Japan is in a state where it can be said that marine resource development is almost untouched. As a country lacking in natural resources, it relies on foreign sources for many natural resources, including oil. During World War II, Japan was surrounded by ABCD as a country with no natural resources, and was in a situation similar to a food raid. They lost the war due to America's overwhelming amount of supplies. One cannot help but wonder why marine resource development did not progress after the war. Since we lost the war because we didn't have the resources, there may be many people who argue that searching for resources means starting another war, but this is a completely different story.
Japan's area is not small
Japan's land area is 380,000 km2, ranking it 62nd out of 196 countries in the world. Japanese people tend to think of Japan as a small country because they tend to focus on top-tier countries such as the United States, China, and Russia, but Germany, Finland, and Poland are smaller in area. However, Japan is a maritime nation. When looking at the total of territorial sea, contiguous zone, and EEZ, Japan ranks 6th in the world in terms of ocean area with 4.47 million km2. And if you add the extended continental shelf, it is 4.65 million km2. If Japan's land area is added to this, the area that Japan can independently mine is 5.03 million km2.
Japan accounts for 52.4% of mainland China
China is covered by countries such as Japan and Taiwan, and there are few oceans that China occupies. That's why they dream of expanding into the ocean, but China's land area is 9.6 million km2, and in fact, including the sea, Japan has about 52.4% of mainland China. is. Because China has a large land area, natural resources and oil are mined. However, Japan's seabed resources are still unknown.
Rare earths, oil, these are just the beginning
In 2018, researchers from Waseda University and Tokyo University discovered that hundreds of years' worth of global demand for rare earths, which are essential for manufacturing precision equipment, is found on the ocean floor around Minamitorishima in the Ogasawara Islands. This was discovered through the team's investigation. A research team from Ibaraki University and Hokkaido University has announced that one of the world's largest oil fields may lie dormant off the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture's Goura coast in 2020.
Cabinet Secretariat Ocean Policy Headquarters Secretariat “The Future of the Sea” Excerpt
The Basic Law on Ocean Policy was enacted in April 2007 and came into effect in July of the same year. The Basic Law on Ocean Policy outlines the basic philosophy of harmonizing the development and use of the ocean with the conservation of the marine environment, as well as the responsibilities of the national and local governments. It also stipulates that a Basic Ocean Policy Plan be established approximately every five years, and that the Ocean Policy Headquarters, headed by the Prime Minister, be established in the Cabinet. The current Basic Plan on Ocean Policy, which was approved by the Cabinet in April 2013, clarifies ``the vision of Japan as a maritime nation'' and sets out initiatives that should be prioritized in light of changes in the social situation regarding the ocean. and indicates the direction of ocean-related measures. It also specifically describes the efforts that the government should comprehensively and systematically implement over a period of approximately five years in the 12 areas specified as "basic measures" in the Basic Act on Ocean Policy. The existence of energy and mineral resources such as oil, natural gas, methane hydrate, and submarine hydrothermal deposits has been confirmed in Japan's territorial waters, EEZ, and continental shelf, and the possibility of Japan becoming a resource superpower is hidden.
Are undersea resources a treasure trove to save Japan?
The 2007 Basic Law on Ocean Policy was formulated during the first Abe Cabinet, and Japan's exploration of seabed resources went into full swing. What if Japan becomes a resource-rich nation? I would never have thought of that. Because Japan is a small country... No. There is a high possibility that there will be a breakthrough in undersea exploration. There may come a time when Japanese people don't have to work so hard.