1st International Collaborative Committee for Improving Marine Surveillance Capacity in the Three Micronesian Nations
Your Excellency, Brenson S. Wase, Minister of Justice of the Republic of the Marshall Islands; Your Excellency, Francis I. Itimai, Secretary of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure of the Federated States of Micronesia; your Excellency, John C. Gibbons, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Palau, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the delegations from the three Micronesian nations for their presence here today.
At the same time, I must also acknowledge the important contributions to security made by Australia and the United States in the vast Micronesian sea region, and heartily welcome their delegations as well.
I also offer my sincere thanks to Mr. Hisayasu Suzuki, Commandant of the Japan Coast Guard, for representing the Japanese Government today.
It is a great pleasure to welcome all of you to this meeting of the First International Collaborative Committee for Improving Marine Surveillance Capacity in the Three Micronesian Nations.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea states that the sea and its resources are the “common heritage of mankind.”
As such, everyone alive today has a responsibility to leave the oceans in good order for succeeding generations.
Our lives are supported by the oceans, yet the way we live is destroying the marine ecosystem.
The oceans are being ravaged, and the seas are becoming a dumping ground for the waste products of human greed.
If we continue to use the finite resources of the oceans in this way, they could be depleted within our lifetime.
The Micronesian seas are no exception.
In the expanse of waters around Micronesia, accidents, smuggling and poaching represent growing threats, and rescue and surveillance capabilities cannot keep pace.
Moreover, increased illegal fishing by foreign vessels and over-fishing are giving rise to serious concerns regarding the depletion of marine produce.
In addition, pollution from garbage, industrial waste, and illegal dumping by ships is having a serious effect on the marine environment. These problems not only undermine the peace and prosperity of the Micronesian nations, but also threaten the livelihood of their citizens.
If we are to shoulder our responsibilities as users and beneficiaries of the world’s oceans, we must change our notion that they are an infinite resource.
We need to protect the oceans and take action against the undesirable changes they are now undergoing.
Contamination of the marine environment is a problem that goes beyond national borders. Marine pollution has potentially serious consequences for all coastal populations.
We must come together and stop the contamination of our oceans.
We face further challenges in the form of hostage-taking and the plunder of valuable resources and property at sea.
No one country can resolve these.
To confront these evils we face in common, and restore order to our oceans, we must work together.
This is how we should address problems in the Micronesian sea area.
We need greater cooperation and a comprehensive approach to the development, use, preservation, and management of the Micronesian seas.
The central topic of this meeting is “improving marine surveillance and comprehensively managing the Micronesian sea area”.
We could take a very positive step toward this if Australia, the United States, and Japan were to offer their knowledge and experience and build a partnership of trust with the Micronesian nations.
The three Micronesian nations are currently looking at ways to set up a marine surveillance system under their own initiative.
Such a system, if realized with the support of related countries, will hopefully provide valuable opportunities to promote comprehensive management of the Micronesian seas.
The time has come for humankind to develop a maritime perspective.
One that sets the welfare of our oceans as a top priority.
At such a time, dialogue to promote international cooperation and partnership for the preservation and security of the Pacific seas has real significance.
All of you, as participants in this dialogue, can make a massive contribution to the world’s oceans by bringing your ideas, knowledge, insight, and leadership to bear.
This meeting symbolizes a new step forward in relations between the Micronesian nations and related countries.
In that sense, too, it is highly significant.
It also represents a pioneering case of partnership between the government and the private sector.
As a representative of one of the organizers, The Nippon Foundation, I am very pleased that we, as a private organization, have been able to assist.
I hope that through your discussions, new possibilities will emerge for the use and management of the Micronesian seas.
The Nippon Foundation will continue to cooperate fully with all positive and constructive approaches.
Lastly, I would like to thank once again the delegations of the three Micronesian countries, as well as those of Australia and the United States.
I would also like to thank the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Japan Coast Guard, and Japan Maritime Center for their professional and technical advice.