Section 2. Promotion of Relations with Other Countries


1. Relations with Asian and Pacific countries


There have emerged at last general signs of peace in Asia which has been a theater of war for many years and long troubled by poverty and political unrest, The role to be played by Japan, as the only advanced industrial country in Asia, in safeguarding peace in Asia is bound to be very great at a time when the concentration of steady efforts for building prosperity is becoming a concrete task for the nations of Asia. Especially, Japan must contribute, by taking advantage of its own economic power, to the stability and prosperity of Asia by helping other countries of the region as much as possible in their national construction.

What is important for Japan's policy toward Asia for the time being is to develop good-neighborly relations with the People's Republic of China, to make due contributions toward the detente in the Korean Peninsula and other areas where factors of confrontation persist and to contribute toward the Southeast Asian countries' efforts to strengthen the foundation of their national existence and promote their economic independence.

(1) Relations between Japan and the People's Republic of China had gone through an unhappy course over several decades in the past, and both countries had been unable to resolve the abnormal state that persisted for many years even after the War. In September 1972, the two countries finally normalized their relations in the spirit of mutual understanding and mutual accommodation, thereby opening a new stage of development in the history of their bilateral relations. Building up relations of mutual trust, understanding, reciprocity and equality between Japan and China as Asian countries will serve as a prime pillar underlying the peace and stability of not only the two countries but also Asia as a whole.

Of course, it is only a short time since relations between Japan and China were normalized, and there are many problems yet to be solved. It is important for the two countries to cooperate with each other and steadily accumulate working relationships in accordance with the principles mentioned in their joint communique in order to build truly stable and lasting relations of trust. It is considered that only through diplomatic relations of mutual trust and discipline can the two countries build and develop lasting friendly relations. The development of relations between Japan and China is not directed against any third country but is aimed at consolidating the foundation of peace and prosperity in Asia. It is considered important for Japan, in carrying out measures in its relations with China, to take into consideration the possible effects of such measures not only on the major powers but also on Asia as a whole, and pay careful attention to them.

(2) Since the situation in the Korean Peninsula can directly affect the security of Japan, Japan hopes that the situation there

will be stabilized as soon as possible. The Government is carefully watching developments in the present North-South dialogue and expects that relations between North and South will improve through the dialogue toward a peaceful reunification. Japan will continue to maintain relations of cooperation with the Republic of Korea in the hope that the Republic of Korea will achieve economic independence and a stabilization of the people's livelihood. At the same time, it intends to pay very careful attention to its contacts with North Korea in order to expand such contacts by degrees.

(3) In the Indochina Peninsula, peace agreements came into force in Vietnam and Laos, but localized battles still continued. It is earnestly hoped that the peace agreements will be observed by the parties concerned and that genuine peace will be restored as soon as possible. It is one of the important tasks of Japan's future policy toward Indochina to extend humanitarian aid for the post-Vietnam reconstruction and development of that area at the request of the countries there and to contribute to the reconstruction and development of that region in friendly cooperation with the countries concerned.

(4) The ASEAN countries have increased regional cooperation in recent years and have been trying to increase their independence by avoiding undesirable interference from outside. Japan intends to watch with great interest future developments from the standpoint that the sound development of such regional cooperation is desirable for the peace and stability of Asia.

(5) Relations between Japan and the countries of Oceania have come to have strong economic ties especially in the fields of resources and trade. In this context, it was of great significance that the first meeting of the Japan-Australia Ministerial Committee was held in Canberra in October 1972.

Australia and New Zealand have been seeking closer ties of solidarity with the countries of Asia, and the laborite governments of both countries which came to power at the end of 1972 have been promoting a positive diplomacy toward Asia and the Pacific area. Japan intends to promote further its relations with Pacific countries, especially Australia and New Zealand, and to cooperate with these countries as much as possible for peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.


2. Relations with the Americas


(1) Japan and the United States share the same political ideas and have very close trade relations and many common basic interests. Close relations of friendship and cooperation with the United States are indispensable to the security and prosperity of Japan, and they constitute the keystone of its diplomacy and should be the basis on which Japan will conduct a multilateral and extensive diplomacy toward the Soviet Union, China and other countries in the future. Japan-U.S. relations of this kind will make it possible to maintain peace and stability and to ease tensions further, not only in the Far East but also in the Asia-Pacific area. It is important for Japan, therefore, to endeavor to promote further mutual trust and understanding with the United States by making wide contacts with the United States, not only between the Governments but also at various levels in the non-Government sector in all fields, political, economic and otherwise.

The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States of America is indispensable to the maintenance of the peace and security of Japan, and it also is a tie that symbolizes the relations of mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries. Moreover, friendly relations between Japan and the United States, including the Japan-U.S. security arrangement, constitute an important pillar of the basic framework of international politics in Asia today. In this context, it is believed that the maintenance of the security system will contribute not only to the security of Japan but also to the peace and stability of Asia and the world.

In the economic field, the big trade imbalance between Japan and the United States, which has been the biggest pending issue between them in recent years, has been rapidly improving since the turn of 1973, with 1972 as a peak. Japan considers it important to strike a multilateral balance in current transactions in trade and seek harmony in its economic relations with the United States for the further development of the Japanese economy and for the maintenance and promotion of friendly relations with the United States. In order to establish stable economic relations on the basis of mutual trust, it is also important for both countries to learn, through a constant dialogue, what are the common interests of both countries and to take the attitude of speaking frankly and directly to each other and of making concessions where they should be made.

(2) Canada has been seeking the expansion of its relations with Asian countries in recent years. Japan's relations with Canada have become closer year after year, especially in the economic field. It is believed that the relations of mutual dependence will increase not only in trade but also in the fields of energy, resources and capital. Japan must increase its exchanges with Canada in all facets of the political, economic and cultural fields, regarding Canada not only as a trade partner but also as a good partner with which it should cooperate for the peace and prosperity of Asia and the Pacific area, in order to promote further friendly relations between the two countries.

(3) Japan has traditionally enjoyed friendly relations with the countries of Central and South America. Economically, it depends to a large extent on natural resources and farm produce from that region and in turn exports capital goods and extends economic and technical cooperation to them. Thus, Japan has complementary relations with the countries of Central and South America.

For more than 60 years in the past, these countries have provided settlements for Japanese emigrants. People of Japanese parentage in these countries are highly regarded by these countries because of their ability and character, and they provide a firm foundation for friendly relations with Japan. Japan must promote even closer relations with these countries and seek to deepen further its friendly relations with that region.


3. Relations with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe


The promotion of good neighborly relations with the Soviet Union contributes not only to Japan and the Soviet Union but also to the peace and stability of Asia and the world. It is desirable for Japan to promote its relations with the Soviet Union in a wide range of fields, including the economic and the cultural.

The problem of settling the northern territorial issue and concluding a peace treaty is a major issue still pending between Japan and the Soviet Union, and this is an obstacle to establishment of truly stable relations between them. The first talks for the conclusion of a peace treaty were held on the occasion of talks between the foreign ministers of both countries in October 1972, and it was agreed that negotiations should be continued. Both countries confirmed, in Prime Minister Tanaka's letter to General Secretary Brezhnev in March 1973 and General Secretary Brezhnev's reply to the letter, their intention of holding such negotiations within 1973. Japan intends to achieve the return of Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu islands and the Habomai island group, which are part of its inherent territory, through Japan-Soviet negotiations on a peace treaty.

As for projects to develop petroleum, gas and other natural resources in Siberia, talks are being held between the parties concerned in Japan and the Soviet Union. The Government intends to cope with the project in a positive manner, after the talks have been concluded in a form satisfactory to both sides, from the standpoint of securing a supply of resources necessary for the growth of the Japanese economy.

Relations between Japan and Eastern European countries in the economic, trade and other fields have become closer year after year. Japan intends to continue its efforts to promote friendly relations with them in various fields.


4. Relations with Western Europe


The Western European countries, particularly the European Community which was expanded as a result of the participation of Britain and two other countries in January 1973, have increased their economic power. They are expected to increase their political influence, too, in the changing international situation with developments such as those in East-West relations. In view of the steadily growing importance of Europe and also of the increasing need and possibility of cooperation between Japan and Europe, Japan believes that its relations with the Western European countries should be made closer and wider than ever before. For this purpose, it is necessary for Japan to realize that the Western European countries have great weight in international politics and the international economy, and to make greater efforts to promote the dialogue between Japan and Europe aimed at the establishment and maintenance of a future international economic order and also at a settlement of diverse international political and economic problems. As highly advanced free nations, Japan and the countries of Western Europe have common problems, such as the environment and energy problems, and it is considered that there are many spheres in which they can cooperate with each other.


5. Relations with the Middle East


Japan is concerned about the fact that tension in the Middle East still persists and that efforts for a peaceful settlement have not yet produced results. Japan earnestly hopes that a just and lasting peace will be brought to that region as soon as possible under the U.N. Security Council resolution of 1967. Japan depends on the Middle and Near East area for about 90 per cent of its domestic demand for petroleum, and the peace and stability of that area is therefore important for its economic survival. Japan also intends to cooperate as much as possible in settling the conflict through the United Nations and to contribute to the peace and prosperity of that area through economic and technical cooperation. The international energy situation is changing, and it is considered essential for Japan to strengthen its relations of friendship and cooperation with the countries of the Middle East, including the oil-producing countries.


6. Relations with the African countries


More than 10 years after their independence, African countries consider their economic independence as the most important policy objective. It is essential for them to obtain the cooperation of the developed countries to achieve this objective. The expectations of the African countries placed on Japan have been increasing in recent years, and Japan intends to offer due cooperation for the economic independence of African countries to meet their expectations in the hope that they will attain political stability.

Most natural resources in Africa still remain undeveloped, and Japan intends to cooperate in developing such resources in such a way as to benefit both Japan and the countries possessing such resources.


to table of contents