The Norwegian Polar Institute and Japan's National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) have signed an agreement to expand cooperation on polar research in the Arctic and the Antarctic.
The agreement was signed during the recent visit to Japan by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. Cooperation in the polar regions was one of the topics of discussion in the high-level meetings held in connection with the visit.
"The agreement attests to the willingness of both countries to work together to strengthen climate research in the Arctic and improve utilisation of existing infrastructure," asserts Jan-Gunnar Winther, Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute.
The increased attention being devoted at the NIPR to research on ice masses and climate shares many similarities with the process leading up to the establishment of the Centre for Ice, Climate and Ecosystems (ICE) at the Norwegian Polar Institute. The two institutions anticipate being able to collaborate in a number of areas.
"Subjects covered in the agreement include glaciology, pollution in the Arctic and atmospheric research," Dr Winther adds. "The activities comprise knowledge transfer of global significance. Japan is clearly intensifying its national effort to better understand the changes taking place in the Arctic, and view these in relation to the changes it is experiencing at home."
Norway and Japan have collaborated on polar research in both the Arctic and the Antarctic for many years. Japan has research stations in Ny-Ålesund in the Svalbard archipelago and in Dronning Maud Land in Antarctica.
Norwegian polar seminar in Tokyo
In connection with Prime Minister Stoltenberg's official visit to Japan, the Research Council and Innovation Norway organised a seminar entitled "Polar Climate and Ecosystem Research ' Opportunities for Norway-Japan Collaboration". The seminar formed the backdrop for the formal signing of the agreement.
The fact that the agreement was signed in connection with a state visit is further indication of the significance of the cooperation now being established between the two polar institutes.