Post-ArCS Arctic Law and Policy Research: Agendas for 2020-2025

A/Prof. Kentaro Nishimoto1

1Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

Paralleling the development of a distinctive legal and governance regime for the Arctic, the importance of Arctic law and research has steadily gained recognition within Japan’s overall research efforts in the Arctic. Building on the previous GRENE program (2011-2016), the Arctic Challenge for Sustainability (ArCS) program (2015-2020) incorporated research in the field of humanities and social sciences, and sought to establish interdisciplinary collaboration. To achieve Japan’s stated policy of contributing to the sustainable development of the Arctic through its capabilities in the field of science and technology, mere accumulation of scientific knowledge will not suffice. As the impact of climate change is increasingly felt in the Arctic, it is imperative that Arctic law and policy research in the post-ArCS phase continue to address efforts at the international level to respond to the changes, and also to effectively channel scientific knowledge into rule-making processes. In this regard, Post-ArCS research should include not only already well-discussed issues such as the regulation of Arctic shipping and Central Arctic Ocean high seas fisheries, but also issues that have hitherto received less attention in Japan such as the rights of the indigenous peoples in the Arctic.


Kentaro Nishimoto is Associate Professor of International Law at the School of Law, Tohoku University, Japan. His research focuses on the international law of the sea, including issues such as the sustainable development of ocean resources and the governance of the Arctic Ocean. He is advisor to the Japanese delegation to the intergovernmental conference on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). His recent publications in English include “The Rights and Interests of Japan in regard to Arctic Shipping” in Robert C. Beckman et al. (eds.), Governance of Arctic Shipping (Brill, 2017),

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