Coast Guard Global Summit ~Opening Session~

Tokyo, Japan

As chairman of The Nippon Foundation, it is a great honor to co-host with the Japan Coast Guard, this meeting of the heads of coast guard agencies around the world.

The world’s oceans have truly been generous. They have blessed us with their bountiful resources and sustained our development as a civilization. But our insatiable appetite for growth and prosperity has put enormous pressure on our oceans. So heavy has this burden become, that if nothing is done to reverse it, our very existence will soon be threatened.

As an organization that has long been voicing concerns over the serious state of the world’s oceans, The Nippon Foundation has been actively pursuing a mission to pass on sustainable oceans to our future generations, tens of thousands of years into the future.

One of these initiatives has been the Meeting of the Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies. Various countries from Asia participated to discuss topics such as counter piracy and terrorism in the Malacca Singapore Strait, and responses to large-scale disasters. The Nippon Foundation co-hosted this event for 10 years, from 2004, with the Japan Coast Guard. The annual meetings led to greater regional cooperation in countering piracy and enhancing disaster preparedness. This global summit will build on our successes in Asia to take up various challenges threatening our oceans at a global level.

Speaking of global ocean issues, this past June, the United Nations held its first Ocean Conference in New York. Member states and NGOs came together to develop an action plan to overcome global crises including heavy pollution, depleted fisheries, and loss of coastal habitats.

With international attention on the rise, now more than ever, the world’s coastguards have increasing roles to play. Not only will your existing roles as first responders and protectors of life at sea increase in importance, your joint efforts powered by enhanced dialogue and cooperation will be vital in overcoming diverse challenges facing the world.

We, The Nippon Foundation would like to continue working together with the Japan Coast Guard to hold this global summit in the future.

I wish you all fruitful discussions toward greater global cooperation.