Japan has long been characterized as a nation with virtually no natural resources like oil, natural gas, coal, iron and copper. More than 125 million people live on land area ranking only 61st in the world in terms of size.

But it has been proven of late that Japan has two huge potential areas rich in natural resources, which have so far remained untapped. One is the oceans surrounding its archipelago and the other, forests covering large portions of its land.

Japan's territorial waters and exclusive economic zones, the latter including continental shelves with exclusive rights for exploitation, cover 4.47 million square kilometers — the sixth largest in the world behind countries like the United States, France, Australia and Russia but exceeding China, Brazil and India.