Statement by Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea's Order on the Request for Provisional Measures concerning Japan's Experimental Fishing Program on Southern Bluefin Tuna

August 27, 1999

  1. On August 27, in response to Australia's and New Zealand's request for provisional measures which sought among other things the suspension of Japan's Experimental Fishing Program (EFP), the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) issued an Order. The Order did not deny the necessity of the EFP nor order the cessation of the EFP, but ordered that EFP conducted without a consensus among the three countries must be done within national allocations. It is regrettable that Japan's views were not fully understood. Japan intends to take necessary measures without delay.

  2. On the other hand, Japan had requested in this proceeding, among other things, that Australia and New Zealand recommence negotiations that the two countries had unilaterally terminated. This Order also instructs the three countries to resume negotiations without delay and we believe that Japan's arguments were accepted. Japan would like to resume negotiations without delay with Australia and New Zealand so that the EFP can be conducted jointly and hopes that the two countries will respond to this positively.

  3. I would like to add that during the oral proceedings concerning the request for provisional measures at ITLOS in Hamburg from August 18 to 20, some of the major arguments that Japan had strongly made were the following. Japan is a responsible fishing country that has made every effort for the conservation of the fishery resources including southern bluefin tuna. EFP is essential for the collection of scientific data necessary for the objective evaluation of the state of the stock and independent scientists from third countries support the EFP.

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