Antarctic Treaty and Environmmental Protocol

1. About the Antarctic Treaty and Protocol

(1) The Antarctic Treaty was signed Washington D.C. in 1959 by 12 countries, including Japan, the U.S., the U.K., France and Russia whose scientists had been active in and around Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-58 and wished to establish bases on Antarctica to engage in scientific cooperation.

(2) The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty and its Annex I-IV were signed in Madrid in 1991 (Annex V in Bonn in the same year). In this Protocol, Parties commit themselves to the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment, and dependent and associated ecosystems and hereby designate Antarctica as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science.

2. Japan's Role

(1) Regarding the issue of sovereignty, the status quo of 1959 with regard to claims or their recognition is maintained (Article IV of the Treaty). Pertaining to Article IV, Japan does not recognize any state's right of claims to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica.

(2) The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) consists of 28 Consultative parties including the original 12 signatories to the Treaty, which have conducted substantial research activities in Antarctica. Japan has actively participated in ATCM since its first meeting in 1961, and hosted the 6th ATCM in Tokyo in October 1970 and the 18th ATCM in Kyoto in April 1994.


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