Chapter II.
Sectoral Analysis of the International Situation and Japan's Foreign Policy

C. Efforts Toward the Realization of a Better Global Society

The steps referred to in Parts A and B are inarguably of extreme importance in ensuring the safety and prosperity of Japan through its efforts toward the realization of a peaceful and affluent international community. At the same time, in addition to these steps, the measures described below are equally important in order to ensure the survival of the human race and better lives for all.

1. Protection of Human Rights and Promotion of Democratization

a) Efforts by the International Community

The protection of human rights and the promotion of democratization are widely recognized as the foundation for world peace and prosperity among the international community. The World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna in June 1993 proclaimed that all human rights are universal and that the promotion and protection of these are a legitimate concern of the international community. The international community, in the arena of the United Nations, has adopted various human rights instruments as well as resolutions against states committing serious violations of human rights. Moreover, in recent years, the international community has increasingly supported the efforts of each country to improve its own human rights situation. The UN Center for Human Rights, upon the request of those countries, has sent human rights experts to provide advisory services to improve human rights situations. It has also organized seminars to educate public service personnel.

b) Japan's Cooperation Toward the Promotion of Democratization and the Protection of Human Rights

To improve human rights situations all over the world, the international community should not only express concern to countries with problems, but also encourage and assist them to make efforts to improve the situation through dialogue. With this belief in mind, Japan has seized every opportunity to convey its concern to those countries, and has carried on dialogue to call on them to improve their human rights situations. At the same time, Japan has reviewed its aid policies toward countries that have committed gross violations of human rights in light of its ODA Charter.

Nevertheless, mere expression of concern and review of aid policies are insufficient, because a number of countries lack appropriate systems, institutions and human resources, despite their willingness and efforts to promote democratization and human rights. Responding to this situation, Japan announced an initiative named "Partnership for Democratic Development" (PDD) at the Lyon Summit in 1996. The PDD initiative is aimed at furthering the existing technical cooperation which contributes to democratization and the promotion and protection of human rights. This includes support for establishing legal, judicial and electoral systems and the training of judicial and police officials. Under the PDD initiative, Japan will further enhance such assistance in a more positive and comprehensive manner through both multilateral and bilateral cooperation.

Japan has also played an active role in international fora, especially in the United Nations. Japan, as a member of the UN Commission on Human Rights since 1982, has supported the activities of the UN Center for Human Rights by contributing to the Voluntary Fund for Advisory Service and Technical Cooperation and others.

Japan's efforts to promote awareness of human rights include the Symposium on Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region held in July 1996, co-organized by the Government of Japan and the United Nations University. This was the second symposium following up on the first in 1995. The symposium provided opportunities to cultivate common ideas on human rights in the Asia-Pacific, a region with tremendous diversity, and to explore possible international cooperation at the regional level. Furthermore, to promote human rights education as part of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, proclaimed by the Forty-ninth United Nations General Assembly, Japan established the Headquarters for the Promotion of the Decade in December 1995, chaired by the Prime Minister.

c) Women

In regard to the advancement of the status of women, Japan has participated as a member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in 1995. Moreover, Japan has been active in international fora such as the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Furthermore, Japan has contributed to the UNIFEM Trust Fund in Eliminating Violence Against Women, which was established based on the resolution proposed by Japan at the Fiftieth Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Japan has also been strengthening and extending the Women in Development (WID) initiative in developing countries.

d) Children

The protection of the rights of children has recently become an area of high concern in the international community. In August 1996, the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children was held in Sweden to reaffirm the determination of the world to combat child prostitution, child pornography and other problems. With the cooperation of the Japan Committee for UNICEF, the Government of Japan has extended its advocacy activities with poster campaigns to stop child prostitution.

e) Social Development

Japan has been a member since 1996 of the United Nations Commission for Social Development, where social development issues are discussed to follow up on the World Summit for Social Development held in 1995. Topics of these discussions include the eradication of poverty, employment and the marginalization of the socially vulnerable. Moreover, Japan attaches importance to Social Development Assistance (SDA) Programmes. The share of this area in bilateral ODA is on the rise, amounting to 12.3% in 1991 and 26.7% in 1995.

2. Terrorism

a) Strengthening International Cooperation

The year 1996 witnessed such incidents as the bombing of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in January, a series of bombings in London by the IRA from February onward, a series of bombings in Israel by Palestinian extremists over February and March, the bombing of U.S. military quarters in Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia in June, and the bombing attack on a Paris metro train in December. Moreover, on 17 December, the Japanese Ambassador's Official Residence in Peru was attacked and occupied by the MRTA (Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement). (See Chapter I, Part A and Chapter III, Part C in regard to this incident.)

These serious terrorist incidents highlighted the importance of international cooperation in combating terrorism. At the Lyon Summit, counter-terrorism was addressed as one of the priority items on the agenda in the wake of the bombing of U.S. military quarters in Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia which took place immediately prior to the Summit. The fight against terrorism was considered as an absolute priority for the international community, and the Declaration on Terrorism, which proposed to hold a Ministerial Conference on Terrorism to be attended by the ministers for foreign affairs, the ministers for security and other representatives from the G-7 countries and the Russian Federation, was issued. This Conference, held on 30 July in Paris with Japan represented by Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda and Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission Hiroyuki Kurata, adopted a document containing 25 practical measures for counter-terrorism, and called upon all the states of the international community to implement these measures.

In December, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution on measures to eliminate international terrorism. Moreover, it was decided to begin work in February 1997 at the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations on the elaboration of a convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, which was set forth as one of the aforementioned 25 practical measures adopted at the Paris Ministerial Conference.

b) Japan's Efforts

The basic principles confirmed repeatedly at the annual G-7 Summits and other occasions are to firmly condemn and combat all forms of terrorism; to make no concessions to terrorists and to apply the rule of law so that terrorists will be brought to justice. Japan also views terrorism as an issue of global scale, and is actively participating in international cooperation in counter-terrorism. Firstly, at the Ministerial Meeting on Terrorism, which was held in Ottawa in December 1995 with the participation of the G-7 countries and the Russian Federation, Japan proposed that an experts' group meeting be held on terrorism using biological and chemical weapons. This meeting was held in the summer of 1996. In addition, during President Clinton's visit to Japan in April, counter-terrorism was added to the Japan-U.S. Common Agenda as a new area. Moreover, at the Lyon Summit, Prime Minister Hashimoto proposed holding a seminar on counter-terrorism, to be attended by both developed and developing countries. To realize this proposal, the International Seminar on Counter-terrorism for Promoting International Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region was held on 3-4 December in Tokyo as the first cooperative initiative in this region in the area of counter-terrorism. It was attended by experts from 11 countries, namely Japan, the United States, France, Canada, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Peru, Colombia, Australia and the Russian Federation. At the seminar, participants noted the importance of regional cooperation and confirmed that exchanges of experience and information on security for major international events would be conducted among the countries concerned.

International procedures have been taken for the arrest of more than 10 members of the Japanese Red Army, one of whom was taken into custody in Peru in May, and another in Nepal in September. In addition, one person suspected of having been involved in the hijacking of Flight Yodo of Japan Airlines in 1970 was arrested in Thailand in March for the possession of counterfeit currency and suspected fraud. He is currently on trial in Thailand.

3. Ensuring Nuclear Safety and International Cooperation in the Area of Science and Technology

a) Ensuring Nuclear Safety

i) Moscow Nuclear Safety and Security Summit

In 1996, a decade after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident, the international community can be seen to be engaging actively in efforts to strengthen cooperation in the field of nuclear safety. Firstly, in April, the Summit on Nuclear Safety and Security was held in Moscow, and the leaders of the G-7 countries and the Russian Federation discussed various issues involved with nuclear safety and the safe management of nuclear materials. As a result, the G-7 countries and the Russian Federation confirmed fundamental principles on nuclear safety, including the following: absolute priority should be given to safety in the use of nuclear energy; the prime responsibility for ensuring safety rests with countries with nuclear installations; and openness and transparency are important in the use of nuclear energy. This was an outstanding achievement in the field of nuclear safety in the sense that it enabled international cooperation to go forward in a form which includes the Russian Federation, and was also a symbolic event underscoring the changes in the international community over the last 10 years. With regard to the issue of ocean dumping of radioactive waste, which Japan regards as important, the Russian Federation stated that it would adhere in 1996 to the 1993 amendment of the London Convention concerning the prohibition of ocean dumping of radioactive waste, but it did not do so.

In addition, at the Moscow Summit there was also discussion on ensuring the safety of nuclear power plants in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, something which G-7 members and other countries have been working on since the Munich Summit in 1992. G-7 members reaffirmed their commitment to cooperating toward the improvement of nuclear safety in the countries of these regions. In particular, the reconfirmation by Ukrainian President Kuchma, who participated in part of the Summit, that the Chernobyl reactors would be closed by the year 2000 is extremely significant in terms of increasing nuclear safety in the world as a whole. Japan also welcomes this decision by the Ukrainian Government, and intends to continue to work together with the other G-7 countries toward the actual closing of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

ii) Developments with Multilateral Conventions Relating to Nuclear Safety

In 1996 steady progress was also seen regarding multilateral conventions on nuclear safety. Firstly, the Convention on Nuclear Safety, aimed at achieving and maintaining a high level of nuclear safety worldwide, entered into force in October. Since Japan ratified the Convention in May 1995, Japan has been urging other countries to sign on also in order for the Convention to be put into effect at an early date, and Japan therefore welcomes the Convention's coming into effect. Work is currently underway within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to draft a Convention on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, with Japan participating actively in this work toward the early adoption of the convention.

iii) Tokyo Conference on Nuclear Safety in Asia

In Asia in recent years, more and more countries are beginning to introduce and expand nuclear power generation, anticipating a future increase in energy demand in the region. In response to this situation, in November Japan held the Tokyo Conference on Nuclear Safety in Asia in order to exchange views with other Asian countries on enhancing cooperation in the field of nuclear safety. As a result of this meeting, in line with the philosophy of "safety first" confirmed by G-7 members and the Russian Federation at the Moscow Summit, the importance of safety was confirmed in the Asian region also. At the same time, participants agreed to implement concrete cooperation such as the promotion of training and seminars in order to develop human resources in the field of nuclear safety and the strengthening of legal systems and institutions in this field.

b) International Cooperation in Science and Technology

i) Science and Technology for the International Community

There is a growing need for the international community to work together to amass outstanding science and technology in order to resolve the various issues facing the international community today, including environmental, energy and food-related issues. Japan, which has attained the world's highest standards in the field of science and technology, is expected to continue to play an important role in resolving these issues, making a contribution commensurate with its capabilities.

ii) Bilateral and Multilateral Science and Technology Cooperation

  • Bilateral Cooperation

    At present, Japan has agreements on scientific and technological cooperation with more than 20 countries, and regularly holds bilateral meetings with these and other countries to discuss their promotion. In November, Japan signed a new agreement on cooperation in science and technology with the Netherlands in order to further promote cooperation between the two countries in the area of science and technology.

    In addition to the activities conducted on the basis of existing agreements on cooperation in science and technology, Japan is also actively engaged in exchanges of up-to-date scientific and technological information and views with a number of other countries. In August, Japan held its first discussion with the United States toward the construction of a cooperative relationship in regard to a Global Positioning System (GPS).

  • Multilateral Cooperation

    Multilateral science and technological cooperation has been of increasing importance in recent years, particularly in large-scale science and technology research (mega-science) which is conducted jointly by a number of countries. Japan, the United States, the European Union and the Russian Federation have established the International Science and Technology Center to offer research projects for peaceful purposes to scientists who were involved in programs building weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. In 1996, the Center decided to provide approximately US$40 million to support more than 120 projects, of which Japan provides about US$4 million to support 18 projects.

    Japan is also working together with the United States, the European Union and the Russian Federation on a joint R&D project on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) with the aim of developing new forms of energy.

    In the life-science area, Japan has implemented the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) together with the G-7 countries, the EU and Switzerland. At the Lyon Summit, leaders from various countries expressed expectations regarding the further development of this program.

    Turning to the area of space development, in August, the Advanced Earth Observation Satellite (ADEOS), carrying observation instruments from Japan, the United States and France, was launched with a domestically-produced H-II rocket up to a satellite developed by Japan.

    In addition to these kinds of cooperation with developed countries, Japan has also pursued science and technology cooperation with developing countries. In November, at the Second APEC Ministers' Conference on Regional Science and Technology Cooperation, Japan was among the 18 members adopting the Seoul Declaration, which calls for the activation of international personnel exchanges in the area of science and technology.

4. Environmental Issues

a) Efforts by the International Community

Global environmental problems threaten the very survival of the human race. To solve these problems, regional and global efforts are essential-it is not enough for individual countries to merely take measures on their own. The destruction of the global environment, though it may not be readily apparent at the present time, will, unless dealt with from a long-term perspective, pose a tangible threat in several decades, or within several hundred years. Also, because environmental issues are inextricably linked with economic and social development, it is not easy for a number of countries at different stages of development and with different economic situations to take coordinated action. For this reason, diplomatic efforts are needed to rectify differences in awareness and conflicts of interest between countries and consequently take appropriate steps from a long-term and global perspective.

The international community has been engaging in various efforts and discussion in this regard, starting with the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21, the fruits of the United Nations Conference on Environmental Development (UNCED)-the so-called Earth Summit-which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. In regard to Agenda 21 in particular, regular reviews and exchanges of views are being conducted at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), which has been established under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. In addition, a Special Session of the UN General Assembly has been scheduled for June 1997 in order to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the various efforts which have been made since the Earth Summit. Efforts have been continued to further promote the achievements of the Earth Summit, and the Special Session is expected to provide the momentum to further this process.

More specifically, in regard to global warming, international discussions have been conducted on how to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beyond 2000, a question not adequately addressed by the existing UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and countries are working to reach a conclusion at the Third Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is scheduled to be held in Kyoto in December 1997. As to the prevention of desertification, in September the number of countries which were party to the Convention to Combat Desertification reached 50, and the Convention went into effect in December. In the area of conservation of biological diversity, considerations have been initiated on a protocol on bio-safety on the basis of the Convention on Biological Diversity. In regard to the ozone layer protection issue, it was decided in November that developed countries would contribute US$540 million over three years, from 1997 to 1999, to the Ozone Layer Protection Fund for such uses as assisting developing countries in breaking away from CFC usage.

b) Japan's Cooperation

In tandem with these efforts by the international community, which have been advancing in various areas, Japan has been dedicating its fullest efforts in this area, placing the issue of the global environment as a top priority of its foreign policy.

First of all, given the particular importance of the Third Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC, Japan put itself forward at the Second Conference of Parties in July as a candidate to host this meeting, and was approved. Because policies to prevent global warming are linked in a complex fashion with countries' specific economic interests, it will not be easy to harmonize these interests. However, as the host country of the meeting, Japan must endeavor to reach an agreement which is equitable, feasible to implement and effective in preventing global warming.

Secondly, through its ODA, Japan is cooperating with regard to the environmental issues facing the international community. Having suffered from and overcome its own pollution problems, Japan established conservation of the environment as a basic tenet of its ODA framework, adopted through a Cabinet decision in June 1996, and in implementing its ODA, places in principle equal emphasis on the environment and development. At the 1992 Earth Summit, Japan announced that it would expand and enhance its environment-related ODA, looking to increase this from 900 billion yen to one trillion yen for the five-year period beginning in FY1992. A cumulative total of approximately 980 billion yen had already been disbursed by FY1995, with Japan therefore reaching its goal a year early. Japan's environment-related ODA policies emphasize policy dialogue with developing countries. For example, the first Japan-China Comprehensive Forum on Environmental Cooperation was held in Beijing in May, with the participation of related ministries and agencies, local public organizations and private organizations, strengthening policy dialogue with China. In addition, taking the perspective that improving the ability of the developing countries and other countries and regions of the world to deal with environmental issues is essential if these issues are to be resolved, Centers for Environmental Research and Training have been established in China, Thailand and Indonesia, with technical cooperation implemented through these centers.

Thirdly, in addition to the above bilateral cooperation, Japan also places weight on cooperative relations with international institutions. Taking Japan's relationship with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as an example, the Japanese Government invited the UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre (UNEP/IETC) to Japan (Osaka and Shiga); subsidized expenses for environmental projects; and last November, at the United Nations University in Tokyo, also held the Second Intergovernmental Meeting for the Northwest Pacific Action Plan (hosted by the UNEP), which aims to conserve the ocean and the coastal areas in the Japan Sea and the Yellow Sea. Japan has also been supporting the Global Environment Facility (GEF) since its inception. The GEF is a funding mechanism that supports developing countries as they tackle global environmental problems. Japan has contributed roughly 45 billion yen to the GEF Trust Fund, approximately 20% of the total amount of the first replenishment scheduled for a three-year period which began in July 1994.

5. Population and AIDS

a) Population

The world's population currently exceeds 5.8 billion, and is forecast to reach about 8.3 billion by 2025 and about 9.8 billion by 2050. In the developing countries, in particular, population increases are hindering economic and social development in terms of food shortages, employment problems and the expansion of slums as populations concentrate in urban areas. At the same time, developed countries are experiencing problems such as aging and migration from developing countries. Moreover, population increases, together with increased energy consumption, are a factor in environmental problems such as the desertification of green areas and global warming. The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was held in September 1994 in Cairo to combat the increasingly severe population problem. The meeting adopted a Programme of Action which includes guidelines on dealing with new and important areas such as family planning, the promotion of maternal and child health, the relationship between population problems and the environment, women's rights and the improvement of the status of women. In February 1994, prior to the ICPD, Japan announced its Global Issues Initiative (GII) on Population and AIDS, which will effect positive cooperation for developing countries to the sum of around US$3 billion during the seven-year period from FY1994 to FY2000 within its ODA programs in the field of population and AIDS. Through GII implementation, Japan has been positively strengthening programs related to maternal and children's health and family planning. Moreover, recognizing that the population problem is closely linked to social and economic development as a whole, Japan is also taking a comprehensive approach, including various aspects such as primary health care, basic education and improvement of the status of women. About US$1 billion in assistance has already been disbursed over the two-year period from FY1994 to FY1996. Japan has also been actively contributing to multilateral cooperation, and has been the largest contributor to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) since 1986.


The situation regarding AIDS is serious. According to the 1996 report of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), around 28 million people have been infected with HIV since the late 1970s, and more than 90% of people with HIV/AIDS are living in developing countries. The AIDS issue is closely tied to issues such as the rights of women and children, drugs and the development of developing countries, and it is vital that the international community implement comprehensive and effective measures toward resolving these issues. UNAIDS was therefore launched in January 1996 to coordinate the efforts of international organizations fighting AIDS.

As noted above, the Government of Japan launched the GII as a means of tackling the AIDS issue, providing personnel and financial support. In FY1995 it provided more than 1.2 billion yen in assistance, including Japan's contribution to UNAIDS, to developing countries to tackle the AIDS issue.

6. Transnational Crime and Narcotics

a) Transnational Crime

Recent years have seen a rise in organized crime, white-collar crime and other forms of transnational criminal activities. To combat these challenges, the international community has further strengthened cooperation. The Senior Experts' Group on Transnational Organized Crime of the Eight met in October 1996 to discuss implementation measures for the Forty Recommendations to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, adopted at the Lyon Summit. After this meeting, Japan held the P-8 Law Enforcement Conference on Illicit Traffic in Firearms in Tokyo in November 1996.

Furthermore, Japan has been a member of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice consecutively since its inauguration in 1992. Moreover, Japan is expected to do more in combating transnational crime, with Mr. Kanemoto, Director-General of the International Department of the National Police Agency, elected as president of the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO).

b) Narcotics

In terms of the worldwide volume of major drug confiscations, heroin confiscation has remained steady at 20-30 tons in recent years, but there have been swift increases in the amount of morphine confiscated in Europe and the Middle East and the amount of opium confiscated in Europe and North and South America. Cocaine confiscations have remained steady at around 300 tons annually over the last few years, with more than 90% of this confiscated in North and South America. An increasing amount of marijuana and marijuana plants were confiscated, with the plants taken in Africa and North and South America, and hashish taken in Europe and the Middle East.

The abuse and illegal trade of narcotics has become a serious and widespread problem recently, with growing emphasis on the need for enhanced cooperation on a global scale with regard to narcotics issues. In particular, drug control projects being undertaken by the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and other international organizations, including crack-downs, confiscations, training and education, have received praise and support from Japan and the other developed donor countries. Japan has continued to make active contributions to support the activities of the UNDCP since its inception in 1991. In addition, Japan not only participates in the Dublin Group, which is a forum for consultations among developed countries on narcotics issues, but also makes monetary and other contributions to the Inter-American Commission for Drug Abuse Control (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) and to the Colombo Plan, which makes recommendations on means to combat drugs.

Moreover, in 1996, in addition to a seminar held on cracking down on narcotics crimes, at the sixth vice-minister-level meeting held as part of the Common Agenda there was also discussion on cooperation between Japan and the United States on narcotics issues.

7. Initiative for a Caring World

At the Lyon Summit, Prime Minister Hashimoto proposed the "Initiative for a Caring World." He suggested that sustainable social security systems could be established by countries sharing knowledge and experience in the area of social security, with not only developed countries but also the NIEs and developing countries sharing their knowledge and experience in order to resolve their concerns and problems; thus, each contributes to the creation of a better society to pass on to the next generation. This proposal was supported by the G-7 leaders, and it will be placed on the agenda at international fora such as the 1997 Denver Summit of the Eight. As a follow-up to this proposal, it would be valuable to make use of the OECD, which already has an accumulation of experience in this area.

As the first step toward realization of the initiative in East Asia, Japan held the East Asian Ministerial Meeting on Caring Societies in Okinawa on 5 December. Japan intends to engage actively in international cooperation in the area of social security in a broad sense, including health care, medical care and public hygiene, as part of implementing the initiative.

8. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (Implementation Agreement) are epochal treaties for comprehensively governing issues related to ocean space.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was adopted in 1982 at the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and entered into force in November 1994. Due to political and economic changes which occurred after its adoption, however, doubts arose concerning the cost-effectiveness of the international sea-bed regime which was to be established under the provisions of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. As a result, many advanced nations became reluctant to conclude the Convention, and negotiations on the revision of Part XI began in 1990, leading to the adoption of the Implementation Agreement at the Resumed Session of the Forty-eighth Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1994.

Since the Government of Japan attaches great importance to its early participation in the new maritime legal order, it presented a motion for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Implementation Agreement at the 136th regular session of the Diet in 1996. The motion was passed, thus approving Japan's entry into the Convention and the Implementation Agreement. The Government of Japan then deposited the instruments of ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Implementation Agreement on 20 June with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the Convention went into force for Japan on 20 July. The Implementation Agreement also fulfilled the necessary conditions for entry into force, and did so on 28 July for all states party to this Agreement, including Japan.

As one of the world's major maritime states, conclusion of the Convention and the Agreement by Japan is significant, for it contributes to the establishment of a stable legal order governing the ocean and further facilitates maritime activities. Also, it is expected that more and more countries will conclude the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Implementation Agreement, which will thus gain universal acceptance in the international community. (As of 13 March 1997, 116 countries had concluded the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and 78 had entered into the Implementation Agreement.)

Elsewhere, an election was held on 1 August to select 21 judges for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which was established in Hamburg, Germany. Japan's nominee, Professor Soji Yamamoto, of Sophia University, was elected as a Judge for a nine-year term.

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