On March 3, 2021 the online seminar “The Japan-Russia Interregional Cooperation in the Arctic and North – Theory and Practice” was organized as a cooperative effort involving Hokkaido University Arctic Research Center, Human Resource Development Platform for Japan-Russia Economic Cooperation and Personnel Exchange (HaRP, in particular, the specialized section “SDGs: Environment, Resource Development and Multicultural Education”), the Arctic Challenge for Sustainability (ArCS) II – project (especially research program “Elucidating the Complex Dynamics of Arctic Politics and Its Contribution to Japan’s Arctic Policy” and its subgroup 4 “Non-state actors and paradiplomacy”) and the UArctic Thematic Network on the Arctic in Asia, Asia in the Arctic. Its objectives were to: 1) analyze the issues that have been at the center of the Arctic and North-related interregional cooperation involving Japanese and Russian subnational authorities; 2) discuss the issue areas which may gain new importance in the future; 3) discuss the evolution of various forums hosting and supporting interregional government in the Arctic and North and how does the Japan-Russia interregional cooperation fit in the existing structures; 4) discuss the importance of bilateral relations between Japanese and Russian subnational governments.
The seminar with simultaneous interpretation into English, Japanese and Russian was attended by about 110 participants from Russia, Japan, Finland, Norway, US, Canada, Britain, China, Korea. It was the second in a seminar series organized as part of the ArCS II project and HaRP:
- Seminar 1 – Online workshop “Multilevel Governance and Interregional Cooperation: Vol.1 – The Pacific Arctic” held on January 12, 2021;
- Seminar 2 – Online workshop “Japan-Russia Interregional Cooperation in the Arctic and North – Theory and Practice” held on March 3, 2021;
- Seminar 3 – to be held as a side event of the World Winter Cities Association for Mayors Conference/Rovaniemi Arctic Spirit Conference in November 2021.
It drew on the results of cooperation and network of contacts established through the Cold Lands seminars / Northern Sustainable Development Forums in 2019–2020.
The seminar consisted of two parts.
Part 1 included four speeches from Russian and Japanese scholars (Dmitry Streltsov, Professor, MGIMO University (Moscow State Institute of International Relations); Alexander Sergunin, Professor, St. Petersburg State University; Akihiro Iwashita, Professor, Hokkaido University; Fujio Ohnishi, Associate Professor, Hokkaido University).
Part 2 included four speeches delivered by speakers representing Russian subnational authorities and Japanese organizations involved in the Russo-Japanese cooperation (Irina Zikunova, Chairman of the regional legislative assembly, Khabarovsk Krai; Diana Stepanova, Deputy Minister of External Relations and Ethnic Affairs of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic; Yoshihiro Takada, Hokkaido International Exchange and Cooperation Center (HIECC); Hirofumi Arai, Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia (ERINA). In addition to this, the program included a commentary speech from Professor Okabe Yoshihiko (Kobe Gakuin University).
Discussion at the end of the Part 1 focused on issues and themes such as: top-down and bottom-up approach to interregional cooperation; interregional cooperation through multilateral forums and the importance of bilateral ties; the role of China in Russo-Japanese cooperation in the Arctic. Part 2 continued from here and elaborated the role and importance of the private businesses in the interregional cooperation (Full program, please see the attachment).
This seminar brought together speakers and participants representing various universities, research institutes, different levels of national and sub-national governments and the associated agencies, private companies. We hope that it contributed at least to three kinds of discussions: 1) discussion concerning the role of non-state actors in cross-border cooperation; 2) discussion concerning the issues and forums of the interregional cooperation in the context of the Arctic and North; and 3) discussion concerning the different layers of Russo-Japanese relations. Numerous participants from Japan and Russian showed a keen interest in cooperation in the North and the Arctic, which is expected to remain one of the key issue areas for Japan-Russia academic collaboration with the involvement of public and private partners of universities on both sides.
Click here to see the full program.
Click here to see the meeting poster.
Click here to see the list of participating organizations.