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Tokyos bid to upgrade the status of a Pacific atoll into an island, and claim an exclusive economic zone around it, was dismissed by the United Nations.China welcomed the decision as “fair and reasonable”.”
Japans claim of an outer continental shelf based on Okinotori Atoll was not acknowledged by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, said on Wednesday, quoting information released by the UN agency.
The UN dismissal prevents Japan claiming the Okinotori Atoll as an island. An “island” designation allows a state to proclaim a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone around it and sole rights to resources within the zone.
PM Noda yesterday returned to Tokyo from his first foreign diplomatic foray—at the U.N. in New York. There he addressed the General Assembly—or what was left of it, since he had the bad luck of speaking after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, for whose plea for Palestinian statehood and independent a standing room only audience of delegates had assembled, but then immediately afterward dispersed, leaving the hall fairly empty.
A pity, perhaps, because for Japan, and PM Noda, the appearance and speech had an important purpose, which was to officially thank the “international community” for the assistance to and sympathy for Japan following the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami, Fukushima nuclear accident disasters. Also, it was an occasion—not to be missed—for Japan to pledge to fully and continuously study the lessons learned from Fukushima, and to be a global leader in propagating safe use of nuclear power.
Finally, it was a chance for Noda to appear on a “world stage,” even if it was mostly cameras from Japanese TV networks recording the event.
By all accounts, in all above respects, the U.N. speech was a success.
Britain on Tuesday backed Japan’s claim for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and promised to support its economic integration with the EU after the two nations’ foreign ministers met in London.
Foreign Secretary William Hague also told Takeaki Matsumoto, his Japanese counterpart, that Britain had "great admiration" for Japan’s response to the March earthquake and tsunami which devastated the country’s northeast coast.
"Japan is unquestionably our closest partner in Asia," Hague said in a statement.
Japan announced Wednesday a two-billion-dollar environment rescue package for developing countries in a bid to kick-start tense UN talks aimed at securing a pact on saving biodiversity.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Japan wanted to help lead the world in protecting the world’s animals and plants from extinction, and offered the money to poor nations over the next three years.
"Our generation must resist the ongoing extinction and bequeath to future generations our rich and abundant earth," Kan said as he unveiled his government’s aid package that would be spent on protecting ecosystems.
Kan was addressing delegates from more than 190 countries who are in the central Japanese city of Nagoya trying to broker a treaty aimed at ending the world’s rapid loss of biodiversity.
A U.S.-backed proposal to ban the export of Atlantic bluefin tuna prized in sushi was rejected Thursday by a U.N. wildlife meeting, with scores of developing nations joining Japan in opposing a measure they feared would devastate fishing economies.
Monaco introduced the proposal at the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES. It argued that extreme measures for the iconic, migratory fish were necessary because the stocks have fallen by 75 percent due to widespread overfishing.
But as debate opened, it became clear that the proposal had little support. Only the United States, Norway and Kenya supported the proposal outright. The European Union asked that implementation be delayed until May 2011 to give authorities time to respond to concerns about overfishing.