Press Releases

2nd International Symposium on the Law of the Sea (Summary)

February 17, 2016

1. On Tuesday, February 16, and on Wednesday, February 17, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan hosted the 2nd international symposium on the law of the sea “International Law for the Resources of the Sea” in Tokyo (at Mita Kaigisho Auditorium).

2. Experts in the field of the law of the sea from home and abroad participated in the symposium as panelists. About 300 participants, including the representatives of diplomatic missions, officials of the Government of Japan, academics and students, had active discussions with the panelists.

3. At the end of the first day of the symposium, Mr. Fumio KISHIDA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, hosted a reception and made a speech in which he stated that taking on the presidency of the G7 this year, Japan is committed to promoting “the rule of law at sea,” and to maintain and develop the order for “open and stable sea.”


(1) In the opening session held on February 16, Mr. Hitoshi KIKAWADA, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, delivered the opening remarks in which he stated that the promotion of “the rule of law at sea”, which is one of the important pillars of Japan’s diplomacy, is also one of the fields that Japan will focus upon at the G7 meetings of this year under Japan’s Presidency, and this symposium is one of such efforts. He also stated that Japan will make its utmost contributions in developing a well-balanced framework of international law in this field so that marine resources will be developed in an orderly manner, which is important for the entire international community.

(2) Following Mr. Kikawada’s remarks, Mr. Shunji YANAI, Judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, in the keynote speech, stated that the new regimes established under UNCLOS related to the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles and the Area has been enhanced with the States’ practice and the activities of the international organizations including ITLOS. He also introduced the recent progress of the discussions on marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.

5. In the panel discussions, the panelists made their reports on the three themes below, followed by the Q&A sessions with the audience.

(1) Segment 1: Mineral Resources in the Area
Michael LODGE, Deputy to the Secretary-General and Legal Counsel, International Seabed Authority (ISA), Kentaro NISHIMOTO, Associate Professor, School of Law, Tohoku University, and Elie JARMACHE, Special Advisor on the Law of the Sea, Secretariat General of the Sea (France), reported on the development of the regulatory regime for deep seabed mining, legal issues concerning various activities in the Area, and competences of actors engaging in deep seabed mining, respectively.

(2) Segment 2: Resources of the Continental Shelf (including Continental Shelf beyond 200 NM)
Junichi ETO, Professor, Faculty of Law, Sophia University, Shizuka SAKAMAKI , Lecturer, University of Shizuoka, and Clive SCHOFIELD, Professor, Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong, reported on the differences of the legal status between continental shelf within 200 NM and beyond, the legal status of the extended continental shelf, the developing resources of the continental shelf pending delimitation, respectively.

(3) Segment 3: Marine Biological Diversity beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction (BBNJ)
Ashley ROACH, Senior Visiting Scholar, Centre for International Law (CIL), National University of Singapore, Atsuko KANEHARA, Professor, Faculty of Law, Sophia University, Luther RANGREJI, Senior Legal Officer, Legal and Treaties Division, Ministry of External Affairs of India, Shotaro HAMAMOTO, Professor, Faculty of Law, Kyoto University reported on the topics related to the title of the segment, such as the meaning of ‘Under UNCLOS’ that appears in the United Nations General Assembly resolution (A/RES/69/292), the relationship between marine genetic resources and intellectual property rights as one of the main issues in the negotiation, as well as the outcome of the workshop on BBNJ held in Singapore, bearing in mind the negotiation to develop a new international legally binding instrument under UNCLOS will start in March.

6. At the end of the symposium, Mr. Kikawada, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, made closing remarks and reiterated that Japan, taking on the presidency of the G7 this year, is committed to take initiatives to deliver a message to the international community for the promotion of “the rule of law at sea.”

7. With the experience of this symposium, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to host fora on the law of the sea to enhance the rule of law at sea.

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