Speeches by the Foreign Minister

February 12, 2015
At the 189th session of the Diet, I wish to outline my thinking on the basic orientation of Japan's foreign policy.


Before all else, I would like to express my condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the families of the two Japanese nationals killed by inhuman and despicable acts of terrorism in Syria. With the prayers of the Japanese people, the government did its utmost in the face of that crisis. It is a matter of the greatest regret that the situation ended as it did despite these efforts. We are infuriated by the intolerable and heinous acts and resolutely condemn them. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all members of the Diet for their understanding and cooperation over the past weeks.

The lives of many innocent citizens have been lost around the world in acts of terrorism perpetrated by extremist groups. No nation is immune from the threat of terrorism. Japan will never give in to terrorism. We will take all available measures to ensure the safety of our nationals both in Japan and abroad. We will further expand humanitarian assistance to the Middle East and Africa, and will fulfill with determination our responsibilities in the anti-terrorism efforts of the international community.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the members of the international community for the solidarity they showed throughout the recent crisis. The solidarity shown by Jordan and other countries and regions around the world reflects the cumulative effects of Japan's diplomatic efforts over many years and is tangible evidence of Japan's enhanced presence in the international community and its expanding cooperative network.

As evidenced by acts of terrorism in areas throughout the world, the process of globalization is advancing in tandem with the diversification of threats. Moreover, the strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific region remains severe. No country acting alone can preserve peace for its own nation and ensure the safety of its people. It is indeed because such conditions prevail that we will redouble our efforts to promote our foreign policy of holding high the banner of "Proactive Contribution to Peace" based on the principle of international cooperation, ensuring Japan's national security and fulfilling our responsibilities for upholding global peace and prosperity as a member of the international community.

This year marks 70 years since the end of World War II and the establishment of the United Nations. We must never repeat the horrors of the 20th century. Based on our feeling of remorse over World War II, Japan has consistently upheld basic values such as freedom, democracy, the rule of law, the market economy, and human rights, and has supported the United Nations and other systems and frameworks. The peace and prosperity we enjoy today are founded on the endeavors of those who preceded us and the benefits of the international order. Japan's orientation as a peace-loving nation will never sway.

Peace is not merely the absence of war. During the past 70 years, Japan has been blessed with an environment in which its people have lived in safety, security, and prosperity. Drawing on our own experiences, we desire to spread such peace and prosperity throughout the region and the world. For this purpose, we have actively contributed to promoting development, peacebuilding, national reconciliation, and democratization in Asia and other parts of the world. We have also taken the initiative in addressing global issues, including disarmament, non-proliferation, and environmental protection.

Japan will continue to pursue its path as a peace-loving nation into the future, and will implement concrete foreign policies of "Proactive Contribution to Peace" based on the principle of international cooperation.

Ensuring Japan's Security and Realizing Prosperity

It is necessary to take measures to respond to the increasingly severe security environment surrounding Japan. Our policy for resolutely defending Japan's territorial land, sea, and airspace is immutable, and we will continue to deal in a firm but calm manner with any related issues. To secure the lives and peaceful livelihood of its people and to contribute even more actively to the peace and stability of the international community, Japan needs to develop seamless security legislation. The government will continue to make sufficient explanations in order to gain the understanding of the public.

As in the past, this year I will again vigorously pursue foreign policies based on the three pillars of Japan's foreign policy: strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance, enhancing our relations with neighboring countries, and strengthening economic diplomacy.

The first pillar is to strengthen the Japan-US Alliance, the linchpin of Japan's diplomacy.

In April 2014, the leaders of Japan and the United States confirmed that the Japan-U.S. Alliance plays a leading role in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific. We will continue to strengthen the Alliance in all areas.

In the area of national security, we will promote security and defense cooperation in a wide range of areas including the revision of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, and further strengthen the deterrence. We will proceed with the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and will make efforts to reduce the impact on Okinawa. Regarding Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma, in particular, the government will work toward its earliest possible relocation, recognizing that eliminating risks associated with MCAS Futenma is crucially important. We will also move forward with the preparations necessary for the signing on the Agreement to Supplement the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement on Environmental Stewardship.

The second pillar of Japan's foreign policy consists of enhancing our relations with neighboring countries.

Relations with China constitute one of Japan's most important bilateral relationships. China's peaceful development based on respect for the rules of the international community and the rule of law offers a very important opportunity for Japan. In light of the outcomes of the summit and foreign ministers' meetings held on the occasion of the Beijing APEC last November, we return to the starting point of "Mutually Beneficial Relations Based on Common Strategic Interests" and will promote the development of Japan-China relations from a broad perspective through continued dialogues and cooperation at various levels.

The Republic of Korea (ROK) is our most important neighbor with whom we share common interests in maintaining peace and prosperity in the region, and it is only natural for Japan to strengthen its relations with the ROK. Japan will actively engage in promoting dialogue on various levels. From a broader perspective, Japan desires to build, through the efforts of both countries, a future-oriented and multilayered cooperative relationship for the 50th anniversary of the normalization of the Japan-ROK relations from a broader perspective. We will also endeavor to strengthen economic relations. On Takeshima, which is an inherent part of the territory of Japan, Japan will continue to make steady efforts by clearly conveying its position.

Moreover, we will pursue a forward-looking approach to strengthening the cooperative relations among Japan, China, and the ROK and will endeavor to hold a trilateral meeting of foreign ministers at an early date with the hope that this will lead to a trilateral summit meeting.

A more highly integrated, prosperous, and stable ASEAN is extremely important for peace and stability throughout the entire region. We will continue to support efforts for building the ASEAN Community in 2015 and promoting its greater integration. Japan will also seek to further deepen its relations with ASEAN and individual ASEAN member states.

Japan will strengthen cooperation with India based on the Special Strategic Global Partnership, and deepen its ties with other Southwest Asian countries.

In regard to Australia, with whom Japan enjoys a special relationship based on shared basic values and strategic interests, we will promote cooperation in the areas of security and defense through bilateral and trilateral frameworks involving Japan, Australia, and the United States. We will also further promote our bilateral relationship including enhanced economic ties through the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.

Japan will seek to further strengthen its relations with the Pacific island countries through the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting to be held in May.

With regard to the Japan-Russia relationship, we will pursue to promote the national interests of Japan through ongoing political dialogue, with the aim of realizing President Putin's visit to Japan at an appropriate time during 2015. Concerning the issue of the Northern Territories, which is the largest pending issue, we will engage persistently in negotiations toward the conclusion of a peace treaty with Russia by resolving the issue of the attribution of the four islands. We will also work to promote dialogue and effort among all related parties to reach a peaceful resolution to the situation in Ukraine, and will call on Russia to play a constructive role in this process. Japan will continue to provide Ukraine with assistance for implementing reforms.

With regard to North Korea, under the policy of "dialogue and pressure" and in accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, Japan will continue to work toward the comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern, such as the abductions, nuclear, and missile issues. North Korea's continued nuclear and missile development poses a grave threat to peace and security in the region and in the international community as a whole. In coordination with countries concerned, Japan will continue to strongly urge North Korea to sincerely and fully comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and the Six-Party Talks Joint Statement. Japan will continue to strongly urge North Korea to sincerely heed the voice of the international community and take concrete actions toward improving its human rights situation. The abductions issue is a matter of critical importance concerning the sovereignty of Japan and the lives and safety of Japanese citizens, and constitutes one of the most important issues for the Abe Administration. Japan will make its utmost effort so that the investigations by North Korea yield will lead to the concrete result of the return of all the abductees.

Japan will reinforce its multilayered cooperative relations with individual European countries, the European Union, NATO, and others. In particular, we will promote cooperation which is developing in the areas of security and defense with the United Kingdom and France.

Japan will strengthen its relationship in a wide array of areas with Latin American and Caribbean countries, including cooperation in the international arena.

The third pillar of Japan's foreign policy is strengthening economic diplomacy as a means to promoting the revitalization of the Japanese economy.

Japan will continue to promote strategic economic diplomacy that contributes to the revitalization and growth of its national economy. Joint government-private sector initiatives will be advanced to support the overseas activities of Japanese enterprises, including top-level sales efforts and the utilization of Official Development Assistance (ODA). From the perspective of reinforcing efforts contributing to the revitalization of our local economies, we will continue to promote Japanese products overseas and take measures to counter harmful rumors. To develop international economic rules, Japan will actively take part in discussions at such frameworks as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), G7 summit meetings, and other fora.

Furthermore, we will strategically and swiftly promote negotiations on comprehensive and high-level economic partnership agreements that contribute to our national interests, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Japan will strengthen its resources diplomacy to ensure stable supplies of energy, mineral, and food resources.

Regarding the sustainable use of living marine resources, including whales, we will make further efforts to gain the understanding and support of the international community.

Safety Measures for Protecting Japanese Nationals Overseas and Countermeasures for International Terrorism

Responding to the recent murder of Japanese hostages in Syria, we have implemented additional measures such as issuing alerts and disseminating safety information to Japanese nationals living abroad. We have also reinforced our communications with Japanese schools overseas and have requested local security authorities to enhance the school protection. In addition, to further ensure the safety of Japanese nationals living and traveling abroad, a task force has been established to identify possible and specific measures at an early date.

Moreover, Japan will fulfill its responsibilities to the international community in the fight against terrorism and actively disseminate statements of Japan's position. Furthermore, we will redouble our efforts in gathering terrorism-related information.

Amid the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), it is urgent to regain a stable Middle East region founded on the spirit of "The Best Way Is to Go in the Middle." To stem the tide of extremism, Japan will provide moderate Islamic nations with non-military assistance as much as possible.

Further Contributing to the Resolution of Global Issues

Together with promoting these three pillars of our foreign policy, Japan will continue to actively contribute to addressing global issues facing the international community under the policy of "Proactive Contribution to Peace" based on the principle of international cooperation.

Japan will further enhance its cooperation with the United Nations during this milestone year of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations.

Japan is ready to fulfill the responsibilities of a permanent member of the Security Council with an eye to ensuring that the United Nations is suitable for the 21st century. Working with India, Germany, and Brazil, Japan will play a leading role in realizing Security Council reform. Moreover, we will make every effort toward the election for the non-permanent membership of the Security Council this year.

Japan will further expand its contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations (PKO), and will promote peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
We will also endeavor to increase the number of Japanese staff in international organizations.

This year also marks 70 years since the atomic bombings. As the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings in war, Japan will lead the discussions in the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and we will promote realistic and practical measures to achieve "a world free of nuclear weapons".

In the area of climate change, Japan will actively contribute to adopting an agreement for a fair and effective post-2020 international framework applicable to all Parties at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21). As part of this effort, we will submit a bill for the Green Climate Fund to the current Diet session regarding making financial contributions to the Green Climate Fund.

Realizing a "society where women shine" is a common global challenge. Japan will contribute to making the 21st century a world with no human rights violations against women. This year again we will be hosting the World Assembly for Women (WAW!).

Japan will actively contribute to discussions toward the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda. With human security as a guiding principle, we will aim at creating a framework that can respond to international challenges in such areas as disaster risk reduction and public health, and will work toward creating a framework for the participation of a broad range of actors. In March, Japan will host the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, and we will take this opportunity to make an appeal for the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction and the reconstruction of disaster-affected areas.

Under the newly adopted Development Cooperation Charter, we will strategically utilize official development assistance (ODA) to contribute even more actively to the peace, stability, and prosperity of the international community. In particular, ODA will be utilized to further promote public-private partnerships.

Japan will continue to strengthen its partnership with a fast-growing Africa mainly through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process. We will continue to provide seamless assistance to combat the Ebola virus disease outbreak.

Japan will make its best effort to realize and consolidate the rule of law in global commons, including seas, outer space, and cyberspace. We will work in cooperation with leading countries and related countries toward maintaining and developing "Open and Stable Seas" based on the "Three Principles on the Rule of Law at Sea."

Enhancing Comprehensive Diplomatic Capacity and Strategic Dissemination of Information

We will continue to bolster our comprehensive diplomatic capacity in order to create systems for the implementation of foreign policy that place Japan on par with major countries. In order to enhance Japan's presence in the international community, we will effectively utilize our budget to strategically convey a true and accurate image of Japan and its diverse attractiveness, while strongly developing and expanding the basis of well-informed people on Japan. We will promote the establishment of Japan Houses in major countries to serve as centers for the public diplomacy. Resources will also be allocated to strengthening cooperation with Nikkei communities.


The diplomatic achievements gained over the past two years can be attributed to the steady development of relations of trust with the countries of the world through an "All-Japan" approach that broadly mobilizes all the resources of the nation. While diplomacy defines the relation between countries, in the final analysis, it is based on bonds that exist between individuals. I pledge that I will continue to energetically enhance mutual understanding with my foreign minister counterparts and other leaders overseas. Valuing and preserving these bonds and capitalizing on the relations of trust fostered over the past two years, I commit myself to implementing the foreign policies I have just outlined above and to steadily garnering positive results regarding the diplomatic issues we face today.

I ask for the understanding and cooperation of all Diet members and people of Japan.

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