More than 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by oceans. These bodies of water are not only essential for global trade and exchange, but also provide the sources of much of our energy supplies, natural resources and maritime products. Control over shipping routes and maritime resources has often been the cause of international conflicts and disasters. Although Japan's land area is relatively small by international standards--ranking 61 in the world, its declared Exclusive Economic Zone is quite large--4.5 million square nautical miles, making Japan the country with the sixth largest sea area. Therefore, the country's commercial and economic security is dependent on increasing stability of transportation sea-lanes and protecting coastal facilities.
Maritime security research aims to promote the peaceful use and sustainable development of the ocean through the study of security issues, sea environment, resource development, international cooperation, and law. Examples of activities to promote these objectives include developing sonar systems to enhance coastal security, monitoring oceanographic phenomena and marine pollution to protect the environment, improving prospecting and mining technology to increase sea resource development, and finally, consolidating international cooperation to deal with sea terrorism and piracy to enhance maritime law. The Center for Global Security hopes to enhance security and stability through research in these various fields.