ArCS II International Law Research Program

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Research Program
Briefing Paper Series & Press Release

Designing Resilient International Legal Regimes for a Sustainable Arctic and the Contribution of Japan: This research aims to create a blueprint for resilient international regimes to support the sustainability of the transforming Arctic region, based on evidence-based research on international law and policy related to the Arctic. Maintaining and strengthening the rule of law in the Arctic region is a pillar of Japan’s Arctic policy.
We have established some study groups under this project during 2020-21.

Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic (2022-25) (members only )

14th Polar Law Symposium (Symposium Homepage)

Re-establishing the Rule-Based Polar Cooperation: International Collaborative Research on International Polar Law (2023-2029)

The Arctic and Antarctic regions are a barometer of changes in the international order based on postwar rules. The Arctic region, where global warming is more than three times the global average, and the Antarctic region, where ice sheet melting is said to pose the greatest risk of future sea level rise, are areas where international cooperation in scientific observation and resource management is increasingly needed, and where the future of the Earth and humankind may depend on the common interests of all humanity. This research project will present a new "International Polar Law" to detect the signs of geopolitical and anthropogenic changes occurring in both polar regions in a timely and accurate manner, to grasp the international legal implications of such changes in an integrated manner, and to rebuild a foundation for international cooperation based on basic principles and rules common to both polar regions. The project aims to create a new trend of polar international law research by connecting Arctic and Antarctic international law research through the international collaborative network with the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland in Finland and the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania, Arctic Centre of University of Groningen in The Netherlands, Polar Law Program of University of Akureyri in Iceland, and Wilson Center Polar Institute in USA.

Fund for the Promotion of Joint International Research (International Collaborative Research)(September 2023- March 2029)

The Resilience of the Antarctic Treaty System under the Anthropocene (2021-2026)

This research project aims to analyze the resilience of Antarctic Treaty System utilizing “Social Natural Sciences” methodology (Polar Journal 6-2 (2016)), encouraging an interface between the knowledge and forecasts from the state-of-the-art natural science disciplines and social sciences, in this case, legal studies on the Antarctic. A legal research, particularly an Antarctic legal research, under the Anthropocene requires to broaden its purview beyond its normal considerations of space and time, by taking into consideration the current scientific knowledge regarding the Antarctic and the Earth and their future forecasts spanning over 100 years. Only by doing so, the legal research on the Antarctic Treaty System can provide policy choices that would maintain and even strengthen the System’s resilience to the future challenges posed by Anthropocene. These practical policy recommendations will be proposed at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting planned to be hosted by Japan in 2026.

Grant-in-Aid for Challenging Research (Pioneering) (July 2021- March 2026)

Mitsubishi Foundation Antarctic Treaty System Studies (2020-23)

The Future of the Antarctica: A Comprehensive Research in Preparation for 2026 ATCM in Japan: This is an interdisciplinary and inclusive dialogue-oriented research on legal, policy, scientific and logistical challenges the Antarctic Treaty System will face in the near future, to prepare for the agenda items of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) expected to be hosted by Japan in 2026.
We have established some study groups under this funding.

ATS Resilience Book Project (2018-23) (members only )

SCAR SCHASS PoLSciNex Action Group (2019-21)

The Future of Antarctic Cooperation and Global Geopolitical Challenges(HP)

Mitsui Environment Fund Arctic International Legal Research Forum (2020-2022)

The objective of this forum is to study how to achieve sustainable use of Arctic resources (e.g. oil & gas development, fisheries in the CAO and the Arctic Ocean as a sea route) from an international legal perspective with particular attention to indigenous peoples and environmental protection. This forum attempts to discuss not only with researchers but also with private companies who are involved in developing resources in the Arctic.