Japan's Security / Peace & Stability of the International Community

International Symposium on the Law of the Sea

The Rule of Law in the Seas of Asia: Navigational Chart for Peace and Stability

March 31, 2015


(1) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan hosted an international symposium on the law of the sea, “The Rule of Law in the Seas of Asia: Navigational Chart for Peace and Stability” at Mita Kaigisho Auditorium in Tokyo, from February 12 to 13, 2015. 

(2) With increasing cases indicating tensions between and among States in the Seas of Asia in recent years, the international community is paying close attention to the region. Against this background, Prime Minister Abe proposed the three principles of the rule of law at sea at the 13th IISS Asian Security Summit (The Shangri-La Dialogue) held in May 2014; (a) States should make and clarify their claims based on international law, (b) States should not use force or coercion in trying to drive their claims, and (c) States should seek to settle disputes by peaceful means. In line with the principles, this symposium was aimed to foster common understanding in Asia on the rule of law at sea with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at its core.

(3) In the Opening Session of the symposium, Mr. Fumio KISHIDA, Minister for Foreign Affairs, delivered the opening remarks, stressing the necessity for the peace and stability in Asia to make the rule of law at sea a common ''navigational chart'' for States. The remarks were followed by the keynote speech by Judge Shunji YANAI of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS),In his speech , Judge Yanai reviewed the role played by UNCLOS to date in the establishment of the rule of law at sea,and the role to be played by States in order for UNCLOS to further develop in the future.He also showed his  observation on the changing attitude of Asian States toward third party dispute settlement procedures.
(4) The speeches were followed by a one-and-half-day panel discussion. Authoritative experts of the law of the sea, both scholars and practitioners, were invited from home and abroad (Italy, UK, China, France, and Vietnam) as panelists. Approximately 290 participants consisting of Diplomatic Missions, officials of the government of Japan, academics, and students had active discussions with the panelists.

(5) On the evening of 12 February, Mr. Minoru KIUCHI, State Minister for Foreign Affairs hosted a reception at the Mita Kaigisho Reception Hall, inviting the participants to the symposium to have lively exchanges of views in an intimate atmosphere.  


Keynote Speech & Panel Discussion

Segment 1:  Coastal States' Rights and Entitlements at Sea based upon UNCLOS

Coordinator:  Mariko KAWANO, Professor, Faculty of Law, Waseda University 

Tullio TREVES  Professor, Faculty of Law, State University of Milan Former Judge of ITLOS
“Legal Nature of Coastal States’ Rights in the Maritime Areas under UNCLOS” (Slides (PDF) )
Shigeki SAKAMOTO  Professor, Faculty of Law, Doshisha University
"Historic Waters and Rights Revisited: UNCLOS and beyond?" (Slides (PDF) )

Kentaro NISHIMOTO  Associate Professor, School of Law, Tohoku University
"Issues Arising from Extended Continental Shelf Claims in Maritime Areas less than 400 Miles in Width" (Slides (PDF) )

Segment 2:  Development of Legal Regimes Governing the Period pending Final Agreement of Delimitation 

Coordinator:  Shigeki SAKAMOTO, Professor, Faculty of Law, Doshisha University

Naoya OKUWAKI  Professor, School of Law, Meiji University
"Obligation of Self-Restraint and Cooperation of Coastal States in Maritime Areas pending Delimitation" (Slides (PDF) )
Robert G. VOLTERRA  Visiting Professor, Faculty of Law, University College of London Partner of Volterra Fietta (Law Firm)
"The Infringement of Obligations of Self-Restraint and Cooperation under Article 74-3 and 83-3 and Possible Strategies to Bring Disputes Emanating from Such Infringement before Relevant Courts and Tribunals" (Slides (PDF) )
NGUYEN Thi Lan-Anh  Deputy Director-General, Institute for South China Sea Studies Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam 
"Interim Arrangement pending Maritime Delimitation: Some Successful Practices" (Slides (PDF) )

Segment 3:  UNCLOS and Settlement of Disputes at Sea  

Coordinator:  Naoya OKUWAKI, Professor, School of Law, Meiji University 

Mariko KAWANO  Professor, Faculty of Law, Waseda University 
"Compulsory Dispute Settlement Procedures under UNCLOS: Their Achievements and New Agendas" (Slides (PDF) )

ZHANG Xinjun  Associate Professor, School of Law, Tsinghua University 
"The Hen, the Egg and the Chicken: Jurisdictional Dilemma of Mixed Disputes and the Philippines v. China Case"

Mathias FORTEAU  Professor of Public International Law, University of Paris Ouest Member of the International Law Commission of the UN 
"Third-party Intervention as a Possible Means to Bridge the Gap between the Bilateral Nature of Annex VII Arbitration and the Multilateral Nature of the UNCLOS"