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Japan Claims Massive Continental Shelf

Posted November. 01, 2008 03:02,   


The Japan Ocean Policy Research Foundation yesterday decided to ask the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to recognize that a continental shelf spanning 740,000 square kilometers belongs to Japan.

The continental shelf in question includes a massive seabed east of Japan’s easternmost island of Minamitori and its southernmost island of Okinotori.

The gross area of the seafloor is twice as large as all of Japan.

The leading Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun said rare metals are buried beneath the ocean floor near Japan. Methane hydrates, which are expected to replace oil, are also known to be buried in the seabed.

The Japanese government said it can speed up efforts to harness the resources if the seabed is recognized as part of Japan’s continental shelf.

The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that a continental shelf extending 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from a nation’s coast belongs to the country. States, however, also have rights to the seabed of the continental shelf up to 350 nautical miles from the coast if the configuration and geological features of the seabed are considered part of the land.

Japan applied for the rights to the seabed of the continental shelf spanning 350 nautical miles.

The daily also said certain parts of the seabed can be also claimed by other nations, including the United States.