Foreign Policy Speech by Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda to the 140th Session of the Diet

January 20, 1997

I would like, at the opening of this 140th Session of the Diet, to state Japan s basic foreign policies.

Occupation of the Japanese Ambassador s Residence in Peru

At the outset, I must say that it is most regrettable that no resolution has yet been achieved in the December occupation of the Japanese Ambassador s Residence in Peru. My heart goes out to the people who have been taken hostage, as well as to their families and other people concerned, when I think of the hardships and anxieties they are enduring. Refusing to yield to terrorism, the government is in close contact with the government of Peru, in which it has the utmost confidence, and is working tenaciously, in the realization that the sanctity of life is uppermost, to achieve a peaceful resolution and the early release of all of the hostages. The international community is united in taking a resolute stand against terrorism, and the government is determined to make even greater efforts so that this situation can be peacefully resolved as soon as possible.

Along with national policies to combat terrorism, strengthening effective international cooperation is indispensable and we are endeavoring toward this end. In this regard, the government is also stepping up its crisis management capabilities including those for the protection of overseas Japanese and for the security of its diplomatic missions.

Heightening International Interdependence and Japanese Foreign Policy

While it is axiomatic that the basic objective of Japanese foreign policy is to ensure Japan's security and prosperity, today's heightening international interdependence means that this cannot possibly be done independent of the international community's stability and prosperity. Japan will thus play an even more proactive role in fostering a favorable international environment to this end.

Promoting Cooperative Relations with the United States and Other Countries

Strengthening our relations with the United States and other leading countries is fundamental to Japanese foreign policy.

The relationship with the United States is the cornerstone of Japan's foreign policy, not only is it important to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region but it is also significant for the entire world. We will work to further develop this cooperative relationship in a wide range of areas in the directions indicated during last April's Japan-U.S. summit meeting.

The security relationship is at the heart of our relations with the United States, and it is essential that we continue to work for its smooth and effective operation. As to the issue of U.S. facilities and areas in Okinawa, as well as working toward the steady implementation of the plans and measures of the Final Report of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) issued last month, we will seriously address this issue as one of the top priorities. At the same time, we will also intensively promote the review of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation and other related work. Regarding the economic relationship, we will continue to make efforts to resolve remaining issues including aviation. Also, we will further promote cooperation under the WTO and APEC as well as on global issues, including the Japan-U.S. Common Agenda for Cooperation in Global Perspective.

While there are some problems that arise in our relations with China and the Republic of Korea by virtue of our being neighbors, both of these countries being geographically close and having a long history of relationship with Japan, relations with these two countries are among the most important of Japan s bilateral relations, and it is extremely important not only to our countries but to peace and stability in the Asia- Pacific region that, working to resolve these issues, we seek to maintain and further develop the good relations between us.

This year marks the 25th anniversary since the normalization of Japan-China relations, and we will work to further develop Japan-China relations through close dialogue and various exchanges. Moreover, given the importance of China s playing a constructive role in the international community, we will continue to support China's reform and open policy and to support China's early accession to the WTO. At the same time, we will work for strengthened cooperation with China in addressing the many problems facing the international community. In addition, we will work to resolve the various pending issues between Japan and China, including those chemical weapons abandoned in China by the Imperial Japanese Army. As for the reversion of Hong Kong to China this July, we believe it is important that the free and open systems under the rule of law which have sustained Hong Kong's prosperity be maintained even after the reversion. Based upon the view point that stable relations among Japan, the United States, and China are extremely important to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, we welcome improved relationship between the United States and China.

In our relations with the Republic of Korea, it is increasingly important that we cooperate in the international community along with dealing appropriately with bilateral issues and further developing our good relations. I conveyed this thinking anew to Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha when I visited the Republic of Korea last week, and we were in agreement on this. I am convinced that President Kim Young-sam s visit to Japan this weekend will contribute to further developing these friendly and cooperative relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea. It is necessary for us to continue to watch the situation in North Korea carefully. In its relations with North Korea, Japan intends to deal with the matter in close contact with the Republic of Korea and other countries concerned, taking into consideration two aspects: to rectify the anomalous relations between Japan and North Korea after World War II; and to contribute to the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. We continue to support the Four Party Meeting proposed by the United States and the Republic of Korea. As for the issue of the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea, we intend to take an active part in the activities of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), maintaining close cooperation with the United States and the Republic of Korea.

We are currently engaged in consultations with China and the Republic of Korea in order to conclude new fisheries agreements. We will make every effort to achieve the early conclusion of such agreements fully in line with the thrust of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

This year is the 30th anniversary of ASEAN's founding, and Prime Minister Hashimoto visited this region at the start of the year. We intend to continue to strengthen our cooperative relations with Southeast Asia centered on the ASEAN countries, which are playing more and more active role in the Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, we will also promote relations with India and the other countries of Southwest Asia that are achieving remarkable development based on economic liberalization.

Relations with the Russian Federation saw closer dialogue, including a summit meeting, last year, the 40th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations. Building upon the visits to Japan by the First Deputy Prime Minister and the Russian Defense Minister, my own visit to Russia, and other developments, we will continue to work to maintain and strengthen the dialogue between our two countries and to steadily promote working relations in a variety of areas. At the same time, we will continue to work tenaciously to resolve the Northern Territories issue based upon the Tokyo Declaration and to conclude a peace treaty and achieve full normalization of the relations between our two countries.

Latin America, as a new center of global growth following on East Asia's heels, is expected to play an important role in the development of the Asia-Pacific region. In spite of the regrettable recent incident in Peru, we will step up our support for the solution of the issues facing the Latin American countries, especially focusing on long-term stability of that region.

Along with strengthening our bilateral relations with the countries of the Asia-Pacific, we will also work to promote regional cooperation and hence to ensure prosperity and to enhance trust within the region.

Looking ahead to this year's APEC meeting in Canada, it is imperative that we implement our Individual Action Plans to achieve free and open trade and investment and strive for still-further improvements. Japan is determined to contribute to APEC's further progress by strengthening economic and technical cooperation, deepening cooperation with the business sector and other measures.

In the security field, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is playing an important role for confidence-building in this region. Japan also intends to contribute to the steady implementation of the cooperative measures agreed upon at last July's ministerial meeting and to the further promotion of its activities.

Europe, intensifying its integration, continues to occupy an important place in the international community. Japan intends to strengthen the frameworks for dialogue with Europe, and to steadily promote concrete cooperation. At the same time, the Asia- Europe Meeting (ASEM) begun last year has scheduled a Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Singapore this February and an Economic Ministers' Meeting in Japan in September, and we intend to contribute to the forum's further development looking ahead to the Second ASEM next year.

Cooperation with Global Initiatives

Along with strengthening our bilateral relationships and promoting regional cooperation, Japan will also cooperate vigorously with the efforts of the international community as a whole to resolve shared concerns.

United Nations

Beginning this year, Japan will serve as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for a two-year term. In view of the expectations expressed by the international community in electing Japan, we intend to play an even more active role. On United Nations reform, Japan will take the lead in carrying out this reform as a whole in a balanced manner, including Security Council reform, financial reform, and reforms in the economic and social areas, so as to strengthen the functions of the organization. Japan has indicated in the United Nations General Assembly and on other occasions that with endorsement of many countries, it is prepared to discharge its responsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council in accordance with its basic philosophy of the non-resort to the use of force prohibited by its Constitution.

In the following, I would like to speak about Japan's approach to a number of the main issues facing the international community.

Disarmament and Non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Conventional Weapons

Japan has consistently appealed serious efforts to be made for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The conclusion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty last year was a historic first step, and Japan will continue to work for its early entry into force. In addition, we will make the utmost effort for the early commencement of negotiations on a cut-off treaty to ban the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. We will also work for the smooth progress of the preparation process toward the Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 2000 and, in this context, for constructive deliberations among the countries concerned.

On conventional arms, we will continue our efforts to prevent their excessive transfers and accumulations through the new multilateral export control regime established last year. Along with continuing to make efforts toward a global ban on anti-personal mines, we will host the Tokyo Conference on Anti-personal Landmines in March this year to strengthen international cooperation in mine clearance, assistance to victims, and other areas.

Regional Conflict

In coping with regional conflicts, in addition to the continued contribution of the personnel and material to UN peace-keeping operations and international humanitarian relief operations, Japan will continue to cooperate in such areas as prevention and resolution of regional conflicts as well as in reconstruction. Rapid increase of refugees is not only a humanitarian concern but one of the major factors of global instability. Japan will continue to support the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), particularly in central Africa where large numbers of refugees have been generated in recent years.

The Middle East peace process still faces a number of challenges. Japan will continue to talk to the parties concerned in cooperation with the international community in order to advance the peace process. Likewise, we will continue to make our efforts by providing Self-Defense Forces and other personnel for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights, extending assistance to Palestinians and participating actively in the multilateral talks. We will also expand our dialogue and cooperation with the countries in the Gulf area to ensure stability in that region.

On the issue of peace implementation in former Yugoslavia, Japan will continue to make appropriate contribution in such fields as humanitarian and refugee aid, and reconstruction and development assistance to further the positive results thus far achieved by the peace efforts.


The stability and growth of developing countries is indispensable to global peace and prosperity, and Official Development Assistance (ODA) is a central element of the contribution which Japan can make to this end. Using ODA to work on the development issues of developing countries is also in Japan's own interests, given our major dependence on the international community. We will continue to work to further enhance its effective and efficient implementation.

Japan has been calling for a "New Development Strategy" which is mainly based on the idea that an emphasis on the ownership by the developing countries and on the establishment of a "new global partnership" between developed and developing countries, and we will strive to achieve tangible results of development based upon this philosophy. Especially concerning African stability and development, Japan will host the preparatory meeting for the Second Meeting of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD II) which is planned to take place next year.

Sustainable Development of the World Economy and Japanese Economic Policy Efforts

Sustainable development of the world economy is an essential precondition for Japan's own prosperity. Japan must make efforts to promote economic structural reform through drastic deregulation, unrelenting competition, and improved market access, so as to take proactive advantage of the opportunities generated by economic globalization, and these measures will also enable us to contribute more actively to the global economy.

At the same time, it is also important to strengthen the multilateral frameworks on trade and investment to address the new issues that are emerging with the growing trend of economic globalization. In this regard, Japan will devote its efforts to further strengthen the multilateral trading system, in particular by developing rules on such new issues building upon the outcome of the first Ministerial Conference of the WTO. Japan will also work hard to bring the OECD negotiations on a multilateral agreement on investment to a conclusion by this year's OECD Council at the Ministerial level. Through these efforts, Japan will continuously strive to strengthen the international economic system based upon fair and transparent multilateral rules. Likewise, Japan intends to utilize the G-7 Summit meetings and other forums in a continuing effort to strengthen policy coordination among the major industrial countries.

Issues in Achieving a Better Global Community

Seeking to help achieve a better global community, Japan intends to cooperate vigorously with the international society in making efforts to resolve population, environmental, welfare, food, energy, nuclear power safety, and other issues of global concern as well as to cope with terrorism, international crime, drugs, and other issues that are affronts to the civil society's tranquillity. In this same vein, Japan will also play an active part in promoting democracy and protecting human rights.

Looking particularly at environmental issues, Japan is cooperating to conclude this June's Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly successfully. Likewise the Third Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held this December in Kyoto. This is an important conference to decide upon the framework for international efforts in the year 2000 and beyond, and Japan is making every effort as a host country for its success.

We will also continue to work to broaden that popular understanding and cooperation that is so essential a foundation for stable international relations. To this end, Japan will not stop at bilateral cultural exchanges but will also emphasize multilateral dialogues and exchanges as well as active linkages between the governments and the private sectors. We will also cooperate vigorously for the preservation of cultural heritages. Likewise, we will work to further strengthen our overseas public relations activities and to simplify visa procedures.


These, then, are my thoughts on Japan's basic foreign policies. With the increasing integration of domestic policy and foreign policy, I intend to pay full heed to public opinion and to continue to work to reinforce our foreign policy implementation structure so as to gain the greater understanding of the people of Japan. In this endeavor, I ask for the further support and cooperation of the members of the Diet and the people of Japan.

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