Foreign Policy Speech
by Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda
to the 136th Session of the Diet

(Unofficial Translation)
(22 January 1996)

As I have recently been appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, I am bracing myself for the vital task of taking the helm of Japan's foreign policy at this important time. I intend to devote my utmost efforts to securing continuity in Japan's foreign policy, and as one member of the Hashimoto Cabinet, to building a creative foreign policy, and further, to developing the many achievements in Japan's foreign policy realized under the leadership of Prime Minister Murayama.

The International Situation and the Basic Direction of Japan's Foreign Policy

The international situation remains fluid, and although the direction of that flow is as yet unclear, now that several years have passed since the end of the Cold War, the efforts of the international community are slowly but clearly bearing fruit. We have observed notable progress toward the solution of the regional conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East. In the Asia-Pacific region, too, there is apparent movement toward a solution of the nuclear issue in North Korea. The agenda for the international community is to direct such desirable moves into a steady stream and solidify the new framework of the post-Cold War era.

In considering a path for Japan's foreign policy under the current international situation, I would once again like to stress in the first place that in today's increasingly interdependent world, the security and prosperity of Japan are only possible by establishing the peace and prosperity of the international community. Furthermore, we must recognize that Japan's actions have great influence on the peace and stability of the world. Reflecting on these points, I am determined to exert my utmost energies so that Japan can fulfill a creative role in creating a new international order.

Major Policy Issues

Next, I will outline certain important policy issues and the approach that Japan will take in creating a new international order.

Peaceful Solutions to Regional Conflicts

In order to secure the peace and stability of the international community, it is important to strive to resolve regional conflicts and to prevent the outbreak of regional conflict in areas where a high potential for such conflict exists. Some of these conflicts are taking place in regions which are geographically distant from Japan, but they represent a global issue which has an impact on the creation of a framework for the entire international society, and Japan must be actively involved in their resolution and must provide appropriate cooperation. From that perspective, Japan intends to cooperate in the efforts to consolidate the movement toward peace in the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East.

As for the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, at the December 1995 London Peace Implementation Conference, Japan strongly urged the parties to sincerely implement the peace agreement and expressed its intent to extend cooperation for the peace implementation, beginning with the provision of humanitarian assistance amounting to approximately $20 million. As a member of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board, Japan will continue to participate positively in the efforts of the international community, and from the perspective of preventive diplomacy, Japan intends to continue to provide assistance to the neighboring countries, as well.

In the Middle East, despite the tragic assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, efforts continue based on the firm resolution of the parties concerned to achieve peace, and it is therefore essential that the international community continue to provide assistance. Japan will continue to take a positive approach to providing assistance for the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, including participation in the international election monitors observing the elections for the Palestinian Council, as well as the provision of the goods and materials needed for the elections. In addition, Japan will dispatch a contingent of Self-Defense Forces and other personnel to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights.

Japan, for the resolution of regional conflicts, intends to continue to actively contribute to the activities of the United Nations, including peace-keeping operations, in the areas of personnel and financial contributions in addition to diplomatic efforts and cooperation for humanitarian and development assistance.

Further Promotion of Arms Reduction and Non-Proliferation

The second important task which we must address involves the disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, as well as the restriction of transfers of conventional weapons. At last year's session of the United Nations General Assembly, Japan was one of the co-sponsors of 15 draft resolutions concerning disarmament. In particular, Japan displayed positive initiative by taking a leadership role in drafting four of these resolutions.

With regard to nuclear disarmament, following the decision of May 1995 on the indefinite extension of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Japan, as the only country ever to have experienced nuclear devastation, appealed to all nuclear weapon States to take a sincere approach to nuclear disarmament toward the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons. At the United Nations General Assembly, the Resolution on Nuclear Disarmament with a View to the Ultimate Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and the Resolution Calling for the Immediate Cessation of Nuclear Testing, both co-sponsored by Japan, were adopted with the approval of many Member States. These achievements are but one example of Japan's diplomatic efforts. Japan will continue to strongly urge all countries to take the will of the international community, which is clearly stated in the said resolution on nuclear testing, and not to conduct any nuclear testing. Japan will also do its utmost to achieve the practical conclusion of the negotiations on a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) this spring and the signing of that treaty this fall.

As for conventional weapons, the Resolution on Small Arms, which was also co-sponsored by Japan, was adopted at the United Nations General Assembly, and as a result, it was decided that the report by governmental experts on the prevention of excessive accumulation and transfer of small arms would be submitted to the 52nd session of the General Assembly. Furthermore, in December 1995, it was agreed to establish a new multilateral export control regime on conventional arms and related dual-use items and technologies. Japan will continue to take a positive approach in order to prevent the excessive transfer and accumulation of conventional arms.

Securing the Sustainable Development of the World Economy

Thirdly, Japan must play a major role in securing the sustainable development of the world economy. With the deepening of interdependence in the economy, the direction and policies of Japan's economy are strongly linked to the economies of all countries. Given this situation, Japan, in order to contribute to the stable management of the world economy, must strive to revitalize its own economy through measures including drastic deregulation, as it continues to aim for the realization of an economic society that is in harmony with the international community.

In order to secure sustainable development of the world economy, Japan also intends to make even further efforts to strengthen the multilateral free trading system, in light of the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Toward the first WTO Ministerial Conference, to be held in Singapore in December 1996, Japan intends to play a positive role in making substantial achievements in such areas as ensuring the steady implementation of the Uruguay Round agreements, securing the successful conclusion of the on-going negotiations in the services sector by their deadlines, addressing the so-called " post-Uruguay Round new issues" and strengthening the dispute settlement mechanism. Furthermore, negotiations on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) began in autumn 1995, and Japan intends to take a positive approach toward ensuring their success.

Cooperation with Developing Countries and Countries in a Period of Transition

Fourth is an approach to development issues. Many developing countries, beginning with those in Africa, continue to suffer poverty and famine, and many countries of the Asia-Pacific and Central and South America are also facing new issues in the process of economic growth. Moreover, the countries of the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe are facing various difficulties in the transition to a market economy. In order to achieve stability in the international order, it is imperative that in responding to the respective situations facing each of these countries, we promote economic and social development, cooperate in the creation of democratic systems and thus bring them into the international community. At the same time, in many donor countries, we see evidence of " donor fatigue." In light of this situation, Japan has emphasized the need to formulate a new, long-term development strategy and has proclaimed its position: that it will actively contribute to the discussions taking place in the United Nations on an Agenda for Development. Japan intends to continue to make efforts to effectively and efficiently implement and expand Official Development Assistance (ODA) based on its ODA Charter. At the same time, Japan will encourage discussion with a view to an early drafting of a development strategy through positive intellectual contributions to it.

Solving Global Issues

Fifth are issues of a global scale on which the international community must take a unified approach, including environment, population, human rights, refugees, illicit narcotics and terrorism. Responding to such global issues constitutes one of the most important pillars of Japan's international contributions. Japan intends to continue to make use of its knowledge and experiences as it cooperates with the international community to seek a solution to these important issues. In December 1995, Japan submitted to the United Nations General Assembly a draft resolution on the issue of eliminating violence against women, which was a matter of great concern to the many countries represented at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. This draft resolution was adopted by consensus.

Japan, as a maritime nation, is expected to make an active contribution to the establishment of a new legal regime for the seas and oceans. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provides the comprehensive legal order for the seas and oceans, and the Government of Japan intends to move ahead toward the early conclusion of that Convention and is advancing preparations for its submission to the current session of the Diet.

Advancing International Cooperation

Enhancing international cooperation is imperative to ensure the success of any approach to these challenges that we face. In that endeavor, it is crucial that we strengthen bilateral relations of cooperation, cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and global cooperation centering on the United Nations and the WTO, and that we develop all cooperation in these three concentric spheres in a mutually related manner.

Major Bilateral Relationships

The foundation of Japan's foreign policy consists of creating friendly bilateral relations with all nations. This is also an essential component of advancing global cooperation and regional cooperation.

Among Japan's bilateral relations, the Japan-U.S. relationship continues to be the cornerstone of Japan's foreign policy. We must continue the ongoing task of strengthening the cooperative relations which exist across a broad spectrum of Japan-U.S. relations. In particular, the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, one of the primary pillars of Japan's security policies, provide the political foundation for the cooperative relations between Japan and the United States, and are important for maintaining the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. It is precisely for that reason that Japan firmly maintains the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements and continues to make efforts to see that they are smoothly and effectively operated. At the same time, there are various issues which arise from the fact that American military facilities and areas are concentrated in Okinawa Prefecture. While giving thought to the hardships that have thus far been borne by the people of Okinawa, I intend to every degree possible to consider the feelings of the people concerned. For that reason, I intend to ensure, in cooperation with the United States, that the Special Action Committee on Facilities and Areas in Okinawa (SACO), established in November 1995, achieves tangible and concrete results in issues of realignment, consolidation and reduction of the facilities and areas as well as other related issues within one year, while maintaining harmony with the necessity of achieving the objectives of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. As for Japan-U.S. economic relations, it is most important that both Japan and the United States steadily implement the measures decided under the Japan-U.S. Framework Talks. At the same time, I believe that we must further advance Japan-U.S. cooperation by striving to expand and deepen the Common Agenda, under which framework Japan and the United States are taking a common approach to tackle issues of a global scale. President Clinton is scheduled to visit Japan in April of this year, and Japan views the opportunity which the President's visit will afford us as an important chance to reconfirm the significance of the Japan-U.S. relationship in this new age and to make a comprehensive survey of the broad-based cooperation which our two countries undertake together across the spectrum I have described, and I intend to advance preparations in cooperation with the Government of the United States to ensure that the President's visit is a successful one. With that in mind, I visited the United States from 18 January, where I explained to President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Secretary of Defense William Perry that the Hashimoto Cabinet attached the highest importance to Japan-U.S. relations, and concurred with them that we should continue to promote further our bilateral relationship.

Friendly and cooperative relationship with the Republic of Korea, with which Japan shares common values and security interests, is important not only for our two nations but also for the peace and security of Northeast Asia. Japan intends to continue to further strengthen its relations with the Republic of Korea in coping with issues facing the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole. It is necessary for us to continue to watch carefully the situation in North Korea. 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. As for the issue of the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea, as the result of the conclusion of an agreement between the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and North Korea on the supply of a light-water reactor project, Japan intends to continue to positively contribute to KEDO, maintaining close cooperation with the United States and the Republic of Korea.

It is important for Japan to maintain and further develop its friendly and cooperative relations with the People's Republic of China, and for Japan and China to cooperate together in the international community. Japan intends to endeavor to build a new era of future-oriented cooperation between Japan and China, and plans to continue to assist China's policies of reform and the open door as it further deepens its cooperative relations across a wide range of sectors. On the issue of chemical weapons left behind in China by the former Japanese Army, the Government of Japan intends to take a sincere approach in accordance with the spirit of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction which it recently ratified.

In its relations with the Russian Federation, while there is a need to keep a close watch on domestic political trends with the approach of the presidential elections scheduled for June 1996, Japan strongly hopes that Russia's reform will continue without faltering. 1996 marks the 40th anniversary since the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries with the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration, and the solution of the Northern Territories issue is the most important issue for Japan-Russia relations. While steadily moving ahead in the relations between our two countries in various fields, I intend to devote even greater effort to realizing the solution of the Northern Territories issue based on the Tokyo Declaration and to achieving a full normalization of the relations between the two countries.

In its relations with Europe, as well, Japan is advancing dialogue and cooperation across a wide spectrum with countries in the area, beginning with the European Union, which is moving forward with integration, and I intend to work hard to further strengthen Japan-Europe relations.

Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region

The Asia-Pacific region, the center of world growth, is experiencing dynamic economic development against a background of political stability as the level of interdependence in the region deepens. The stability and prosperity of this region are important for ensuring the security and prosperity of Japan, and Japan strives to strengthen regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific in both political and economic spheres on the basis of its cooperative relations with the countries of North America, Asia, Central and South America and Oceania.

In November 1995, Japan, as the chair of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), hosted the Ministerial Meeting and Economic Leaders' Meeting in Osaka. Under Japan's leadership, the Osaka Action Agenda was adopted, which charts a comprehensive road map for achieving the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment and promoting economic and technical cooperation. In adopting the Osaka Action Agenda, APEC has moved from the " vision" phase to the " action" phase. At the APEC Ministerial Meeting in the Republic of the Philippines this year, the member economies will submit their Action Plans for the implementation of the Osaka Action Agenda. Japan intends to contribute positively to the further development of APEC through various avenues, including compiling a substantive and positive Action Plan.

As for the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), at the second Ministerial Meeting, held last year, agreement was reached to make gradual progress on specific forms of cooperation while paying special attention to confidence-building measures. The Intercessional Support Group on Confidence-Building Measures, co-hosted by Japan and the Republic of Indonesia, was held in Tokyo on 18-19 January, and was a significant first step in that direction. Japan intends to continue to make efforts to engage itself positively in ARF, which is a forum for political and security dialogue in the Asia-Pacific region, and to work to promote confidence building among the countries of the region.

Global Cooperation

While implementing regional cooperation as " open cooperation" which is commensurate with such global frameworks as the United Nations and the WTO, Japan must also strive to further strengthen the global frameworks themselves.

The United Nations constitutes an important pillar of these global frameworks. In order for the United Nations, which has just celebrated its 50th anniversary since its establishment, to fulfill a role that meets the demands of the age, it is necessary to advance reforms to strengthen the functions of the United Nations. When Japan addressed the United Nations General Assembly in September 1995, it stressed the need for financial reform, reforms in the economic and social fields and reform of the Security Council, and at the same time, reiterated its basic philosophy regarding international contributions, including the non-resort to the use of force, prohibited by its Constitution, and once again clearly stated that Japan, with the endorsement of many countries, was prepared to discharge its responsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council. Moreover, in December 1995, a resolution was adopted at the General Assembly to the effect that a procedure to amend the Charter in order to delete the " enemy State" clauses would be initiated at the earliest appropriate future session. Japan intends to continue to cooperate with other Member States of the United Nations and demonstrate its initiative in tackling the reform of the United Nations.

Close cooperation and policy coordination among the industrialized democracies of Japan, the United States and Europe, which share common values, is essential for the success of any approach to the various issues of the international community, and Japan intends to enhance cooperation and policy coordination at such fora as the G-7 Summit. Prior to this year's Lyon Summit, a Summit on Nuclear Safety and Security is scheduled to be held in Moscow in April, and Japan intends to take a positive approach at these meetings.

Furthermore, the Asia-Europe Meeting is scheduled to be held for the first time at the Heads of Government level in March 1996 in Thailand. Japan looks forward to this opportunity to deepen mutual understanding of the situation of these regions, and I intend to work to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe across a broad range of issues from a global perspective.

Cooperation across a Wide Spectrum and Systemic Enhancements

In order to enhance cooperation with all countries, it is necessary first of all for us to experience one another's cultures in order to create a foundation on which we, with different social and cultural backgrounds, can stand as equals who respect each other. Japan intends to take an even more positive approach to cultural exchanges and cultural cooperation. I intend to make further efforts to strengthen international cooperation in the field of science and technology with a view to playing a positive role in the international community. Furthermore, I intend to take a positive approach to overseas public relations activities.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of Japanese traveling abroad, and there is a growing need to strengthen measures to secure the safety of Japanese nationals abroad. The Government of Japan intends to make efforts to further strengthen the system for the protection of Japanese nationals overseas and its crisis management capacity, and to strengthen its foreign policy implementation structure so that it can advance a flexible and accurate foreign policy.


The foundation of diplomacy lies in ties with each country based on mutual understanding and trust. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, and at the outset of another 50 years, squarely facing our past with the neighboring Asian countries and elsewhere, I intend to take positive steps to promote mutual understanding and trust with each of them, looking ahead to the future. With that in mind, I will take a steady approach to the various issues Japan faces, such as advancing the Peace, Friendship and Exchange Initiative which was started in 1995. I am determined to promote international coordination on a foundation of relations of trust which we will cultivate in the manner I have described, as I deal with various diplomatic issues.

As internationalization proceeds in Japan, domestic politics and foreign policy become integrated as one. I intend to fully lend my ear to public opinion, and with the more complete understanding and support of the people, to promote Japan's foreign policy. In this endeavor, I ask for the further support and cooperation of the members of the Diet and the people of Japan.

Thank you.

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