Joint Norwegian and Japanese Commitment to Polar Research

The Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) and the Japanese National Institute for Polar Research (NIPR) chose today to strengthen their cooperation on polar research in the Arctic and Antarctic. The new agreement (MOU) renews a longstanding collaboration between the institutes and was signed today as part of the ongoing Norwegian state visit to Japan.

Signed Agreement of Cooperation: From left, standing – Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Arne Walter and Research Director Nalân Koç; sitting – Kazuyuki Shiraishi and Director Jan-Gunnar Winther.

This is a declaration of intention,” said Jan-Gunnar Winther, Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute. “The agreement provides a joint strengthening of climate research in the Arctic, in addition to better utilization of infrastructure. In the political discussions taking place during the state visit, the Polar Regions have been extremely prominent,” Winther pointed out.

NIPR’s expansion of research related to ice and climate has much in common with the establishment of the Centre for Ice, Climate and Ecosystems (ICE) at NPI. This parallel investment led the institutes to review the agreement of collaboration, and they envision numerous areas for cooperation.

“The agreement encompasses, among other things, collaboration on glaciology, pollution in the Arctic, and atmospheric research,” said Winther, adding “this is knowledge exchange of global significance and contributes to supporting Japan’s desire to understand the changes happening in the Arctic, seen in connection with those they see at home.”

Norway and Japan have cooperated on polar research, both in the Arctic and Antarctic, for many years. Japan has stations in Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard and in Dronning Maud Land in Antarctica. The importance of this cooperation between the two polar institutes is reinforced by the fact that the signing was part of a state visit.