Meeting between Mr. Shuji Kira,Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Judge Shunji Yanai, President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

November 9, 2012

On November 8 (CET), Mr. Shuji Kira, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs had a meeting with Judge Shunji Yanai, President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). An overview of the meeting is as follows:

  1. Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kira expressed his pleasure for being the first elected official from the Government of Japan to visit ITLOS. He stated that Japan, as a maritime State valuing the rule of law, highly commended the role played by ITLOS in the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes as well as the maintenance and development of the rule of law in matters relating to the oceans and sea.

  2. President Yanai, in response, expressed his gratitude toward the Government of Japan for its support and contributions to ITLOS, and reported that, by steadily accumulating a body of cases in various fields of the law of the sea in recent years, the role and importance of ITLOS had become increasingly recognized within the international society.

  3. Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister Kira also stated that Japan had been consistently supporting ITLOS through, for example, providing Japanese Judges since the very establishment of the Tribunal, namely, Judge Soji Yamamoto and President Yanai. He renewed Japan’s commitment to continue providing its support to the Tribunal. Mr. Kira expressed his expectations for Tribunal’s continuous efforts towards efficient management of its budget and further advancement under the leadership of President Yanai.


— The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) was established in 1996 in Hamburg, Germany. Judge Shunji Yanai (former Japanese Ambassador to the United States) has been serving as a Judge of ITLOS from 2005. He was elected as President of ITLOS in October 2011.
— Japan has become a party to three cases (Southern Bluefin Tuna Cases, the "Hoshinmaru" case, and the "Tomimaru" case) so far.
— To date, 19 cases have been submitted to ITLOS since 1997. Ten judgments, five provisional measures, and one advisory opinion were delivered.