September 16, 2019
 In 2022-Arctic Circle Resource Exploitation

Country: Japan
Delegate Name: Celina Du

Decades of land-based material exploitation, pollution, and unsustainable practices have caused universal shortage in natural resources, as well as rising temperatures. The Arctic Circle has become an area of particular interest, both for its land, natural gas, and oil, now available due to climate change. Improving technology has contributed to the successful extraction of those resources and the increasing desire to exploit Arctic riches. Japan is called upon to recognize both the Arctic’s latent possibilities and its vulnerability to environmental changes, and to play a leading role for sustainable development in the Arctic in the international community, with foresight and policy based on science and technology where Japan has advantage in order to achieve sustainable development.

For more than 70 years, since the 1950s, Japan has carried out observations of environmental change in the Arctic. Given its long-term accumulation of scientific knowledge in the Arctic, Japan is expected to further contribute to the sustainable use of its resources, including active engagement in decision and rulemaking. Japan is not an Arctic state, but a “maritime state” that is surrounded by the sea. Japan is easily affected by climate change in the Arctic region through oceanic and atmospheric circulation.

Japan should create an enabling system for long term engagement in research and observation of environmental changes in the Arctic, as well as for promoting research and development of methods for marine environmental impact assessments, which includes further improvement in numerical modeling. In addition, Japan will contribute to efforts to reduce global warming in the Arctic and protect the marine environment of the Arctic Ocean through appropriate national implementation of UNCLOS and other international agreements like the Polar Code, that formulate mandatory international standards for the safety of ships operating in polar waters, along with the Paris Agreement, which is the international framework for GHG emission reductions from 2020. Taking into account the cross-sectoral nature of Arctic issues, it is essential for Japan to work with the UN and establish a coordinated system that allows for implementation of integrated measures for addressing these polarizing issues at hand.