Japan wants more Arctic cooperation with Russia

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Japan’s Ambassador in Charge of Arctic Affairs Kazuko Shiraishi speaks at Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, in October 2015. Photo: Arcticcircle.org
Japan’s Ambassador in Charge of Arctic Affairs Kazuko Shiraishi speaks at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, in October 2015. Photo: arcticcircle.org
Japan’s Ambassador in Charge of Arctic Affairs, Kazuko Shiraishi has outlined three main areas of cooperation between Russia and Japan in the Arctic: research, the Northern Sea Route and the Yamal liquefied natural gas project.

In recent years, Japanese authorities have been paying more and more attention to the Arctic. In 2009, Japan officially submitted an application for Permanent Observer status to the Arctic Council. Later, Japan started to engage more deeply in international policy in the Arctic, at both a ministerial level and at the level of research organizations.

Japan became an observer to the Arctic Council in 2013, and released its first Arctic Policy last October during the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik. The country also has observer status to the Barents Euro-Arctic Council.

(Watch Kazuko Shiraishi’s address at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik)

Speaking at a Carnegie event recently held in Moscow, Kazuko Shiraishi outlined the Japanese Arctic policy, and the prospects of Japanese-Russian cooperation in the Arctic region.

She says there are three main areas of cooperation between Russia and Japan in the Arctic. They include scientific research, use of the Northern Sea Route, and the Yamal LNG project.

Shiraishi said that Japan’s government will support Japanese companies in developing their activities in the Arctic, including the “preparation of an environment for Japanese shipping companies to utilize the Northern Sea Route.”

Japan wants to play a role in the international community when it comes to sustainability in the Arctic. “Challenges in the Arctic are extremely serious because they can impact the entire global climate,” Shiraishi said. “Climate change has brought about sea level rise and higher frequency of extreme weather events in high and middle latitude regions, including Japan”.

As the Independent Barents Observer reported, Yamal LNG owner Novatek has invited Japanese investors to take part in preparations for its next huge gas project in the Arctic, the Arctic LNG on the Gydan Peninsula.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: The Arctic Council’s capacity challenge, Blog by Heather Exner-Pirot

Iceland:  Iceland blasts Arctic Five for exclusion from fishing agreement, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Arctic Council aims to boost business, Barents Observer

Sweden:   Arctic Council – From looking out to looking in, Blog by Mia Bennett, Cryopolitics

United States:  Top Arctic official says cooperation key for Arctic Council under US leadership, Alaska Dispatch News

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