DG Okonjo-Iweala said: “I welcome Japan's formal acceptance of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. This significant step forward holds great importance considering Japan's status as a prominent fishing nation and as a steadfast supporter of the WTO and the multilateral trading system. As we continue to navigate the challenges posed by overfishing and the depletion of fish stocks, the active participation of Japan and the wider WTO membership will be crucial.”

Ambassador Yamazaki said: “This Agreement was passed by the Diet with unanimous approval. This is an expression of our strong determination as a country surrounded by the sea and historically familiar with fishery resources, and as a promoter of a multilateral trade system, to work together as one to ensure food security and achieve sustainable fisheries based on rules.”

“Japan will never stop moving forward. We still have two significant goals ahead. One is to bring the Agreement into force by MC13 (13th Ministerial Conference), and the other is to conclude the second wave negotiation by MC13. Japan will reach out to other Members to accelerate the ratification process and constructively engage in the future negotiations including the upcoming fish week next week,” he said.

Japan's instrument of formal acceptance is the 12th instrument received by the WTO. Acceptances from two-thirds of WTO members are needed for the Agreement to come into effect. The list of members that have submitted their acceptance of the Agreement is available here.

Adopted by consensus at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) held in Geneva on 12-17 June 2022, the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies sets new binding, multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world's fish stocks.  In addition, the Agreement recognizes the needs of developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) and establishes a fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the obligations.

The Agreement prohibits support for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bans support for fishing overfished stocks, and ends subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas.

Members also agreed at MC12 to continue negotiations on outstanding issues, with a view to making recommendations by MC13, to be held in February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement.

The full text of the Agreement can be accessed here. Information for members on how to accept the Protocol of Amendment is available here.




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