Foreign Policy Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Katsuya Okada
to the 174th Session of the Diet
January 29, 2010
At the beginning of the 174th session of the Diet, I wish to outline my thinking on the basic orientation of Japan's foreign policy.
Condolences and Aid Measures for Haiti
I would like to start by offering my heartfelt condolences for those who lost their lives by the recent earthquake in Haiti, as well as my sympathies to all those affected. In addition to the emergency assistance provided up to now through medical activities and others by the Japan Disaster Relief Team, Japan has announced its intention to extend emergency and reconstruction assistance totaling approximately $70 million, and to participate in the peacekeeping operation in Haiti. We will continue to contribute actively to the recovery and reconstruction of Haiti, making good use of our experience and expertise as an earthquake-prone country.
The international community embarks on new era of cooperation, with the United States President Barack Obama's entrance as one of the momentum. It is through global peace and prosperity and through international cooperation to realize it that the peace and prosperity of our country can be achieved.
In the current international community, we encounter various challenges. We need to constantly maintain global perspective rather than being inward-looking, to do what ought to be done, and to readily open our country to the world. Japan is called on to act proactively and to present initiatives, and thereby to respond to international expectations.
Last September, when I assumed the office of Foreign Minister, I emphasized that I considered the occasion of the change of government to be a great opportunity and that I intend to pursue foreign policy based on the understanding and trust of the Japanese people. Towards this end, in handling each foreign policy issue, I have placed premium on three principles: first, understand the reality on the ground; second, in policy consideration, always return to the basics; and third, communicate to the public in plain and clear language.
My visits across Japan during the last general election campaign have brought home to me great public expectations of a new politics. I am resolved to make my utmost efforts to undertake new foreign policy.
Having stated the foregoing, I will now address this year's agenda for Japan's foreign affairs by sharing with the nation my basic thinking on: first, strengthening of the relations with other countries and regions, and second, dealing with the global issues.
Strengthening Japan's Relations with Each Country and Region
The Japan-U.S. Alliance is the linchpin of Japan's foreign policy and the cornerstone of Japan's security. It contributes greatly to the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region as public goods. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the conclusion of the Japan-U.S. Mutual Cooperation and Security Treaty. In the meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the 12th of this month in Hawaii, we agreed to commence a process of dialogues for further deepening of the alliance. Looking at the Alliance in the next 30 years or 50 years, the government seeks to make this a year of reaffirming in both countries the role that the Japan-U.S. Alliance plays in the security of Japan and in the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the world. In this context, I will explain candidly to Japanese people that the presence of the U.S. Forces in Japan plays an important role as deterrence ensuring Japan's safety, in an effort to deepen the understanding of Japanese people on this matter.
Concerning the relocation of the Futenma Air Station, with full recognition of the weight of Japan-U.S. agreements, and fully taking into account the roles played by the U.S. Bases and the reduction of the burden on Okinawa, the Government will decide on a specific site for the relocation by the end of May. On that basis, the government will work on issues of the Japan-U.S. Status-of-Force Agreement and the host nation support.
In the last meeting with Secretary Clinton, we discussed cooperation between our two countries on the Asia-Pacific regional situations, such as North Korea and Myanmar, as well as on the global challenges such as Afghanistan, Iran, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Japan will continue to coordinate on such broad-ranging issues with the U.S. and deepen the Japan-U.S. Alliance.
Our government will actively promote diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region with the aim of growing and prospering together with the region. Japan will make use of its funds, technology, and knowledge to encourage development in Asia, the growth center of the world, while connecting Asia's vitality and demand to Japan's own growth.
The Republic of Korea is a neighboring country with which we share basic values. Japan will strengthen the future-oriented relationship with the country as mature partners, squarely facing up to our history. We will also seek early resumption of Japan-Korea EPA negotiations.
With regard to Japan-China relationship, we will enrich and give shape to the "Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interest." We will also engage in resolving pending issues between the two countries, such as resource development in the East China Sea and food safety issues. We expect China, with its growing international status, to play a responsible role in the region and in the international community with improved transparency.
Japan will actively support enhancement of connectivity among the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) toward their integration as well as narrowing the development gap. Japan will also seek to strengthen bilateral relations with, among others, Vietnam, the presidency of ASEAN, and with Indonesia, proactively engaged in the international issues such as promotion of democracy. Particularly with the Mekong region, Japan will steadily follow up on the outcomes of the Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting last November and will deepen the cooperative relationship. We will also strengthen a dialogue with Myanmar so as to see the realization of an open and fair election as well as the advancement in the process of democratization in Myanmar.
Australia is a strategic partner in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan will strengthen the relationship between the two countries in various areas including security and economic relations.
Japan will cooperate with India on a wide range of issues including security and economy, building upon the achievements of Prime Minister Hatoyama's visit to India at the end of last year, and will develop the Strategic Global Partnership between our two countries.
This administration has put forward the initiative for an East Asian community as a long-term vision. To achieve this vision, we will promote open and highly transparent regional cooperation, in areas such as trade and investment, finance, environment, energy, development, disaster relief, education, people to people exchanges, and infectious diseases.
This year, Japan assumes chairmanship of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). We will take the lead in formulating ideas to make APEC better attuned to the new era, toward further prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, in close coordination with the United States, which will be chair the next year.
As for the relationship with Russia, in light of my visit to Russia at the end of last year, Japan will advance both political and economic relations as a "two wheels on the same axle" and vigorously engage in efforts to reach a final resolution on the issue of the Northern Territories and conclude a peace treaty. Japan aims to build a new Japan-Russia relationship as partners in the Asia-Pacific region.
With regard to North Korea, Japan will seek to normalize relations through a comprehensive resolution of the outstanding issues of concern, including the abduction issue, the nuclear and missile issues, and by settling the unfortunate past, in accordance with the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration. Japan will coordinate closely with concerned countries toward the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and North Korea's abandoning its nuclear weapons program. At the same time, we will steadily implement measures based on United Nations Security Council resolutions as well as Japan's own measures. Our government will work toward early enactment of the relevant bill to enable firm implementation of the cargo inspections called upon in UN Security Council Resolution 1874, which Japan took the lead in adopting, in every respect.
Europe, with which Japan shares basic values, is an important partner in responding to global challenges and in both political and economic spheres. I will work together with foreign ministers in Europe to build closer partnership with the increasingly integrated European Union and with each individual country.
Japan will strengthen collaboration with emerging economies such as Brazil and Mexico, both increasingly influential in the Latin America along with their economic growth, and Turkey, which has historical and geographic ties with the Middle East and Central Asia.
The stability of Afghanistan and Pakistan is one of the most important issues for the international community as a whole. I visited these countries myself and have been making special efforts for the stability of the two countries. While continuing to coordinate with the international community, Japan will provide assistance up to an amount in the region of $5 billion in about five years from 2009, main areas of assistance being enhancement of Afghanistan's own capability to maintain security, reintegration of former Taliban soldiers, and the country's sustainable and self reliant development. At the same time, we strongly urge the new administration of President Hamid Karzai to improve governance and tackle corruption. With regard to Pakistan, Japan continues to swiftly implement the assistance of up to $1 billion pledged at the Donors Conference held last year.
On Iran, Japan will work closely with major relevant countries and make efforts toward a diplomatic solution of the nuclear issue so that Iran's nuclear development will be solely for peaceful purposes. As regards the Middle East peace process, we will support international efforts for peace talks and will make efforts including our assistance to the Palestinians with a view to achieving early comprehensive peace.
Global economic crisis and climate change seriously affect the people of Africa. It is important to support African people suffering from poverty, AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, among others. To fulfill the commitment at the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) to "double official development assistance (ODA) to Africa," we will support Africa's development and growth through steadily implementing programs needed, and further broaden cooperation in the areas of trade and investment.
Taking a Leadership in Global Issues
Next, I shall discuss Japan's demonstrating proactive leadership in global issues.
<Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation>
President of the United States of America Barack Obama's speech in Prague dramatically changed the global trend toward nuclear disarmament. Japan should play a meaningful role in consolidating this trend.
This is an important year for advance toward a world without nuclear weapons, with the Nuclear Security Summit and the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference scheduled to take place. Japan strongly hopes for an early conclusion of the new nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russia. At the NPT Review Conference, Japan will take leadership to achieve a positive agreement in each field of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
I find worthy of attention such ideas as prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states, or making deterring others from using such weapons as a sole purpose of retaining nuclear weapons, as the concrete means to take a first step toward the "world without nuclear weapons." This government will deepen discussions with countries such as Australia and the United States on these and other issues.
Climate change is a crisis that confronts human being, and solving this problem is our responsibility to the next generation. The 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP15) at the end of last year produced a certain level of progress, for example, in getting international involvement of major emitting countries. Based on this, we will lead international negotiations in coordination with the United States, the European Union, the UN, and others in order to adopt at COP16 a new legal document which establishes a fair and effective international framework. On the basis of the Hatoyama Initiative, Japan will extend assistance to developing countries which tackle climate change through measures such as emission reductions, or which are vulnerable to the negative impact of climate change. To solve the problem of climate change, it is challenge where Japan's diplomatic ability is being truly tested.
<The World Economy>
The world economy is still struggling on the path to recovery. Japan will work in coordination with other major economic powers to secure recovery and sustained growth of the global economy, while preventing the rise of protectionism. Japan willwork to accelerate the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha round negotiations and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) negotiations with partners such as India and the EU, through political leadership.
<Official Development Assistance>
In the globalizing international community, it is the harsh reality that many people suffer from hunger and disease, and live hard lives in which they are unable to maintain their dignity as human beings. In sympathy with these people as a fellow human being, we will provide support for human development and nation-building in developing countries with a view to realizing human security. This government will work toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals, including eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, in collaboration with international organizations and NGOs.
At the same time, with the recognition that current state of development assistance has not attracted sufficient sympathy of the Japanese people, this government will conduct a basic review of Official Development Assistance (ODA) by this summer. We will then proceed to implement ODA more strategically and effectively with the public understanding and support.
<Piracy, Terrorism, and United Nations Peacekeeping Activities>
Japan being a maritime and trading state, ensuring the safety of maritime navigation is an important agenda for the country. The Anti-Piracy Measures taken by Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the support provided to Somalia and the surrounding countries are playing an important role in terms of both the protection of the lives and property of Japanese nationals and the safety of maritime transportation. Japan will continue to implement these activities.
Terrorism is a threat to the Japanese nationals and their economic activities. Japan will make efforts to help rebuild states and address the issue of poverty, which is one of the causes of terrorism. This government will also contribute to the peace and stability of Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and other countries.
While Japan's participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations has a prominent track record in Cambodia, East Timor and elsewhere, the level of Japan's recent contributions cannot be said to be sufficient. In order to play a more active role in peacekeeping and peacebuilding, this government will consider further contributions beyond the mission in Haiti which I mentioned at the beginning.
<Creating a Framework for Developing Foreign Policy>
The world is becoming multipolar and thereby, we need to restructure an international mechanism for formulating agreement. Japan will engage actively in this.
While the G20 – composed of major economies including emerging economies – increases its presence, the G8 continues to play an important role representing the major advanced countries that share the basic values of freedom and democracy. Through discussion in these frameworks, Japan will lead international cooperation on the world economy and other global issues.
Japan attaches great importance to the United Nations, will make active use of it and contribute to enhancing its effectiveness and efficiency. To achieve this goal, our government will work for early realization of Security Council reform, including Japan's entry into the Council as a permanent member. Japan will seek to increase the number and strengthen the presence of Japanese staff in international organizations and enhance its human resource contributions.
Since assuming this office, I have emphasized the need for foreign policy supported by the understanding and trust of the nation. It is only with the understanding and trust of the nation that our conduct of foreign policy can have the strength.
It was for this purpose that I ordered an investigation into the issue of so-called "secret agreements" immediately after assuming this office. Investigations within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have already been completed, and currently, the outside experts are verifying the findings. After clarifying the facts, I intend to explain them to the public as soon as possible, including reform[s concerning the disclosure rules for diplomatic documents.
The taxpayers' perspective is also important. Therefore, our government will work on reforming incorporated administrative agencies and public-interest corporations administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We will also examine an appropriate form of such organizations and third-party entities such as the Incorporated Administrative Agency Evaluation Committee and the Foreign Service Personnel Council, so that those organizations can fulfill their intended roles.
By carrying out such self-reforms, we will seek to gain understanding and trust of the people, and we will tackle head-on various challenges I have mentioned above and develop active foreign policy.
I intend to enhance Japan's total diplomatic capabilities. To this end, this government will strengthen the diplomatic implementation structure so that our diplomats can act with a sense of mission. Foreign affairs is not something undertaken only by the government. At the COP15, members of NGOs participated in the government delegation. In terms of conducting foreign affairs in the broad sense, I have great expectations for the role of NGOs, local governments, private-sector businesses and organizations, and individuals involved in cultural exchange.
A dynamic foreign policy supported by the understanding and trust is indispensable in achieving peace and affluence for the people of the world and in allowing the people of this country to fully appreciate peace and affluence. In this new era of international cooperation, I am determined to develop, with fully committed efforts of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, foreign policy that inspires people to hope.
I sincerely request the support and cooperation of all Diet members and the people of this country in these endeavors.
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