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Strategic Goals 4

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Legal/Policy Response and Research
Implementation for a Sustainable Arctic
Strategic Goal4

Research Director:Kentaro Nishimoto (NIPR)
Research Director : Kentaro Nishimoto (NIPR)

The Arctic as a Global Challenge

Recent years have seen a growing recognition that issues in the Arctic region, such as the rapid change in the natural environment due to climate change, are a global challenge, resulting in the development of a range of regimes at international forums.

While some of these, such as policy coordination at the Arctic Council, are led by Arctic States, others, such as the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean, which was concluded between Arctic coastal States and distant water fishing States, are of direct interest to Japan as a participating State.

Amidst this backdrop, Arctic research has rapidly developed into an important new field in social science research. Elucidating the unique and complex political processes and international regimes in the Arctic and studying institutional solutions to the various related issues based on collaboration with the natural sciences are particularly important tasks.

International Conference
International Conference
Photo: NIPR

Establishing an Academic Basis for Arctic Policy

In Strategic Goal 4, we aim to establish an academic basis for social science research to support the implementation and advancement of Japan’s Arctic policy, and to construct systems that help to link the natural science knowledge obtained through Japan’s Arctic research to the implementation of adaptation measures required in the Arctic region.

Specifically, we will present a design for resilient international institutions to support the sustainable transformation of the Arctic region based on empirical research of international laws and policies, and work to deliver our research findings in a form that serves as a reference for Japanese and other stakeholders working to address Arctic-related issues.

We will also conduct research in order to gain a holistic understanding of the complex political processes in the Arctic region, and study the conflicts of interests that exist between diverse stakeholders and find ways to accommodate them, which lie at the core of international discussions and regime formation in the Arctic region. Furthermore, we will identify the necessary legal response required to achieve sustainable utilization of the Arctic region holistically, including through research based on an economic approach, so that Japan can exercise leadership regarding the range of issues related to Arctic policy.

Problem-solving Utilizing Trans-disciplinary Expert Knowledge

The distinctive feature of Strategic Goal 4 is the adoption of a problem-solving approach that links social science research concerning the political processes and international institutions in the Arctic region to scientific knowledge regarding the changes occurring in the Arctic region and their impacts in order to contribute to the resolution of actual policy issues.

Furthermore, we hope that our research will improve and expand the quality and quantity of social science research in Japan concerning the analysis of political processes and international regimes in the Arctic region. We seek to establish an academic approach aimed at problem-solving through the utilization of trans-disciplinary expert knowledge and communicate knowledge that helps solve issues related to the sustainability of the Arctic region as the findings of Japan’s Arctic research, while contributing to the formation of a platform for Japan’s policymakers and stakeholders to develop a strategic approach to Arctic relations.

Research Programs mainly related to

International Law

International Law

Designing Resilient International Legal Regimes for a Sustainable Arctic and the Contribution of Japan

Principal Investigator Akiho Shibata(Kobe University)

International Relations

International Relations

Elucidating the Complex Dynamics of Arctic Politics and Its Contribution to Japan’s Arctic Policy

Principal Investigator Fujio Ohnishi(Hokkaido University)