Foreign Policy Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Maehara
to the 177th Session of the Diet
January 24, 2011
At the beginning of the 177th session of the Diet, I wish to outline my thinking on the basic orientation of Japan's foreign policy.
Since I assumed the post of Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have been emphasizing the importance of developing economic diplomacy in a mid-to-long term perspective, so that Japan could play a more constructive role in Asia and in the world, which are dynamically changing. Japan has been making, for a long time, international contributions in various forms such as ODA. This willingness of the Japanese people to contribute to the international community is appreciated throughout the international community. In fact, Japanese are welcomed with respect and with a sense of familiarity in almost every area of the world. There is no need to say, however, that the assistance and cooperation, such as building schools in villages for children wishing to receive education, and providing support for antipollution measures in the emerging countries, is based on the capacity of our own economy. We must recognize that we can only develop diplomacy, commensurate with our capabilities. Therefore, the strategic development of the economic diplomacy and strengthening of the economy, our country's foundation, are translated into our enhanced comprehensive diplomatic capacity.
Meanwhile, Japan currently faces various difficulties and challenges both at home and abroad. On the domestic front, there are three constraining factors; the shrinking population, the falling birthrate and the aging society as well as the enormous fiscal deficit. When we look abroad, Japan's security environment is becoming increasingly severe. The international community is confronted by a vast number of problems, such as environmental issues and terrorism. The competition for resources and energy is intensifying. Japan must respond to these changes flexibly and actively in order to achieve further development.
In order to maintain Japan a peaceful, stable and prosperous country and develop a favorable international relationship in this new regional and international strategic environment, a solid security framework with the Japan-U.S. Alliance as its linchpin is indispensable. As indicated in the revised National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG), Japan will strengthen its own defense capability, while deepening and developing the Japan-U.S. security framework to adapt the current security environment. Furthermore, I believe that it is important to take proactive initiative to shape a new regional order through addressing the various challenges with which the international community faces today in cooperation with the United States and other neighbor countries.
Amidst a period of dynamic change in the international community, I am resolved to promote still further the 'rule of law' and, in cooperation with other country, to implement proactive diplomacy towards a harmonious international community.
Based on the above-stated basic policy, I will now address this year's specific agendas for Japan's foreign policy.
I would like to start by explaining the economic diplomacy which I promote. It comprises of four pillars, namely, free trade system, securing of long-term and stable supply of resources, energy and food, international promotion of infrastructure systems as well as promotion of Japan as a tourism-oriented nation.
First of all, as an effort to promote the free trade system, we will pursue high-level economic partnerships with each country based on the Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships approved by the Cabinet last November. We concluded the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations with India and Peru last year. This year, we will work toward starting negotiations with the European Union (EU) and Mongolia. We will aim for an early conclusion of negotiations with partners including Australia and an early resumption of negotiations with the Republic of Korea (ROK). Concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, which is the only one among the paths toward a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) on which negotiation process is currently underway, we have started information gathering and consultations with relevant countries. We will decide whether or not to participate in negotiations by around June this year, considering situation of the consultation and all the other factors including the understanding of the Japanese people as well as the progress of preparations for necessary domestic measures. Furthermore, we will advance the Joint Research on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) among Japan, China, and the ROK, and will participate actively in discussions such as on the East Asia Free Trade Area (EAFTA) and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA).
We will also make our utmost efforts for an early conclusion of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round negotiations.
Secondly, in order to secure a stable supply of natural resources, energy and food, we will work further to gather information through diplomatic missions, and make 'All-Japan' efforts to reinforce strategic cooperation with other countries, utilizing diplomatic means such as exchange of high-level visits and ODA. In particular, to secure rare earths and other mineral resources, Japan has agreed to strengthen collaborative relationships with countries such as the U.S., Australia, Mongolia, India, Vietnam and Kazakhstan since the inauguration of the Kan administration. We will continue to promote multifaceted resource diplomacy through public and private cooperation, and deepen relations with resource-rich countries.
The third pillar is the international promotion of Japanese infrastructure systems. We will actively promote Japan's advanced technologies in order to meet demands for infrastructure that are increasing worldwide, particularly in Asia and emerging countries. We expect that this effort will also contribute to the growth of the Japanese economy. Last year, Japan was selected as the cooperation partner to construct nuclear power plants in Vietnam, which was the first successful deal in emerging markets. Furthermore, I attended the Second Meeting of the Japan-Arab Economic Forum last December, where the participants agreed to enhance the economic relationship with the Arab countries, now transforming into an attractive market and investment destination. I myself will lead Japan's marketing efforts in priority areas such as nuclear power generation, high-speed railway and water facilities, in emerging economies in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa among other regions. We will take comprehensive measures to promote Japan's infrastructure by enhancing activities at diplomatic missions, including appointment of Special Assistants to Infrastructure projects, and reinforcing the financing service of governmental institutions and government-affiliated agencies including the resumption of the Private Sector Investment Finance by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). These will be done comprehensively including the reinforcement of necessary measures to assist private sector.
The fourth pillar is the promotion of Japan as a tourism-oriented nation. Since the change of government, the Japanese government has been promoting the internationalization of Haneda Airport and open skies policy. The Government has also relaxed certain requirements for Chinese individual tourists to obtain visas and newly created the Visa for Medical Stay. Because of these efforts, the number of the foreign visitors to Japan in 2010 is estimated to mark the largest ever. Japan aims at increasing inbound foreign tourists to stimulate Japanese economy through domestic demand expansion and increase in employment. We will bolster our measures to attract foreigners by communicating our country's point of appeal through diplomatic missions in cooperation with the Japan Tourism Agency.
International Environment Surrounding Japan and Strengthening of Relations with Countries and Regions
To advance economic diplomacy and to boost Japan's comprehensive diplomatic power, stable regional and international environment are indispensable. The Japan-U.S. Alliance serves not only as the linchpin of Japan's foreign policy and security, but also as a public good for the stability and prosperity not just of the Asia-Pacific region but also of the world. Since the inauguration of the Kan administration last year, the leaders of Japan and the U.S. have agreed on many occasions that the two countries would work together to further deepen and develop the Alliance, in a way that would adapt to the twenty-first century, based on the three pillars of security, economy, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges. When I visited the U.S. this month, Secretary Clinton and I reaffirmed to work together toward the Prime Minister Kan's visit to the U.S. in the first half of this year to set new Common Strategic Objectives valid in the current international environment that two countries face. Both governments will continue to discuss closely in order to present a vision of the Japan-U.S. alliance for the twenty-first century in such a form as a joint statement on the occasion of the visit.
In an increasingly severe security environment, Japan will accelerate the consultation process to deepen the Alliance in the area of security and advance cooperation with the U.S. in a wide range of areas in a concrete and steady manner. As for the relocation of the Futenma Air Station, we must first sincerely apologize to Okinawa Prefecture for the developments after the change of government two years ago and for the excessive concentration of U.S. facilities and areas in Okinawa. On that basis, the government will steadily implement the Japan-U.S. agreements of May last year and, at the same time, make utmost efforts in reducing the impact on Okinawa. We will make sincere efforts to gain the understanding of the people in Okinawa. Furthermore, I seek your support on the prompt deliberation and the approval of the Special Measures Agreement on Host Nation Support within this fiscal year.
On the economic front, we will further conduct information gathering from and consultation with the U.S. on liberalization of trade and investment including the TPP Agreement, and promote partnerships in such areas as clean energy, high-speed railway, superconducting maglev and strategic resources including rare earth.
Next, I shall mention my views on the strengthening of relations with our neighboring countries, including those in Asia which is undergoing dynamic changes.
In the Asia-Pacific region, in collaboration with the U.S. and Asian countries, Japan will actively engage in diplomacy and contribute to the region's peace and prosperity.
As the world's 2nd and 3rd economic power, the interdependence of Japan and China will further deepen in various aspects. From this high perspective, we will deepen the 'Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests' and promote concrete cooperation in various fields such as resource development in the East China Sea, environment, climate change and international finance. Meanwhile, Japan has concerns regarding the recent build-up of China's military capabilities, which lacks transparency, and also regarding China's vigorous maritime activities. We will encourage China to play an appropriate role as a responsible member of the international community with improved transparency.
Japan and the Republic of Korea are the most important neighboring countries to each other, sharing basic values and interests. I visited the country on 15th this month and confirmed that our two countries will make efforts to build a strategic relationship between us, in a wide range of areas including politics, economy, exchanges and security. Regarding the Agreement between Japan and the ROK on the archives, I seek your support on the prompt deliberation and the approval during this Diet session. Last year marked the 100th anniversary of Japan's annexation of Korea. We consider this year as the inaugural year of the new and future-oriented century, and intend to further deepen cooperative relations of the two countries.
Furthermore, to back up each of the bilateral relationships among Japan, China and the ROK as well as to further consolidate regional peace and stability, we will steadily enhance trilateral cooperation among the three countries for the success of the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit that Japan will chair this year.
In terms of the relationship with Russia, we will work vigorously engage for the settlement of the most outstanding issue, that is, the issue of the Northern Territories. At the same time, we will endeavor to advance our relations with Russia in each and every area so that Japan and Russia can build adequate ties as partners in the Asia-Pacific region. Based on this idea, I would like to visit Moscow as soon as possible and hold fruitful discussions with my Russian counterpart.
With regard to North Korea, we will seek to normalize the relations through a comprehensive resolution of the outstanding issues of concern, such as abduction, nuclear and missile issues, and also through settlement of the unfortunate past, in accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration. Japan will make efforts to coordinate even more closely with the international community, including the United Nations, concerning North Korea's violation of human rights such as the abductions. We will put forth every effort to realize the immediate return of all abductees. Japan expressed strong condemnation for North Korea's artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island. We also have deep concerns towards North Korea's disclosure of its uranium enrichment program, which violates the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. It is imperative that North Korea seriously implement the Joint Statement. In coordination with relevant countries including the U.S. and the ROK, Japan will strongly urge North Korea to take concrete actions towards denuclearization and other issues in accordance with the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is becoming larger in the international community. Japan will support the establishment of the ASEAN community and the strengthening of its connectivity which will heighten ASEAN's integrity. We will also formulate a new 'declaration' and an action plan in order to pull up the Japan-ASEAN relationship to a new level. We will also deepen the relationship with the Mekong region.
Japan will fundamentally reinforce its strategic partnership with Indonesia, which is the holder of the ASEAN presidency this year. In March, Japan will co-organize the ASEAN Regional Forum -Disaster Relief Exercise (ARF-DiREx) to develop the region's capacity to respond to disasters. Furthermore, we will promote dialogues with countries setting out for democracy, by actively taking part in the Bali Democracy Forum. Concerning the East Asia Summit (EAS), we welcome the participation of the U.S. and Russia. We will make active efforts to have EAS play a greater role for the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.
With Australia, we will advance security cooperation and strengthen the economic interdependence, building upon the achievements of my visit to the country last November. In this connection, I seek your support in the prompt deliberation and the approval of the Japan-Australia Acquisition and Cross-servicing Agreement (ACSA) during this Diet session.
Japan will cooperate with India on a wide range of issues including economy and security and will further develop the 'Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership.' We will also strengthen a dialogue with Myanmar to see further enhancement of democratization and national reconciliation in the country.
Europe is our partner, sharing basic values with Japan. Japan will closely work together with European countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany and France, the Chair of this year's G8 and G20 as well as the European Union which is deepening its integration.
We intend to further deepen collaboration and cooperation with Latin American countries including emerging countries such as Brazil and Mexico, which are increasing their presence dramatically in the international community.
Active Efforts on Global Issues
I would like to move on to Japan's efforts to resolve global issues.
As for climate change, Japan will make continued efforts to move forward the negotiations by building on the Cancun Agreements last year toward the adoption of a new and comprehensive legal document. On conservation of biodiversity, Japan will steadily carry out the outcomes of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held last year. To enhance these efforts, Japan will continue to make use of its assistance to developing countries.
Japan will utilize ODA strategically and effectively to resolve various issues in international community as well as to realize Japan's peace and prosperity. For this purpose, based on the 'ODA Review,' Japan will continue to attach high priority to reducing poverty, namely, contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), investing in peace, and supporting sustainable growth. In particular, Japan will place a greater importance on actively using ODA to promote economic diplomacy which I mentioned earlier, as it benefits both Japan and partner countries. Japan will also uphold the concept of human security in contributing to achieving the MDGs. We will host an international conference in June this year to follow up the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations on the MDGs.
Additionally, in order to support Africa, which suffers from conflicts and poverty despite economic growth, Japan will steadily implement the commitment made at TICAD IV, including among others the doubling of our ODA to Africa, and back up the development and growth of the region.
Cooperation with United Nations peacekeeping operations (PKOs) is one of the most effective ways for Japan to actively contribute to the peace and stability of the international community. As the Japanese Self-Defense Forces has already made important contributions in countries such as Haiti, Japan will consider making further contributions so that Japan can play an even more active role. Japan will also actively provide assistance for consolidation of peace in conflict areas and vulnerable countries including Sudan and Somalia.
It is now the tenth year since the September 11 attacks. Eradication of terrorism and organized crimes remains an issue for the entire international community. Japan will also continue its efforts in countering these threats.
Stability and reconstruction of Afghanistan and Pakistan are among the top priority issues for Japan and the international community. As for Afghanistan, Japan will steadily implement up to an amount of $5 billion of assistance in about five years in the areas of security, reintegration and development. As for Pakistan, Japan will continue its assistance so that Pakistan can recover from last year's flood damage, and so that it can accelerate security measures and economic reform.
Regarding the Middle East peace process, Japan will contribute to the advancement of the peace process through its assistance to the Palestinians and other efforts.
As a maritime state, it is important for Japan to ensure the safety of maritime navigation. Japan will continue to conduct the Anti-Piracy Measures taken by the Self-Defense Forces and others, and will keep assisting the efforts of the neighboring countries of Somalia to enhance the ability to maintain maritime safety.
With regard to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, in order to promote steady implementation of the agreement at the 2010 NPT Review Conference, Japan will advance the activities of the 'Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation' launched last year, and will lead discussions in the international community, with an aim to realize 'a world without nuclear weapons' by reducing nuclear risk. Toward next year's Nuclear Security Summit, we will reinforce cooperation with the ROK, the host, and the U.S. to advance concrete measures. As for the nuclear issue of Iran, in coordination with the international community, Japan will continue to urge Iran toward a peaceful and diplomatic solution.
Regarding human rights and humanitarian affairs, it is important that human rights and fundamental freedoms as universal values are secured in every nation and region of the world as well as in Japan. We will continue making efforts to promote them in various frameworks including the United Nations and bilateral human rights dialogues. Furthermore, to solve the refugee issues, we will actively carry out the acceptance of the refugees in the framework of the Refugee Resettlement Program which has been launched this fiscal year.
In addressing these global issues, Japan will lead the discussions at relevant fora such as the G8, and the G20. Japan attaches great importance to the role of the United Nations. In order to enhance its effectiveness, we will actively promote institutional reform of the United Nations and strengthening of its functions. In particular, we will actively work for an early realization of Security Council reform and Japan's permanent membership so as to make the Security Council a legitimate institution that reflects the reality of the current international community. Furthermore, Japan will seek to increase the number and strengthen the presence of Japanese staff in international organizations including the United Nations.
Creating Environment to Enhance Japan's Comprehensive Diplomatic Capacity
Finally, I would like to discuss the enhancement of Japan's comprehensive diplomatic capacity, which is necessary to carry out effectively the policies I described in the foregoing. The government will improve the structure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by opening new diplomatic missions and reallocating staff. At the same time, we will strengthen the foreign policy implementation structure, in such areas as information security as well as intelligence gathering and analysis. We will also work on efficient use of budget, appropriate documentation management and disclosure of diplomatic archives, to fulfill our accountability to the people of Japan.
Moreover, it is essential to gain the understanding of and trust toward Japan by the peoples of foreign countries. As such, we will actively communicate our major foreign policies to the world and also strategically disseminate Japan's current situation and culture, promote Japanese language, and enhance further people-to-people exchanges. I am convinced that these efforts will also help Japan to implement smooth promotion of Japan's foreign policies and support Japanese companies for their overseas expansion.
In addition to these government efforts, we will promote 'All-Japan' diplomacy by reinforcing cooperation with local governments, non-profit organizations (NPOs), and the public. We will work to create environment and support appropriately the Japanese nationals living around the world and companies launching abroad so that they can exert their strengths. These efforts will enhance Japan's national strengths as a whole.
Asia and the international community are in an era of dynamic change. Amidst this upheaval, to continue to play a role for the world peace and prosperity, we should not forget that the power of individual Japanese people will be the driving force. It was the originality and independent initiative of the people that created Japan of today. If we seek to establish a new Japan for tomorrow, and shape a new order in Asia and the world with this pride and spirit, we can turn the current challenges into a chance. I am determined that we are able to open a future if each of us acts with resolve. By steering diplomacy of the Kan Administration, I hereby declare my determination to lead this endeavor.
I sincerely request the support and cooperation of all Diet members and the Japanese people in these endeavors.
Back to Index