diplomatic efforts. In particular, to address changes to the environment at the global level, there is a need to share values and assemble capabilities in a manner that goes beyond regional frameworks. For this reason, this September, Japan Coast Guard and the Nippon Foundation will jointly hold the world's first-ever meeting of maritime coast guards from around the globe at the head level.

Looking firmly ahead to the future, we will preserve the marine environment and work to tackle global issues such as climate change while also cultivating leaders in international activities related to the seas. I hope all Japanese people, particularly young people, have an interest in and understanding of the sea, and interact and know the sea. In order to provide such opportunities, we will further promote education regarding the sea through cooperation with local governments and others throughout Japan.

I sincerely hope that Marine Day will serve as an opportunity for the Japanese people to become familiar with the sea and appreciate the benefits we receive from the sea, as well as to think deeply about the sea and the future of Japan.

Shinzo Abe

Prime Minister

Director-General of the Headquarters for Ocean Policy