The Japanese Shipowners' Association
(JSA) and the Norwegian Shipowners' Association
(NSA) organised a bilateral high-level maritime round table conference in Tokyo on 20 May 2005.
The round table was attended by the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry and the Japanese Assistant Vice-Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, high-level representatives of Class NK and Det Norske Veritas Classification as well as the presidents of JSA and NSA.
Japanese and Norwegian interests control two of the world’s largest merchant fleets. The conference aimed at reinforcing already strong ties between the shipping communities of the two countries, a particular attention was given to the issue of promotion of quality shipping, and current topics such as coastal preparedness in case of oil spills, ship recycling and the role of classification societies publicly delegated by responsible flag states.
As leading maritime nations, the two countries committed to promote quality shipping identifying several policy initiatives they have already taken that include IMO Member State Voluntary Audit Scheme, Port State Control, regulation and incentive scheme as well as education and R & D.
Both sides share a strong common interest in ensuring that the industry is regulated globally. A firm stance was taken by both sides against regionalization that would undermine the IMO. Both sides emphasised the need to have ship recycling regulated by the IMO. Both sides further emphasised that, whereas the safety and environmental standards of ships should be regulated through the IMO, coastal states must have the main responsibility of securing systems and necessary resources for assisting ships in distress and oil spill management. Both sides recognised the important role played by the international Classification Societies in promoting quality shipping, combining the provision of commercially founded services to the shipping industry with compliance monitoring as representatives of flag states, ensuring that IMO-standards are efficiently implemented.