Foreign Policy Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida
to the 183rd Session of the Diet

February 28, 2013


At the 183rd session of the Diet, I wish to outline my thinking on the basic orientation of Japan’s foreign policy.


I assumed the post of Minister for Foreign Affairs last December at a time when Japan’s foreign policy was in crisis. During the intervening two months, North Korea has conducted a nuclear test. Chinese government ships have repeatedly intruded into Japan’s territorial waters, and a Chinese government aircraft violated our airspace. There were also incidents of directing of weapons-guiding radar by Chinese Navy vessels. Through these, I realized the severe security environment surrounding Japan.

Also during this period, we were confronted with the terrorist attack in Algeria and the indiscriminate killing spree in Guam, making us reaffirm the importance of supporting and securing Japanese nationals and companies throughout the world from various threats.

I am committed to squarely facing these crises surrounding Japan that occurred during the last two months. As the minister responsible for foreign affairs, I will pursue policies that will secure the nation from crises and dangers threatening the peace and stability of Japan and of the world, and that will ensure peace and prosperity.

At the same time, I will pursue strategic diplomacy based on the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, basic human rights, and the rule of law. I will make Japan’s thinking and beliefs known to the world and will thereby win the confidence of the world.

Three Pillars of Foreign Policy

In this environment, I will make the greatest effort to promote our foreign policies from a broad perspective and based on the three pillars of Japan’s foreign policy, which are strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance, deepening our cooperative relations with neighboring countries, and strengthening economic diplomacy as a means to promoting the revitalization of the Japanese economy.

The first pillar is to strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance, the linchpin of Japan’s diplomacy and security, which is indispensable to responding to the region’s severe security environments and various threats around the world. At the summit meeting held during Prime Minister Abe’s recent visit to the United States, both leaders shared strategic awareness and goals on major issues, showed the strong bonds that underlie the Japan-U.S. Alliance at home and abroad, and clearly indicated that Japan and the United States are working hand in hand for peace and stability of the world. I accompanied Prime Minister Abe on his trip and met with Secretary of State Kerry to reconfirm that our two countries would cooperate closely. We will continue to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance and promote cooperation in wide-ranging areas.

Recently, I visited Okinawa as Minister for Foreign Affairs. We will implement the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, including the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma, in accordance with the existing agreements with the United States, and seek to reduce the burden on Okinawa. In particular, we must avoid the indefinite use of MCAS Futenma. We will advance the relocation of MCAS Futenma and the Okinawa Consolidation Plan without delay, while listening carefully to the voices of the people in Okinawa and building the trust relationship with them.

The second pillar of Japan’s foreign policy consists of deepening our relations with neighboring countries and pursuing cooperation from a broad and strategic perspective. We will endeavor to ensure that the region’s peace and stability are based on the rule of law and not on power and might. In our diplomatic initiatives, we will make full use of not only bilateral relations but also trilateral and multilateral frameworks in the Asia-Pacific region, such as the East Asia Summit (EAS).

North Korea’s missile launches last year and the recent nuclear test are totally unacceptable for Japan, and Japan resolutely condemns them. Through coordination with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), as well as with other countries concerned such as China and Russia. Japan is promoting the UN Security Council to promptly adopt a new and strong resolution, and once again strongly urges North Korea to take concrete actions based on UN Security Council resolutions and the Six-Party Talks Joint Statement, such as the immediate suspension of its nuclear and missile development including uranium enrichment activities. In accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, Japan will continue to work toward the comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern, including the abductions, nuclear, and missile issues. In particular, we will make the greatest effort toward resolving the abductions issue based on the position that the normalization of the relations can never be achieved without the resolution of this issue. Furthermore, Japan will advance cooperation with other concerned countries to establish a new inquiry mechanism on the human rights situation in North Korea at the United Nations Human Rights Council next month.

Relations with China constitute one of Japan’s most important bilateral relations, and we will promote “Mutually Beneficial Relations Based on Common Strategic Interests” from a broad perspective. On the other hand, the lack of transparency in China’s military buildup and the heightened level of maritime activity in surrounding waters are sources of concern for the region. The Senkaku Islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based on international law. Indeed, the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan, and there exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands. Japan will deal with the situation surrounding the Senkaku Islands in a restrained manner with firm determination to resolutely protect its territories, waters, and airspace. Through our communication, we strongly call on China to exercise restraint so that the situation will not escalate further.

In addressing threats of the region including North Korea, Japan puts its emphasis on its relationship with the ROK, which shares the fundamental values and interests such as ensuring peace and prosperity in the region. The ROK is Japan’s partner going hand in hand. Japan will make efforts in building future-oriented, multilayered and more robust bilateral relationship from a broader perspective, so that an individual problem would not undermine the relationship as a whole. Japan will also further strengthen its economic ties with the ROK through various measures such as promotion of bilateral trade and investment, and cooperation between Japanese and the ROK’s companies in third countries. Although the Takeshima dispute is not the one which could be resolved overnight, Japan will continue to clearly convey to the ROK side that Japan will not accept what Japan cannot accept.

With regard to the Japan-Russia relationship, we will make efforts, from a strategic point, for the development of cooperation in all areas, including security and economic relations, with a view to building appropriate relations as partners in the Asia-Pacific region. Although there still remains a wide gap between the positions of Japan and Russia concerning the issue of the Northern Territories, the main pending issue between the two countries, we will work persistently toward the conclusion of a peace treaty with Russia by resolving the issue of the attribution of the four islands. In this light, we expect that the Prime Minister’s visit to Russia scheduled to take place this year will lend new momentum to the development of Japan-Russia relations.

As 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of Japan- ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation, I visited some ASEAN countries and Australia at the beginning of this year. In view of the “Five Principles of Japan’s ASEAN Diplomacy” recently announced by Prime Minister Abe, we look forward to using the Japan-ASEAN Commemorative Summit scheduled for December as an opportunity to further strengthen relations with ASEAN. Japan has been building strategic partnerships and friendly relations with ASEAN countries, India, Australia, and other nations of the region, and we will reinforce these cooperative ties. In particular, we intend to stand by and support the efforts taken by Myanmar as it advances toward democratic and economic reforms. Japan will also strengthen its relations with Mongolia where democracy has taken root and remarkable economic growth is being achieved, as well as Oceanian countries. We will also engage in cooperation with European countries with which we share fundamental values, with Latin American countries that are enhancing their presence in the international community, and with countries in the Middle East and North Africa that are pursuing democratic reform.

As economic globalization proceeds at an accelerated pace, initiatives aimed at revitalizing the Japanese economy provide a path to strengthening Japan, thereby allowing it to make contributions to the further development of the world. Therefore, as the third pillar of its foreign policy, Japan will seek to strengthen its economic diplomacy as a means to promoting the revitalization of the national economy.

We will expand export opportunities and foster an environment conducive to overseas investment by Japanese companies. To make Japan more attractive as a manufacturing center and investment, high-level economic partnerships will be strategically promoted, such as those with the Asia-Pacific, East Asia region, and Europe. In doing so, Japan will mobilize its diplomatic resources to pursue economic partnerships that serve its national interests. Regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Government will make the decision about whether to participate in the negotiations based on the recent Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting. We will also actively take part in developing and implementing international economic rules in such frameworks as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the G8, and the G20.

Japan will utilize official development assistance (ODA) and its overseas diplomatic missions in order to incorporate the vitality of other countries. The Government will also actively support local governments and Japanese companies, including local small and medium-sized enterprises, in their engagement with overseas markets. To ensure stable supplies of energy, mineral, and food resources, Japan will strengthen its resources diplomacy, including by diversification of its supplying countries.

Strengthening Safety Measures and Diplomatic Initiatives for Protecting Japanese Nationals and Companies Facing Various Threats

I take this opportunity to once again express my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the terrorist attack in Algeria. To ensure that the loss of their precious lives is not for naught, measures will be strengthened for protecting the safety of Japanese nationals and companies active overseas. In line with the ongoing review process related to this incident, we will upgrade our intelligence gathering and analyzing capabilities by such measures as the strengthening of our relations with government agencies in the North Africa and Sahel regions, and will form emergency response team that can be immediately deployed in case of emergency overseas. Measures will also be taken to speedily and accurately provide and disseminate safety information for Japanese nationals living abroad. For this purpose, management of the overseas residential registration system will be reviewed, government-private sector networks will be bolstered, and information technologies including e-mail and websites will be more extensively utilized.

Appropriate measures will be taken to respond to the growing diversity of threats on the international scene. Japan reiterates its determination to fight against terrorism, cooperating with the international community. Japan will take substantive measures and implement them in an expeditious manner, in line with three main pillars; 1) strengthening measures against international terrorism, 2) support for the stabilization of Sahel, North Africa, and Middle East regions, and 3) promotion of dialogue and exchange with Islamic and Arab countries.

To ensure the safety of navigation, in addition to our antipiracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, we will continue to extend our assistance for capacity building on maritime safety and law enforcement in the countries concerned.

Japan will strengthen countermeasures against cyberspace threats. Japan will also actively contribute to the development of international rules on space activities.

Responding to Global Issues

I will actively engage in resolving global issues.

As one born and raised in nuclear-ravaged Hiroshima, I intend to do all that is in my power to work through the framework of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) to maintain and strengthen the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime founded on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In addition to North Korea’s nuclear issue, Japan has serious concerns with regard to the current situation of Iran nuclear issues. We call on Iran to take substantive measures toward peaceful and diplomatic resolution without delay.

Japan will also contribute to strengthening nuclear safety worldwide by sharing with the international community knowledge and lessons learned from the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station.

On the subject of climate change, Japan will conduct a zero-based review on the 25% emission reduction target and formulate a proactive diplomatic strategy to address global warming with the aim of contributing to the world by fully utilizing Japanese advanced technologies, by the Conference of the 19th Parties (COP 19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in next November.

We will continue to provide a wide range of cooperation to peacekeeping and peace-building activities, including the dispatch of personnel to United Nations peacekeeping operations (PKO) and engagement in human resources development. Japan is currently dispatching a unit of Self-Defense Forces to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan, and will continue to actively support stabilization and nation building in South Sudan. To facilitate more effective and speedy support, we will move forward on capacity building and examination of Japan’s current legal framework.

Peace-building in Afghanistan is a significant challenge for the international community. From the standpoint of fight against terrorism, we will continue to play an active role in this endeavor in accordance with our international commitments.

On the Middle East peace process, we will work toward early realization of a “two-state solution,” and will continue and enhance our assistance to the Palestinians. Japan will also play an active and visible role regarding the situation in Syria, which has developed into a humanitarian crisis.

We will utilize ODA strategically and effectively. Toward the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda, we will reinforce our engagement in such areas as health, human resources development, and disaster risk reduction based on the principle of human security, and will contribute to sustainable growth.

While Africa’s high growth rate has drawn international attention in recent years, it continues to face numerous challenges, the solution of which requires the involvement of the entire international community. With this in mind, at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) to be held in Yokohama in June, we will promote cooperation for human security and for establishing peace and stability in Africa. We will also support Japanese companies in expanding businesses with or in Africa and will pursue initiatives that help promote the quality growth in Africa.

Increasing the effectiveness of the United Nations through organizational reform and change management and reinforcing its functions are essential to the viable solution of global issues. We will work proactively toward early reform of the Security Council and Japan’s permanent membership in it.

We will continue to work for addressing human rights and humanitarian issues through the United Nations and bilateral dialogues on human rights, and also actively participate in international initiatives on human rights issues including the protection of women’s rights. Regarding the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (The Hague Convention), an international framework which attaches paramount importance to the interests of children, the government will submit the Convention and relevant domestic legislation for approval to the Diet in this current session, aiming for the early conclusion of the convention. We ask the Diet speeding the deliberations, leading to the approval during the current session.

Enhancing Comprehensive Diplomatic Capacity and Making Japan's Voice Heard

In order for Japan to respond to East Asia’s severe security environment and to confront various risks around the world, there is an urgent need to fundamentally strengthen our systems for the implementation of foreign policy. Reinforcing our diplomatic and security policies is a priority for the Abe Cabinet, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will actively pursue related initiatives.

At the same time, we will strengthen communications activities around foreign policy both domestically and internationally. In particular, we will convey Japan’s position on its territorial integrity.

Enhancing Japan’s international presence is an important diplomatic objective. From this perspective, we will promote virtues and attractiveness of Japan as well as its culture, and will facilitate pervasion of Japanese language abroad.

We will do everything in our power to support Tokyo’s candidacy for hosting the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games as an opportunity to prove to the world Japan’s full-fledged recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake.


To reverse the crisis situation that surrounds Japan’s foreign relations—more than anything else, this is what is demanded of us today. I am determined to focus my energies on leading Japan’s foreign relations toward the goal of achieving peace and prosperity in Japan and in the world. I ask for the cooperation of all Diet members and for the understanding and cooperation of the Japanese people.

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