Diplomatic Bluebook 2023

Chapter 3

Japan's Foreign Policy to Promote National and Global Interests

5 Promoting Resource Diplomacy along with Foreign Direct Investment in Japan

(1) Securing a Stable Supply of Energy and Mineral Resources at Reasonable Prices

A The Current Situation Concerning Energy and Mineral Resources in Japan and Abroad
(A) Situation in the World

Structural changes in recent years have been seen in the international energy market with respect to three areas: (a) demand (consumption), (b) supply (production), and (c) resource selection. Regarding (a) demand, global demand for primary energy has shifted towards non-OECD member countries, primarily China and India. With respect to (b) supply, the U.S. became the world's largest producer of both oil and natural gas due to the “Shale Revolution”5, and liberalization of export controls on crude oil in December 2015. The U.S. is promoting energy export policies such as further exports of the U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG). As for (c) resource selection, based on the fact that production and usage on energy account for about two-thirds of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the transitions to cleaner energy resources such as renewable energy are accelerating. In addition, since the Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted in December 2015, companies have made their efforts to further advance towards low-carbonization. In 2021, numerous countries have announced goals to achieve carbon neutrality in the second half of the century, an indication of increasing momentum for decarbonization worldwide. Looking at movements in oil markets, as the economy recovered from COVID-19, supply shortages became more pronounced and oil prices exceeded their pre-COVID-19 level, reaching a three-year high in October 2021. In 2022, energy prices rose further due to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, and fluctuated at high levels through the first half of the year. Prices had a downward trend from July due to concerns about an economic slowdown caused by tightening interest rates in major countries and China's zero-COVID policy, but the market price has remained unstable. The international community faces the challenge of how to break its dependence on Russian energy, stabilize energy markets, and achieve decarbonization.

  • 5 Shale Revolution: The development in the late 2000s of new technologies for drilling for oil and natural gas contained in layers of rock known as shale in the U.S., and the ability to do so at an economical cost, has led to a significant increase in U.S. oil and natural gas production, affecting many aspects of international affairs.
(B) Sanctions against Russia

With regard to sanctions in the energy sector against Russia in response to its aggression against Ukraine, in May, the G7 Leaders' Statement announced a policy of embargo on Russian oil, and Japan also announced a policy of suspension of Russian oil imports in principle. In addition, amid worries about rising energy prices due to global oil supply concerns, with the aim of reducing Russia's energy revenues while preventing a sharp rise in global energy prices by allowing a certain amount of Russian oil and other such products to be transported, in September at the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting, the Ministers agreed to introduce a “price cap” measure that would prohibit services related to the marine transportation of crude oil and other such products above a certain price. The G7 (including the EU) and Australia are participating in this measure. Furthermore, from the perspective of Japan's energy security, oil produced through the Sakhalin-2 project is exempted from the restrictions of this measure.

(C) Situation in Japan

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, the percentage of fossil fuels out of power generation in Japan has reached about 90% in 2012, up from about 60% before the earthquake, due to the shutdown of nuclear power plants. Japan's primary energy self-sufficiency ratio (including nuclear power), which relies on imports from overseas for almost all of its oil, natural gas, coal and other energy resources, dropped sharply from 20% before the 2011 earthquake to 6.3% in 2014. It remains at a low level compared to other OECD countries despite a recovery to 12.1% in 2019. Furthermore, nearly 90% of crude oil imported by Japan comes from the Middle East. With regard to LNG and coal, Japan depends less on the Middle East for oil but almost completely on Asia and Oceania. Under the circumstances, efforts to secure a stable supply of energy at reasonable prices are becoming increasingly important. At the same time, climate change response measures are also important. In October 2020, the Government of Japan announced its intention to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and in April 2021 pledged to achieve a 46% emissions reduction by FY2030 and announced its new reduction goal to continue making further efforts to realize a 50% reduction. Against this backdrop, the Sixth Strategic Energy Plan, approved by the Cabinet in October 2021, lays out specific measures to be taken by 2030 with a continued focus on the principle of “3E+S,” which emphasizes energy source safety (Safety), ensuring of a stable energy supply (Energy Security), the economic efficiency of energy costs (Economic Efficiency), and environmental suitability from the point of view of climate and other elements (Environment).

B Diplomatic Efforts to Secure a Stable Supply of Energy and Mineral Resources at Reasonable Prices

Securing a stable supply of energy and mineral resources at reasonable prices are the foundation for a vital Japanese economy and the livelihoods of its people. MOFA has been strengthening diplomatic efforts with a focus on the following activities.

(A) Gathering and Analysis of Resource-Related Information at Diplomatic Missions Overseas

“Special Assistants for Natural Resources” have been appointed to 60 diplomatic missions overseas in a total of 53 countries to work intensively on the acquisition and stable supply of energy and mineral resources with a view to strengthening the function of diplomatic missions overseas, as of the end of 2022. MOFA also calls for “Strategy Meetings on Natural Resources” every year, which bring together officials working at diplomatic missions overseas in countries central to ensuring a stable supply of energy and mineral resources. In 2022, the meeting was held online on December 19 (see B (D) on page 311).

(B) Efforts for Energy Market Stabilization

Russia's aggression against Ukraine that began in February 2022 caused energy prices to majorly rise, with oil prices exceeding 130 US dollars per barrel and European gas market prices rising above 70 US dollars per million BTU. This greatly destabilized the energy market.

Amidst this situation, in February and March, Japan diverted to Europe a portion of the LNG handled by Japanese companies in order to alleviate the tight supply and demand of natural gas in Europe. In addition, as a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Japan conducted two collective releases of oil reserves from March to April, releasing a total of 22.5 million barrels of petroleum reserves, the largest amount ever.

Amidst this situation surrounding energy, Japan is also encouraging resource producing countries to increase their production in order to stabilize the energy market. In March, Prime Minister Kishida held meetings with Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, of Abu Dhabi, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia. Foreign Minister Hayashi also held meetings with Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Sultan Al Jaber of the United Arab Emirates. In April, Foreign Minister Hayashi held meetings with Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohamed Al-Sabah of Kuwait, and Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al Busaidi of Oman. In July, Foreign Minister Hayashi held a meeting with Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia. In September, Prime Minister Kishida held meetings with Crown Prince Mohammed of Saudi Arabia, and President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates. In addition to urging oil-producing countries by taking the opportunity to have successive summit and ministerial-level meetings with them, Japan has also urged these countries at various levels through its diplomatic missions overseas as well as relevant ministries and agencies.

(C) Cooperation with International Organizations Related to Energy and Mineral Resources

Japan makes active use of international fora and rules to coordinate and collaborate internationally towards achieving a stable energy supply and enhancing the resilience of supply chains for critical mineral resources. Even in the midst of the energy crisis caused by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, in order to make a realistic energy transition towards decarbonization while ensuring energy security, Japan is communicating to the international community the importance of ensuring the stability of energy supply as well as ensuring stability of critical mineral resources essential for both energy supply diversification as well as energy transitions.

In March, State Minister for Foreign Affairs ODAWARA Kiyoshi attended the 28th IEA Ministerial Meeting (Paris, France). He stated that Japan will support the activities of the IEA from the perspective of combining all energy sources and technologies, while taking into account the energy situations of various countries and regions, in order to promote global energy transitions. In addition, he also pointed out the current issue of there being an oligopoly of refining and separation processes for many critical mineral resources in certain countries, and announced that Japan decided to newly contribute approximately 1.8 million euros (about 220 million Japanese yen) to the IEA as support for enhancing resilience of the supply chain of critical mineral resources. Also in May, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Odawara attended online the 23rd Session of the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). He stated that the crisis in Ukraine has made him recognize anew the importance of balancing energy security and energy transition. He also stated that there is no single path to an energy system based mainly on renewable energy, and thus it is necessary to have discussions in accordance with the situations of various countries. He also welcomed the progress of efforts related to critical mineral resources essential for the spread of renewable energy as well as for international trade for building hydrogen supply chains.

In June, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Suzuki attended the Ministerial Meeting of the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) (Toronto, Canada). She expressed Japan's support for the launch of the MSP, which aims to strategically promote public-private cooperation, including the promotion of investment, in order to achieve high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards in a series of supply chains, such as mine development, refining, processing, recycling, and reuse. She also introduced Japan's efforts to diversify the supply of mineral resources and stated that Japan would like to actively contribute to the discussions and activities in this framework to resolve the current issues surrounding mineral resources.

In September, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takagi attended the G20 Energy Transitions Ministers Meeting held under the Presidency of Indonesia. Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takagi pointed out that soaring energy prices are putting pressure on the lives of vulnerable people in both developed and developing countries, and that ensuring energy access is an urgent issue. He stated that access to affordable energy is a basic human need. He emphasized that as the importance of energy security has been reaffirmed by the recent energy crisis, energy security is not a national-level issue, but rather a human-level issue, and that energy should be provided to each and every person. Thus, ensuring energy security is the foundation for accelerating energy transitions. Japan is closely cooperating with international organizations on a daily basis at the working level to ensure a stable energy supply and to enhance the resilience of supply chain of critical mineral resources.

(D) Strategy Meeting on Diplomatic Missions Overseas Concerning Energy and Mineral Resources

Every year since FY2009, MOFA has held meetings attended by embassies and consulates-general established in major resource-producing countries, relevant ministries, agencies and organizations, experts, and representatives from companies. These meetings have provided opportunities to discuss diplomatic initiatives for ensuring a stable supply of energy and mineral resources in Japan, formulate policy, and strengthen cooperation. The 2022 Strategy Meeting was attended by energy and mineral resource specialists from over 30 diplomatic missions and officials from the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, among others. In the first part of the meeting, the participants discussed future issues and countermeasures for those issues based on reports on energy situations from diplomatic missions overseas amidst the energy crisis caused by Russia's aggression against Ukraine. In the second part of the meeting, officials from the Bureau of Energy Resources of the U.S. Department of State explained the significance of the MSP, which was established at the initiative of the U.S. to ensure a stable supply of mineral resources necessary for transitioning to clean energy. Discussions were then held on efforts towards strengthening the supply chain for critical minerals.

(E) Agreement in Principle on the Negotiations Concerning the Modernization of the Energy Charter Treaty

The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) is a multilateral treaty that entered into force in April 1998 (entered into force with Japan in 2002). It was established as a legal framework for implementing the European Energy Charter, which called for promoting improvements based on market principles in the energy sector in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as promoting trade and investment activities in the global energy sector. This treaty6 was signed by 52 countries and organizations mostly located in Europe and central Asia. Discussions for revision of the ECT began in 2020, and an agreement in principle was reached among the parties to the negotiations in June 2022. In addition, Japan has contributed to the development of the ECT as the largest contributor of assessed donations. This includes serving as chair for the first Meeting of the Energy Charter Conference in East Asia, which was held in 2016, and hosting the 27th Meeting in Tokyo. Furthermore, in September 2021, HIROSE Atsuko became the first Japanese national to become the Deputy Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat, the administrative body for the ECT.

  • 6 The ECT prescribes the liberalization of the trade and transit of energy source materials and commodities, the protection of investments in the energy sector, and other matters. It ensures a stable supply of energy from supply countries to demand countries, contributes to improving energy security for Japan, which largely relies on other countries for energy resources, and provides an important legal foundation for further improving the investment environment for Japanese companies overseas.
(F) Efforts in the Public Relations Field Related to Energy and Mineral Resources

In April, with support provided by the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), MOFA held a webinar entitled “Geopolitics and Energy: Role of Natural Gas in Energy Transition” as part of the Seminar on Energy Security in Asia. In addition to State Minister for Foreign Affairs Odawara, Chairman MIYAJI Shinji of the Policy Sub-Committee, Committee on Asia and Oceania, Keidanren also attended the seminar as a representative of Keidanren. Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Arfin Tasrif of Indonesia and IEA Chief Energy Economist Tim Gould gave keynote speeches, and the panelists included officials from international organizations involved in energy and international relations, experts, and others. Approximately 1,200 people registered and attended the seminar online from Japan and abroad. The seminar opened with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Odawara noting that Russia's aggression against Ukraine made the world recognize anew the importance of balancing energy transitions and energy security. He also pointed out the need to implement realistic, smooth energy transitions in order to realize a decarbonized society. He also noted that natural gas will play an extremely important role in the transitional period of decarbonization, from the perspective of providing adjustment capabilities to supplement solar and wind power generation, whose power output is easily affected by weather conditions. During the seminar, there were lively discussions on the geopolitical risks of energy, the importance of discussions that bear in mind the timeline for decarbonization, and how energy transitions should be promoted in daily life. The participants shared the recognition that during the present time when energy security risks are becoming more apparent, we also have an opportunity to promote significant efforts regarding energy transition.

In addition, from November 7 to 8, MOFA conducted the study tour “Energy in Crisis” for eight diplomats from eight embassies stationed in Japan to visit energy-related facilities in Fukushima Prefecture. Specifically, they visited the Nakoso IGCC Power Station of Nakoso IGCC Power GK, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field, Soma IHI Green Energy Center, and Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute, and had an exchange meeting with local officials. The participating diplomatic corps commented that it was very interesting to learn comprehensively about the energy situation in Japan and the future potential of renewable energy.

(2) Ensuring Food Security

The global food security situation has seen the emergence of problems affecting the food system in the form of supply chain disruptions and stoppages caused by compounding risks from COVID-19, rising energy prices, climate change, conflicts, and other such issues. Now Russia's aggression against Ukraine has led to a sharp deterioration of the food security situation on a global scale, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. Furthermore, there are challenges for the future, such as land use for food production, agricultural production adapted to climate change, and the use of appropriate fertilizers according to the situation. The number of people facing acute food insecurity has reached 349 million, the largest number ever.

According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 20227, as economic downturns and supply chain disruptions reduce food access, although the number of undernourished people in 2021 slowed compared to 2020 when there was a surge due to COVID-19, this is expected to continue its increasing trend, reaching up to 828 million people. The report also noted that in 2022 as well, Russia's aggression against Ukraine caused new challenges for the SDGs (specifically Goal 2: Zero Hunger), and negatively impacted food security and nutrition in countries facing hunger and food crises. Furthermore, as Russia and Ukraine have been some of the world's largest exporters of grains and other products, Russia's aggression against Ukraine has had an even more serious impact on the stable supply of grains to countries that heavily rely on grains from Russia and Ukraine, particularly developing nations in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Fears of grain supply shortages around the world have fueled trading price increases that have led to increased food prices. Russia's aggression against Ukraine has therefore exposed the vulnerabilities to food security posed by global supply chain disruptions.

  • 7 The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI): An annual report on global food insecurity and nutrition jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Health Organization (WHO)
A Cooperation in International Frameworks Concerning Food Security

In 2022, various discussions were held to address this global food crisis. In particular, concerns about the global food insecurity following Russia's aggression against Ukraine led international frameworks such as the G7 and G20 as well as various international organizations to express their concerns about the situation. In addition, a framework for international cooperation was created on the initiative of the United Nations (UN), the U.S., Germany, France, and others. Various initiatives were also implemented, including the “Black Sea Grain Initiative” for grain exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea at the initiative of the UN in order to realize grain exports from Ukraine, and the EU-led “Solidarity Lanes” that use railroads and trucks traveling over land routes to transport grain exports from Ukraine as well as daily necessities into Ukraine.

B Main Initiatives in Which Japan Participates

In May, at the initiative of the U.S., the Global Food Security Call to Action Ministerial Meeting was held at the UN Headquarters in New York, with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Odawara in attendance. During the meeting, Japan committed to even closer cooperation with the countries participating in the meeting, with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Odawara stating that three urgent priorities to address the food security crisis are important for building a sustainable food system: restoring the international flow of Ukrainian food, improving agricultural productivity and promoting efficient use of fertilizers, and avoiding unjustified export restrictions and excessive stockpiling.

In June, the “Ministerial Conference for Uniting for Global Food Security” was held in Berlin at the initiative of Germany, and Foreign Minister Hayashi participated online. Many of the attending Ministers expressed concern that Russia's aggression against Ukraine is worsening global food security, and confirmed that continued close cooperation among all parties concerned is indispensable to address the current food security crisis.

In addition, the G7 Elmau Summit was held. Under the overall theme of “Progress towards an equitable world” set forth by the chair, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the G7 leaders held candid discussions and confirmed that the G7 would unite to uphold the international order in response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine. The G7 Statement on Global Food Security was issued as an outcome document of the Summit, and confirmed the G7's unity with its statement, “We, the Leaders of the G7, will spare no effort to increase global food and nutrition security and to protect the most vulnerable, whom the food crisis threatens to hit the hardest.”

In September, the World Summit on Food Security was held in New York at the initiative of the U.S., the EU, and others, and Foreign Minister Hayashi attended it. During the Summit, there was discussion on the impact and challenges to global food security, including rising food prices and partial supply disruptions due to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, as well as consideration of guidelines for the international community's efforts to resolve the current food crisis. The meeting also provided an opportunity for Japan to reaffirm its commitment to collaborating with the international community to address the urgent issue of global food insecurity.

C Strengthen Collaboration with International Organizations on Food Security

As a responsible member of the international community, Japan supports the activities of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), a specialized agency of the UN in the fields of food and agriculture. Japan, a major donor to the FAO and the third largest contributor of assessed contributions, significantly contributes to strengthening global food security through efforts such as providing development assistance in the areas of food and agriculture, and creating international rules that include food safety standards. Japan also works to strengthen its relationship with the FAO, holding Annual Strategic Consultations and conducting seminars aimed at raising awareness for the FAO domestically.

In addition, in 2022, Japan provided support through the FAO for the distribution of wheat and corn seeds to Ukrainian farmers and the expansion of temporary storage capacity to store harvested grain, as there were concerns about the state of agricultural production in Ukraine, a major grain producing country in the world, following Russia's aggression against the country. Japan also provided support for capacity building at the Izmail quarantine station on the Romanian border to help promote exports over land routes. Moreover, close dialogue is being continued through annual strategic consultations and the like in order to strengthen relations between Japan and the FAO.

D Efforts in the Public Relations Field Related to Food Security

In March, MOFA held the online food security symposium “Ensuring the global and Japanese food security in the wake of Russia's aggression against Ukraine.” More than 500 people from Japan and abroad attended this seminar. In addition to State Minister for Foreign Affairs Odawara, the seminar was attended by Professor OKABE Yoshihiko, Faculty of Economics, Kobe Gakuin University; HIRASAWA Akihiko, General Manager and Senior Chief Economist, Norinchukin Research Institute Co., Ltd., and EZAKI Michio, Visiting Professor, Takushoku University Graduate School. In addition, experts and people related to agribusiness also served as speakers. In his opening remarks at the beginning, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Odawara pointed out the situation in which Russia's aggression against Ukraine has had various negative impacts on the international community, including food security in the world and Japan. He also pointed out the importance of preparedness in peacetime, such as maintaining and strengthening the free and fair trade system and international cooperation, as well as the importance of responding to contingencies, such as maintaining national reserves and diversifying supply sources. There was then a panel discussion by the speakers, in which there was a lively discussion with people asking questions on the policies that Japan should take from the perspectives of food security, agricultural measures, geopolitics, and economic security, which are becoming increasingly complex due to the recent global situation.

(3) Fisheries (Tuna, Whaling, etc.)

Japan is one of the major fishing countries and consumers of fishery products in the world. Japan actively contributes through international organizations to the appropriate conservation management and sustainable use of marine living resources.

Japan advocates the view that cetaceans are a part of marine living resources that should be utilized in a sustainable manner based on scientific evidence. Based on the fact that the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has the two roles of “conservation of whale stocks” and “orderly development of the whaling industry,” Japan has been promoting dialogue in good faith based on scientific data collected for more than 30 years. However, it became clear that it would be extremely difficult to coexist with countries that deny sustainable use of whales and insist only on their protection, so Japan withdrew from the IWC in 2019 and resumed commercial whaling.

Japan restricts commercial whaling to its territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with catch limits calculated in line with the method adopted by the IWC, which is based on scientific evidence, and in a manner that will not adversely affect the stock even if the whaling continues for 100 years.

Japan's policy of actively contributing to the international management of marine living resources has not changed after its withdrawal from the IWC. Japan has been actively involved and cooperated with international organizations such as the IWC and the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO), including participation as an observer at the Meeting of the IWC, which was held in October for the first time in four years. Japan has also developed non-lethal scientific research on whale stocks, some of which is conducted jointly with the IWC. The results are provided to the IWC and other international organizations as important data that can serve as a basis for realizing sustainable utilization and appropriate management of whale stocks.

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is one of the threats to the sustainable fishing industry. The Leaders' Declaration from the 2019 G20 Osaka Summit, for which Japan served as the G20 Presidency, states that “we recognize the importance of addressing IUU fishing.” This was one of the catalysts for the recent statements in outcome documents of multilateral conferences, such as the G7, G20, and APEC, mentioning affirmation of commitment to end IUU fishing. Furthermore, Japan has been encouraging non-contracting parties to sign the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA), which stipulates rules for port states to take measures against IUU fishing vessels, including denial of port entry. Japan is also providing capacity building assistance to developing countries for the purpose of countering IUU fishing.

In the Central Arctic Ocean, there are concerns about the possibility of unregulated fishing in the future due to partial melting of ice caused by global warming. Against the backdrop of these concerns, 10 states and organizations, including Japan and five Arctic Ocean coastal states, signed the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean in October 2018, and it entered into force in June 2021. The first meeting of the contracting parties was held in the ROK in November 2022, 10 countries and regions, including Japan, participated in the meeting, during which discussions were held on scientific research and the formulation of a monitoring plan in the Central Arctic Ocean.

As one of the largest tuna consumer countries, Japan has joined Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) for tuna, and leads discussions on strengthening conservation and management measures (CMMs) at annual meetings and other occasions. In recent years, results are being seen from active efforts through international resources management. For Pacific bluefin tuna, a 15% increase in the catch limit for large fish was adopted at the annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in 2021, and operations were conducted in 2022 based on this measure. At the same meeting in 2022, a management method was also adopted for skipjack which sets in advance the level at which resources should be maintained over the medium to long term and the way fishing should be conducted in accordance with the status of the resources. For Atlantic bluefin tuna, in light of the recovery of resource levels in recent years, the total allowable catch (TAC) in the eastern Atlantic Ocean was increased by 12.7% over the previous year at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) held in November. The TAC for the western Atlantic Ocean remained at the level of the previous year. As for southern bluefin tuna, the meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) held in October confirmed that the TAC for 2023 will be the same level as the previous year.

With respect to Pacific saury, the recent deterioration of stocks and the resulting poor catches have become a problem. The annual meeting of the North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC) in 2022 was postponed in light of the current international situation. It is important to further enhance resource management at the annual meeting scheduled to be held in 2023.

As for Japanese eel, the first scientific meeting on eel was held in April under the leadership of Japan. Scientific knowledge on the management of eel stocks was shared during the meeting. In addition, at the 15th informal consultation on international cooperation led by Japan from May to July, Japan, the ROK, China, and Taiwan discussed and confirmed the establishment of limits on glass eel stocking in aquaculture ponds and the promotion of cooperation in joint research on Japanese eels. This was the first time in eight years that China participated in the informal consultation.

(4) Foreign Direct Investment in Japan

With regard to promotion of foreign direct investment in Japan, the “Council for Promotion of Foreign Direct Investment in Japan,” which has been held since 2014, is spearheading initiatives to promote activities for discovering and attracting investments. While gathering opinions from foreign company managers, Japan continues to respond to the needs of foreign companies by making further progress in implementing additional measures such as regulatory and institutional reforms and support measures that help improve the investment environment in Japan. Based on the “Five Promises for Attracting Foreign Businesses to Japan,” decided at the second meeting of the Council for Promotion of Foreign Direct Investment in Japan, held in March 2015, foreign companies have utilized the Investment Advisor Assignment System8 since April 2016 to meet with the relevant State Ministers in charge. In addition, Japan achieved the initial target value of “doubling (compared to 2012) the inward foreign direct investment stocks to 35 trillion Japanese yen in 2020,” as laid out in the Japan Revitalization Strategy approved by the Cabinet in June 2013. At the ninth meeting of the Council for Promotion of Foreign Direct Investment in Japan, held in June 2021, a new Strategy for Promoting Foreign Direct Investment in Japan was adopted as a medium- to long-term strategy to promote foreign direct investment in Japan, and a decision was made to aim to double (compared to 2020) the inward foreign direct investment stocks to 80 trillion yen by 2030 and reach 12% of GDP as the key performance indicator (KPI).

MOFA implements various measures adopted by the Council for Promotion of Foreign Direct Investment in Japan. It utilizes diplomatic resources to engage in initiatives through diplomatic missions overseas and trade promotion by key government officials, and also strategically implements various initiatives towards promoting foreign direct investment in Japan. The “Contact Points for Direct Investment toward Japan,” established at 126 diplomatic missions overseas in April 2016, have been collaborating with JETRO to conduct surveys of requests for improvements to Japanese regulations and systems, call for investments in Japan by making use of networks of contacts at diplomatic missions overseas, and hold events for promoting foreign direct investment in Japan, among other initiatives. More than 650 cases of these activities were conducted in FY2021.

Furthermore, in Japan, MOFA held a Global Business Seminar in March, with the theme of promoting foreign direct investment in Japan, focusing on offshore wind power, which is considered a pillar of renewable energy, and on the hydrogen business, which is referred to as the trump card for decarbonization. In addition to a keynote speech by the Director-General of IRENA, lively discussions were held with the participation of approximately 250 participants from domestic and foreign companies, embassies in Tokyo, business groups and chambers of commerce in Japan, as well as government and local government officials.

  • 8 A system that seeks to prepare an environment in which foreign companies that have made important investments in Japan can easily consult with the Government of Japan through state Ministers and other officials from the ministries that oversee the main industries in which these companies engage.

(5) The Road to 2025 World Expo Osaka (Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan)

Following the approval of a registration dossier for Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan at the General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) held in December 2020, Japan began activities to officially invite other countries and international organizations to participate in the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan. MOFA is currently engaged in invitation activities to drive significant participation by other countries and organizations.

In February, Japan signed an agreement with the BIE to grant privileges and immunities to participating countries and international organizations in order to improve the environment for holding the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan and its preparations. The agreement entered into force in August.

In addition, in October, the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition held its “International Planning Meeting,” inviting countries and international organizations that had been invited to participate to Osaka City to provide various information.

The Expo, which is expected to attract a large number of visitors from Japan and abroad, aims to convey the appeals of Japan to the world and accelerate efforts to achieve the SDGs, which are all to be achieved by 2030, under the theme of “Designing Future Society for Our Lives.” Japan will continue making a concerted national effort aimed at ensuring that the Expo inspires and surprises people around the world, while also energizing Japan as a whole.

The Indian Ocean Fishing Industry as seen from Mauritius KAWAGUCHI Shuichiro, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mauritius

The sea in MauritiusThe sea in Mauritius

Sometimes called the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” Mauritius is an island nation surrounded by beautiful coral reefs with a population of approximately 1.26 million. In August 2020, an oil spill from the bulk carrier “Wakashio” occurred due to its running aground. Through extensive and earnest Japanese public-private sector support, the oil removal and cleanup operation was completed in January 2021, with the ocean restored to a pristine state unrecognizable from before the accident occurred.

The year 2023 is highly important for the fishing industry in Mauritius, as the annual conferences of two international institutions governing fishing in the Indian Ocean are taking place there: the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA). I would like to take this opportunity to briefly talk about the state of the fishing industry in Mauritius.

The waters surrounding Mauritius in the emerald-green seas have rich fishing resources including tuna, with many foreign vessels coming to catch Yellowfin, Albacore, and other species of tuna. The harbor of Port Louis located in the capital bustles with over 100 round-haul netters from countries such as Spain and France visiting each day for supplies, refueling, and to land their tuna catch. The Yellowfin that these European ships bring in weigh as much as 40kg each, which is then processed into canned or frozen fish products for export, principally to Europe, forming an important source of income for Mauritius.

The fishing industry in Mauritius has a strong connection with Japan, to the extent that there appears to have been enough Japanese fishing industry personnel residing there 30 years ago to create a Japan Town. The majority of the fish exported to Japan are species of tuna, but also include other species such as Alfansino. On the other hand, Mauritius has not got the culture of eating fresh raw tuna as sashimi like in Japan, with the tuna caught around the atolls by local fishermen typically fried deeply and cooked in curry. As such, the cold chain (refrigerated logistics) infrastructure in Mauritius is not sufficiently established, and that poses an issue in terms of developing high-value markets. At the same time, this means there is likely enormous latent potential for future market expansion.

The author with a purchased fishThe author with a purchased fish

Combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, a threat to sustainable fishing, is a major issue for Mauritius. In order for tuna to be merchandized in a sustainable manner on the international market, the improvement of capabilities to crack down on IUU vessels within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as well as the development of its legal system for enforcement against crew engaged in IUU fishing, are urgently required.

Inscribed as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine) is also very popular in Mauritius. Fresh fish dishes are essential elements of washoku. When welcoming guests at the ambassador's official residence, we also put great effort into serving delicious fish dishes. The fish dishes we serve, such as sashimi made with fish purchased from local fishermen and the open-sea Alfansino simmered in soy sauce and sugar (nitsuke), are now said to surpass the ones at a five-star hotel, becoming a hot topic in political and business circles. Fish dishes are now an indispensable tool in diplomacy.