Speeches by the Foreign Minister

February 1, 2014

1.Summary of the discussion

 Thank you very much, Admiral James G. STAVRIDIS.

 These insightful and fruitful discussions were apt for this memorable 50th annual Munich Security Conference. I would like to thank and congratulate all the panelists, Ambassador Ishinger, and everyone involved in making this event a great success.

 Europe, America, and Asia; how will these three regions, each hugely responsible for world peace and prosperity, coordinate with each other? This event presents a good opportunity for me to revisit the topic of “Global Power and Regional Stability.”

 What will the security of these regions and the world look like over the next half-century? The answer depends upon the visions of and roles played by the global powers. I think this sums up today’s discussion. In order to materialize this, not only words but strong willpower and the spirit of cooperation are indispensable. This is not something obvious.

 The global community is not as it was 50 years ago; it is now connected by the internet. Various measures are taken in an attempt to influence people’s ways of thinking. I also hold deeply that, precisely because we live in such an era, deepening our understanding of one another by meeting in person like we’ve done here today is becoming more and more important.

 Therefore, I would like to explain with clarity Japan’s vision of “Global Power and Regional Stability.”

2.Japan’s vision

 "Proactive Contribution to Peace" based on the principle of international cooperation. This is Japan’s vision.

 Japan, as a major player in world politics and economics, will, in cooperation with our partners, contribute even more proactively in securing peace, stability, and prosperity of the regional and international community. The National Security Strategy adopted at the end of last year revealed this fundamental policy of Japan.

 I am glad that this policy has been supported firmly by many countries, including the United States, European countries, ASEAN members, and Australia.
 In the earlier discussion, there was a claim that Japan denies history. Japan faces its history squarely and has clearly expressed remorse for the war and its colonial rule. The path of a peace-loving country we have taken manifests this fact. Since the end of World War II, Japan has supported freedom, democracy and the rule of law in East Asia, such as a champion of these values, and has consistently contributed to peace and prosperity of the region and the world. Japan will continue to pursue the path of a peace-loving country. As a matter of course, Japan’s security policy is an extension of this peaceful course it has taken.

3.Proactive Contribution to Peace

 So, what exactly is the “Proactive Contribution to Peace” concept? Allow me to explain in concrete terms.

 Let’s take Africa for instance. For the development of Africa, Japan practiced its celebrated aid philosophy; that is, to extend assistance in order to promote the locals’ self-reliance. Recently, Africa has begun to achieve significant economic growth. Japan will boost its assistance to help create new businesses and so that women and youth can fully realize their potential. Japan is also taking part in the Peace Keeping Operation mission in South Sudan in order to sustain peace, which is the key condition for growth.

 The next example is the Middle East. I attended the Geneva II Peace Conference on Syria and committed to take part in bringing back a beautiful Syria. If the Middle East loses its stability, the consequences will spread around the globe in the form of terrorism and energy problems.

 To realize sustainable peace in the Middle East, Japan, in cooperation with Palestine, Israel and Jordan, is making efforts toward building a self-reliant economy of Palestine and in building confidence among the concerned members. In addition, last year, Japan established a framework to mobilize assistance from the East Asian countries for Palestine’s nation-building efforts. Last July, I visited Israel and Palestine and acknowledged the role Japan should play through these efforts in the region.

 ASEAN is another example. Japan seeks to provide further assistance toward ASEAN’s integration efforts. If ASEAN as a whole prospers, regional stability will increase and significant benefits will accrue to the global economy. Japan has such a vision. Three years ago, Japan suffered the great earthquake, and felt to its very core the dreadfulness of a natural disaster and appreciation for the warm support extended by the international community. Therefore, if our ASEAN friends face difficulties, Japan cannot ignore them. When an unprecedented typhoon struck the Philippines last November, Japan’s Self Defense Force and medical team consisting of 1200 members translated such belief into actions.

 Let me touch upon UN Peace Keeping Operations. Japan’s PKO missions contribute to peace-keeping through their high performance and great discipline and earn respect from the international community. Japan is exploiting ways to contribute even more actively to UN Peace Keeping Operations.

 Here is another example: Japan is the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings in war. Japan has consistently engaged in practical efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In order to realize “a world free of nuclear weapons,” Japan urges the nuclear nations to make further efforts. The rest of the nuclear nations should follow the efforts made by the United States and Russia. I have been playing a leading role in NPDI, the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative. This is an initiative where Foreign Ministers from twelve non-nuclear nations lead realistic and pragmatic efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In April, I will host the NPDI meetings in Hiroshima, where I am from, with the goal of making a meaningful proposal for the NPT Review Conference in 2015.

 Fundamental values, such as freedom, democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law must be shared more broadly in global society. In particular, whether the rule of law extends into the global commons such as the high seas, cyberspace, and outer space, which are the new frontiers of the world, determines the future of global peace.

 The strategic environment of the Asia-Pacific region is changing dramatically. In the Asian region, armament expenditures and the quantity of arms dealings are increasing by the greatest in the world. This is a major concern. Japan will further strengthen the Japan-US alliance, which has been the cornerstone of the region’s peace and stability.

 At the same time, Japan will promote cooperation with various countries in the field of security. Japan recently held “two plus two” dialogues, meetings in which both Foreign and Defense Ministers of each country attend, with the United States, Australia and France. Japan was also pleased to have a “two plus two” dialogue with a country whom we never would have imagined: Russia. Last November, Japan and Russia held a very meaningful “two plus two” dialogue, attended by Minister Lavrov, who also contributed to today’s discussion.

 Japan will also deepen security dialogues with the ASEAN members, India, and the countries of the Middle East. Although some issues lie between Japan and China, we should develop our relations from a broad perspective. From this standpoint, Japan would also like to promote dialogues with China in the field of security.


 The security environment we face today is completely different from the one which existed fifty years ago. Global power balance has changed dramatically and new challenges such as cyberspace, outer space, and terrorism have emerged.

 In such circumstances, no nation can maintain its own peace and security alone. A nation has to cooperate with other nations, and proactively contribute to peace and safety of the region and the world. If such a nation were a global power, it could not avoid such responsibilities. The policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” is how Japan carries out its responsibility, and it comports with the message the panelists communicated this morning at this significant moment commemorating the 50th annual Munich Security Conference.

 I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Europe twice in two consecutive weeks, following the Geneva II Peace Conference held last week. The magnificent heritage of Europe always overwhelms the people who visit. In particular, Europe has the splendid tradition of leading the world by its ideals of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. We wish to see Europe keep upholding its ideals, as it has done in the past. Japan is eager to deepen cooperation with Europe, with whom it shares these common values, to realize a peaceful and prosperous world.

 Thank you for your kind attention.

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