Foreign Minister's Major Speeches and Articles: Foreign Policy Speech to the 132th Session of the Diet

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono

20 January 1995

At the start of this 132nd Session of the National Diet, before setting forth my views on Japan s basic foreign policy, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the victims of the Southern Hyogo Earthquake, which occurred on 17 January, and to the bereav ed families they have left behind. My deepest and most heartfelt sympathies go out to tho se who have been injured and those whose lives and property have been damaged by the catas trophe. I would also like to take this opportunity to pass on to the people of Japan the sympathies and offers of support and assistance which have been conveyed to us by many other countries around the world, and to express my sincerest gratitude to those countries who have been so gracious with their offers.

The International Situation and the Role of Japan

The international community has been untiring in its efforts to secure true pe ace and prosperity in the post-Cold War era. However, as many issues remain to be sol ved both in the political and economic sectors, this aim is difficult to achieve. Needles s to say, the goal of the foreign policy of a country is to work steadily for the interests of it s people, based on a firm understanding of the realities of the international political situation ; yet during this time of deepening interdependence among countries, it has become more and more clea r that Japan s security and prosperity can only be achieved as part of the peace and prosperity of the entire international community. Recognizing this, I am determined to make every effort to ensure that Japan s foreign policy plays a creative role in global peace an d prosperity.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. On this anni versary year I reaffirm my belief that Japan, in accordance with the principles enshrined i n the Japanese Constitution, namely respect for basic human rights, democracy and peace, must strive to realize those principles in the international community as well and work to bu ild a better future for all humankind.

Major Policy Issues

Now I would like to speak on the major policy issues Japan must address.

Peaceful Resolution of Regional Conflicts

First of all, the response given to regional conflicts is an important issue f acing the international community in the post-Cold War period. To resolve this issue, I believe that a comprehensive approach from every appropriate direction is important, includ ing conflict prevention, political resolution, ceasefire and election monitoring, humanitar ian assistance, and assistance for rehabilitation and reconstruction. Naturally, Japan will not r esort to the use of force, prohibited by its Constitution, but Japan intends, in light of specific individual circumstances, to take a positive approach towards conflict resolution in a ma nner that will allow it to make the most appropriate contributions.

With regard to last year s United Nations Peace-keeping Operations (PKO), Japa n participated in operations in El Salvador and Mozambique; Japan will also coop erate positively in future United Nations Peace-keeping Operations, from the perspec tive of providing, respectively, personnel, material and financial contributions. Wit h regard to assistance for Rwandan refugees, Japan dispatched approximately 400 Self-Defen se Force units and other personnel to implement its first large-scale humanitarian inte rnational relief operations, and they fulfilled their mission and returned to Japan safely. I would like to commend them for their excellent work. The Government of Japan intends to con tinue to 999 cooperate with the international community to its utmost ability, as it reinfo rces links with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other private-sector assistance acti vities, with a view to accomplishing such tasks as establishing an environment for Rwandan refugee assistance and repatriation, and for stabilization of the situation within Rwa nda. Furthermore, in addition to steps to resolve the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, such as taking measures to provide humanitarian assistance and exercising preventive diplomacy in the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula, Japan will take steps to promote peace in the Middle East by strengthening political dialogue, by participating in multilateral negotiation s and by providing assistance to the Palestinians and to the countries surrounding Israel. In th e future Japan intends to cooperate even further in these ways in order to resolve regional c onflicts peacefully.

Further Efforts To Promote Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

Second, Japan will work actively on the issues of arms control and disarmament , including efforts on such matters as the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destructio n. Last year saw some advances in such matters as the conclusion of the Agreed Framework be tween the United States and North Korea regarding the issue of nuclear weapons developme nt in North Korea, as well as Ukraine s accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the consequent coming into effect of the First Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (ST ART I); and yet there remains a grave danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons. In the midst of thesedevelopments, Japan, as the only country to have suffered nuclear devastation, will not only firmly maintain its three non-nuclear principles, but will also continue its e fforts towards the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons. As one aspect of the efforts Japan i s undertaking in this regard, last year Japan submitted to the United Nations General Assemb ly a resolution on Nuclear Disarmament with a View to the Ultimate Elimination of Nuclear Weap ons, which was adopted by an overwhelming majority. Japan intends to take a positive app roach to achieve the early conclusion of negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear test b an treaty, as well as the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Fur thermore, it is important to prevent the proliferation of other weapons of mass destruction an d missiles, and that the sale of arms be limited, in light of the fact that many conflicts are becoming increasingly serious because of the stockpiling of large amounts of convention al weapons. Japan will make efforts in this regard.

With respect to the issue of nuclear weapons development in North Korea, it is important that the Agreed Framework between the United States and North Korea be reliably imp lemented, and that the concerns of the international community over nuclear weapons deve lopment in North Korea be dispelled. Towards this end, Japan will continue to make its u tmost efforts in close coordination with the United States, the Republic of Korea and other countries concerned.

Securing the Prosperity of the World Economy

Third, Japan must play a significant role in securing the prosperity of the wo rld economy. The economies of the industrialized countries are, in general, experiencing re covery and expansion, but they still face serious difficulties, such as unemployment. Be cause of these circumstances, and with a view to ensuring the sustainable growth of the world economy, Japan needs to strive for domestic demand-led economic management, to further improve access to its markets and to alleviate differentials between domestic and over seas prices through domestic economic reforms including the implementation of comprehensiv e deregulation, in order to achieve a significant reduction in its current accou nt surplus over the medium term.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established on 1 January 1995. Under t he WTO, in addition to a substantial tariff reduction, rules in such areas as trade in services, trade- related aspects of intellectual property rights, and dispute settlement proced ures will be newly established or strengthened. These developments are of great significance for maintaining and enhancing the multilateral free-trading system; and here I would like once aga in to express my gratitude for the cooperation of all those who participated in more than se ven years of negotiations on the Uruguay Round, including agricultural issues, and in subse quent domestic procedures. While playing an active role in the WTO, Japan will seriously eng age itself in post-Uruguay Round issues, such as investment liberalization, trade and enviro nment, thereby contributing to a further strengthening of the multilateral free-trading system.

Cooperation with Developing Countries and Former Socialist Countries

The fourth issue to be addressed by Japan is the promotion of economic and soc ial development and ensuring respect for human rights and democracy in the world. Many of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America, the former Soviet Union, and Central and Eastern Europe are now confronted wit h a variety of issues as they go through the process of democratization and economic devel opment; Japan intends to support the measures these countries take to eliminate the root cau ses of social instability and conflict, and to assist in the establishment of democratic sys tems. With regard to the implementation of development assistance, we will, in accordance with p rinciples set out in the Official Development Assistance Charter, take into consideration su ch factors as trends in military expenditures and the extent of progress towards democratiza tion and the transition to a market economy in recipient countries, and will steadfastly im plement the Fifth Medium-Term Target for Official Development Assistance. Furthermore, we will also enhance coordination with NGOs and expand assistance for Women in Development. Moreover, in order to incorporate these countries into the process of internat ional coordination, Japan will take an approach which will promote trade and investm ent and foster policy dialogue.

Solving Global Issues

Fifth, we must take steps to resolve global issues such as environment, population, AIDS and narcotics. Japan possesses abundant experience and advanced technologies for dealing with many of these areas, and intends to display initiative in the international co mmunity through contributions to the formation of an international framework and through Offic ial Development Assistance. As one part of these efforts, in September 1994, I at tended the International Conference on Population and Development, where I announced inte rnational cooperation measures under our Global Issues Initiative to tackle population problems and AIDS.

Promotion of International Coordination

Now that relations of interdependence among countries have deepened to an exte nt never seen before, enhancing international coordination is indispensable for tackling the problems I have just mentioned. For this purpose, Japan needs to promote, on a mutually compl ementary basis, global cooperation in such fora as the United Nations and the G-7, and regional cooperation within the Asia Pacific region.

The United Nations

The United Nations is expected to play a crucial role in promoting peace and p rosperity in the post-Cold War world. During this year, which marks the 50th anniversary o f the founding of the United Nations, it is important that further advances be made to reform the United Nations to adapt to the new era. Last year at the United Nations Gener al Assembly I stated that, in keeping with Japan s basic philosophy regarding internationa l contributions, Japan was prepared, with the endorsement of many countries, to discharge its r esponsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council. The Government of Japan, with the increased understanding of the Japanese people, will continue to work for furt her progress in reforming the Security Council. Japan will also cooperate positively to ensur e the success of this year s World Summit for Social Development and the Fourth World Confer ence on Women.

The Asia-Pacific Region

In the Asia-Pacific region, too, Japan intends to further assure the concrete cooperative measures it is taking both in the economic field and in the political and secu rity field.

Worthy of particular mention is the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting held in Nov ember 1994, at which opinions were exchanged frankly over a broad perspective of iss ues regarding future development of the Asia-Pacific region; this signified one large step i n fleshing out cooperation in facilitation and liberalization of trade and investment and in cooperation for regional development. This year, Japan, as the chair country of APEC, will ho ld the Economic Leaders Meeting and Ministerial Meeting; and Japan will fulfill its responsibilities in this regard, as a means to further promote regional cooperation.

During 1994, the first ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) was held, providing the firs t occasion for regionwide security dialogue in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan intends to participate actively in this fora in the future, as a way to promote concrete cooperation with a view to increasing mutual security assurances among all countries of the region.

Firm Japan-U.S. relations, with the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements as their political foundation, are of extreme importance in order to promote regional cooperation in the Asia- Pacific region. At the recent visit to the United States by Prime Minister To miichi Murayama, Japan and the United States agreed to advance cooperation on a range of issues, which I believe will make the relationship even more solid. It was once again recognized that the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements not only served to ensure Japan s securit y, but were also essential for the stability of the Asia-Pacific region. Japan will there fore firmly maintain the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements and promote dialogue on security issues, and will strive to operate the Security Arrangements smoothly and effectively, includin g host nation support for the U.S. forces stationed in Japan. Furthermore, it is indisputab ly important to smoothly develop the broad-based, close economic relations between Japan and t he United States. With regard to the Japan-U.S. Framework Talks, we intend to continue making positive efforts, building on the achievements reached last year. Of particul ar note are the concrete achievements attained through the Common Agenda for Cooperation in Gl obal Perspective, which is being pursued within the Framework, and Japan intends to make further progress in this regard. Throughout this year, the 50th anniversary of the en d of World War II, I intend to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. partnership as a future-orie nted and forward- looking relationship by steadily bringing to fruition the aspects of Japan-U.S . cooperation mentioned above.

The development of friendly, cooperative relations with the Republic of Korea is one of the important pillars of Japan s foreign policy. I intend to continue striving to make the Japan- R.O.K. relationship a stable, future-oriented one while bearing in mind the le ssons taught by history, and I will make constant efforts to strengthen our cooperative relati onship in coping with international issues as well.

Further development of the good and stable Japan-China relationship is extreme ly important not only for both countries but for the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacif ic region and of the entire world. Japan will continue to cooperate with China in its effor t to firmly advance reform and openness policies; and at the same time, we will strengthen cooperation between Japan and China in dealing with problems faced by the international co mmunity, and further develop the Japan-China relationship into a mature and future-oriented one.

In this way, as the cooperative relationships with the countries of the Asia-P acific region are strengthened, it is important to normalize the abnormal relations remaining in this region.

It goes without saying that the reduction of tensions on the Korean Peninsula and South- North dialogue should be promoted. I believe that greater efforts should be t aken to improve Japan-North Korea relations, which should go hand in hand with progress in Sou th-North relations and in relations between the United States and North Korea. Here I would like to call once more for a resumption of the Japan-North Korea normalization talks, and to express the hope that North Korea will respond in a forward-looking manner.

While there is growing breadth in relations between Japan and the Russian Fede ration, an extremely unnatural situation continues, in which the territorial issue has st ill not been resolved and in which a peace treaty has not been concluded. Complete normali zation of Japan-Russia relations is important for the peace and security of the Asia-Pac ific region; and Japan intends to make further efforts to achieve a balanced expansion of Japan -Russia relations as a whole based on the Tokyo Declaration. Further, Japan intends t o strive to further promote mutual understanding between the two peoples, through such mea sures as mutual visits without passport and visa by Japanese citizens and Russian inhab itants of the Northern Territories, towards a resolution of the territorial issue.

The situation in Chechnya, where many lives have been lost, is regrettable fro m a humanitarian viewpoint. Japan strongly hopes for a peaceful recovery of domes tic order, and that reform in Russia will continue without faltering.

Relations among Japan, the United States and Europe

Cooperation among Japan, the United States and the major countries of Europe, which possess great influence over overall world peace and prosperity, and who share the bas ic values of freedom and democracy and together account for about 70% of the world s GNP, i s becoming increasingly important in solving international issues. Japan will c ontinue its efforts to enhance policy coordination with the United States and Europe in such fora as the G-7.

In this regard, with the progress of the widening and deepening of the integra tion within the European Union, Europe continues to be important in the international communit y; and Japan intends to continue efforts to build wide-ranging cooperative relations with E urope, which naturally encompass cooperation in the economic sector but which also include political dialogue.

Promoting Mutual Understanding

In the promotion of international coordination, the point of departure is to r einforce mutual 999 understanding and relations of trust among countries. In particular, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, it is important for Japan to face squa rely the history with the neighboring Asian countries and elsewhere, and then, looking ahead to the future, to promote mutual understanding and mutual trust with each of them. As a mean s to accomplish this end, in accordance with the basic policies announced in the 31 August 1994 Statement by Prime Minister Murayama, the Government will sincerely implement the Peace, Friendship and Exchange Initiative and other initiatives, including s upport for historical research.

I believe that relations of mutual trust are founded on understanding other cu ltures, respecting other histories and fostering heart-to-heart contacts with each other. In ord er to promote relations of mutual trust with other countries, we will further enhance public relations activities and enhance cultural exchange and cooperation in the field of scien ce and technology.


As I have stated above, in the midst of this dramatically changing internation al situation, there is a growing need for Japan s foreign policy to be conducted aptly and flexibl y. The Government of Japan strongly recognizes the importance of assuring the securit y of Japanese citizens abroad, and, taking into account the fact that recent partial revisio n of the Self-Defense Forces Law makes it possible to dispatch government aircraft for the rescue of Japanese nationals during emergency situations, we will continue to enhance th e protection system for Japanese nationals and the crisis management capability of diplomat ic missions abroad in the future. As I work to reinforce the foreign policy implementatio n structure, I will continue to strive to gain the greater understanding of the people of Jap an, upon whose support this system is founded. In this, I ask for the further understanding and support of the members of the Diet and the people of Japan.

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