Japan to create international framework for Arctic research
TOKYO -- Japan will set up an international framework for environmental research in the Arctic from next fiscal year to gain an edge in future resources development in the region.
The project will mainly focus on developing new survey and prediction technology to gauge the environmental impacts of black carbon and methane, as well as the effects of ocean acidification on the ecosystem.
The Technology Ministry will work with domestic specialists at institutions such as Hokkaido University, the National Institute of Polar Research and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.
It will also establish an international research center. Current candidates include the Russian Academy of Sciences, Far Eastern Federal University and North-Eastern Federal University in Russia, along with the Arctic University of Norway and the University Centre in Svalbard.
The ministry will likely increase its budget request for Arctic research from about 600 million yen ($5.7 million) to over 1 billion yen.
Interest is growing in the natural resources and navigation routes in the Arctic, but the environmental implications must first be examined before such developments can take place. New technologies devised through this project could become international standards, which would increase Japan's influence in crafting international regulations for the Arctic.
Decisions on the use of resources in this sensitive region, as well as cooperative policies, are made by the Arctic Council, a body comprising eight countries with territory there. Japan was granted observer status in 2013.