2017 'Umi-to-Nippon' Events Across JapanLaunch ceremony for various events during summer and fall held on July17
The Umi-to-Nippon Project (The Ocean and Japan Project), a joint project of the Cabinet Office’s Headquarters for Ocean Policy, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and The Nippon Foundation, aims to renew the bonds between Japanese people, and especially children and young people, with the ocean, and to pass on clean and beautiful oceans to the next generation. Many of the project’s events are held during the summer months of July and August, and a ceremony to mark the launch of this year’s events was held on July 17, which was the Marine Day public holiday in Japan. Marine Day is a relatively new holiday, first held in 1996 and now observed on the third Monday of July, to give thanks for the ocean’s bounty and wish for Japan’s prosperity as a maritime nation. A symposium was held after the ceremony, to review the results and issues that have arisen over the 10 years since the enactment of the Basic Act on Ocean Policy in 2007. More than 1,500 events across Japan are planned for the project this year, with roughly 1.5 million people expected to attend.
The launch ceremony was held at Harumi Wharf passenger terminal, on Tokyo Bay. A group of 90 children and their parents, who had been selected by lottery, and 12 junior high school students from the city of Kobe who had sailed to Harumi on the Nippon Maru, a training sailing ship, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the opening of Kobe Port, attended the ceremony.
Message from Prime Minister Abe
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also serves as Director-General of the Headquarters for Ocean Policy, submitted a message that was read to the attendees. The message discussed events of the past 10 years and the Third Basic Plan on Ocean Policy, which is scheduled to be implemented from the spring. He indicated that the plan will include not only industrial uses of the ocean, but also measures to understand and address the wide range of issues related to safety that will be strategically pursued at the national level. Noting the importance, along with diplomacy, of cooperation among maritime safety institutions around the world toward the realization of “open and safe seas,” he announced that a summit would be held to bring together the leaders of maritime safety institutions from around the world who are on the front line of addressing these issues.
This message was followed by opening remarks by Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation. He spoke specifically to the children in attendance, using language that they could easily understand.
“Two-thirds of the earth is ocean. Please value our ‘mother ocean’ just like you value your own mother. The ocean is quietly screaming. If it becomes any more polluted there will be no more fish, and humans cannot live without fish. However, most people are not aware of this. Japan is a maritime nation that cannot exist without the ocean. That is why Japan is the only country in the world that has Marine Day as a national holiday. The ocean is very important. Let’s work to make sure that the world loves the ocean more, and doesn’t let it become more polluted. Today you will learn many things about the ocean. Please have fun doing so.”
Symposium and other events
A symposium was held after the ceremony, on the themes of maintaining maritime safety and maritime capacity building. The symposium reviewed the results and issues that have arisen in the 10 years since the Basic Act on Ocean Policy was enacted, and considered possible benefits of the next Basic Plan.
A variety of other events for the general public, including a hands-on workshop, maritime seminar, and exhibition were held for the general public, with an emphasis on getting children, who will be responsible for the ocean in the future, to feel the importance of the ocean personally. In addition, a car carrier ship operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, the training sailing ship Nippon Maru, a deep-sea exploration vessel, and a fisheries patrol boat offered tours to the general public.
The Nippon Foundation