In this year’s keynote speeches, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and the Fisheries Agency gathered on stage to introduce their initiatives, which highlighted the importance of global and local effort to protect and improve the marine environment.
Mr. Kamagata introduced the international movements surrounding the marine environment, and the efforts being made to preserve marine biodiversity.
The IPBES Global Assessment Report stated that global plastic pollution has increased by ten times since 1980, and is affecting over 267 species. The issues surrounding the plastic pollution was widely discussed at this year’s G20 Osaka Summit, where the G20 “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” as well as its work plan were announced.
The Ministry of the Environment announced the “Plastic Smart” campaign, which promotes smarter ways of handling plastics through reducing, reusing, and properly collecting the plastic wastes.
One of the 2020 Aichi Goals was to set 10% of the ocean as a marine sanctuary. The amended Natural Environment Conservation Act will take effect in April 2020, which will widen the area of the ocean floor that receives protection.
Mr. Kamagata finished by stating that, in order to fulfill the post 2020 goals, Japan needs to revisit the concept of the cohabitation of people and nature, and place greater importance on considering biodiversity in economic activities.
Mr. Tsukada from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs focused on the global effort to reduce ocean plastics and to combat IUU fishing. The issues surrounding the global ocean such as ocean plastics and IUU fishing extend beyond borders and require multinational collaborative efforts. Mr. Tsukada introduced efforts being made by the Japanese government from a foreign policy perspective.
One of the goals of the “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” announced at the G20 Summit was to reduce additional pollution by plastic litters to zero by 2050. Mr. Tsukada highlighted that setting the deadline 2050 and having a clear goal were significant steps forward.
To achieve this vision, Japan has begun working on an international initiative called the MARINE INITIATIVE. It brings together waste management (MAnagement), the recovery of marine waste (Recovery), and innovation (INnovation), to empower developing nations (Empowerment). This initiative will expand internationally through bilateral ODAs, and the work of businesses, NGOs, and municipalities.
Mr. Tsukada also introduced the High Level Panel for A Sustainable Ocean Economy, which is led by Norway, joined by 14 other large Maritime nations, including Japan.
One of the issues the panel focuses on is IUU (illegal, unreported, and unregulated) fishing. Those nations are making efforts to block out all IUU fishing through the denial of entrance to ports, ship inspections, and acquiring robust traceability.
This initiative requires continuous collaborative efforts between politics and science and is expected to encourage future multi-vector foreign policy.
Governor Koike spoke regarding the fast-approaching Tokyo Olympics and Tokyo’s Olympics legacy.
The ocean surface temperature around Japan has increased by 1.2℃ in the last 100 years. This is 0.5℃ higher than the global average. Increased ocean temperature not only causes marine resource loss such as shore denudation and decrease in the fishing area, but It also causes abnormal weather such as including typhoons and large scale rain.
Another big problem is the pollution from plastic waste. Almost all marine debris comes from the plastic used in our everyday lives, and it needs to be stopped at its source. Tokyo has initiated a discussion with inland prefectures to develop countermeasures.
Additionally, to promote the sustainable use of marine resources, Tokyo is continuing to implement oceanographic surveys, fishing regulations, maintaining fishing areas, and utilizing unused resources. She closed by stating that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is an opportunity to realize future perspectives and sustainable use of marine resources.
The last keynote speaker was Takashi Koya from the Fisheries Agency. Last year, the fisheries policy was reformed for the first time in 70 years; Mr. Koya discussed the significance of the policy reform as well as the implementation to undertake.
The biggest point of the policy reform was the change in harvest management. Until now, 40% of Japan’s fisheries were managed by the size and number of fishing boats as well as fishing methods. This management method was not effective in terms of recording the actual catch volume, which is essential information for resource management and recovery.
Currently, only 84 species are assessed for resource management purposes. The new policy requires 200 species to be assessed and managed by 2023. This means that 80% of all fish caught in Japan will be managed with proper scientific data.
Also, the new policy focuses on improving the quality of resource management and its related assessment. The new resource assessment will look at not only the historical trend of the past 20 years, but it will also look at the recovery potential of the stock. It will also incorporate the pressure from commercial fishing and make sure that the resource is not overfished. He highlighted that independent research institutions should conduct such resource assessments.
The new Fisheries Policy will take effect in December 2020. He stated that they will strive to develop a sustainable fishing industry by creating clear goals, strengthening their management by data, and improving and expanding resource assessments.
Ministry of the Environment Vice‐Minister of the Environment
Born in Tokyo, October 1959. He joined the Environment Agency in 1984.
Hiroshi was Director-General of the Ministry of the Environment, Director of the Global Environment Bureau, Chief Director of the Minister’s Secretariat for Countermeasures for Waste & Recycling, Cabinet Secretariat Councilor (Deputy Cabinet Secretary) & Head of the Cabinet Secretariat Nuclear Regulation Reform Promotion Organization & Deputy Director‐General of the Ministry of the Environment, Treasurer in Chief, Director of General Affairs of the Global Environment Bureau, Cabinet Secretariat Counselor, and more before he took on his present post in July 2019.
During that time, in addition to being involved with the establishment of the Ministry of the Environment, he was engaged with countermeasures for global warming, the reconstruction & restoration of Fukushima, countermeasures for Minamata Disease, measures for recyclable resources, and more.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister & Director-General for Global Issues (Ambassador)
Previously he was Deputy Assistant Minister for Economic Affairs and Latin American & Caribbean Affairs (2019) and Deputy Assistant Minister for Parliamentary Affairs (2018).
He was Chief Negotiator for Climate Change for COP 23 (2017), while serving as board member of the Green Climate Fund and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (2017-2018).
Joined the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1987. Worked in the areas of trade (TPP and bilateral FTAs), development cooperation (loan aid; policy planning; ODA budget) and energy & food security, among others.
He was seconded to the Cabinet Secretariat in 2006-2008 as senior coordinator for overseas development cooperation and global health.
Foreign postings in London (Economic & Energy) 1990-1992; Moscow (Political &Foreign Policy) 1999-2001;
Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva (Political &Human Rights) 2001-2004; New Delhi (Economic & Development Cooperation)
2011-2014; Washington D.C. (Culture, Media, Strategic Communication) 2014-2017.
Graduated from Tokyo University (BA Law, 1987) and Oxford University (Merton College, BA/MA Modern History, 1990).
Born on November 23, 1964; he is an amateur flautist and a keen Shogi (Japanese Chess) player.
Governor of Tokyo
October 1976 Graduated from Cairo University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Sociology
July 1992 Elected to House of Councilors
July 1993 Elected to House of Representatives
September 2003 Minister of Environment
September 2004 Additional duties as Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories
September 2006 Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security Issues
July 2007 Minister of Defense
September 2010 President of the Liberal Democratic Party
October 2011 Budget Committee Director of the House of Representatives
July 2016 Elected Governor of Tokyo Metropolis
Fisheries Agency Director General of Resources Management Department
March 1985 Bachelor of Fisheries (University of Kyushu)
June 1993 Master of Marine Affairs (University of Washington)
April 1985 Joined Fisheries Agency, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
August 2006 Vise Director General of the Fisheries Department in Ishikawa Prefecture
July 2008 Chief Negotiator, International Affairs Division, Fisheries Agency
July 2012 Senior Officer, Fisheries Management Division, Fisheries Agency
April 2014 Councilor of Resources Management Department, Fisheries Agency
April 2016 Director of Resources and Environment Research Division, Fisheries Agency
July 2017 Director General of Resources Management Department, Fisheries Agency
-Japanese Head of Delegation to North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC) (2017-now)