Review of Recent Developments
in Japan's Foreign Relations
Public Information Bureau
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
CHAPTER 1. INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT SURROUNDING JAPAN
CHAPTER 2. BASIC ISSUES OF JAPAN'S DIPLOMACY
CHAPTER 3. DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS MADE BY JAPAN
Section 1. Prime Minister Tanaka's Visits to Various Countries
Section 2. Contributions to the Harmonious Development of the World Economy
Section 3. Contributions to Settling the North-South Problem
Section 4. Quest for Peace and Prosperity through the United Nations
Section 5. Promotion of Mutual Understanding and Cultural Exchange
Section 6. Promotion of Understanding with Various Foreign Countries
Diplomatic Bluebook for 1973
The following is a translation of Part I, General Remarks, of the 1973 Diplomatic Bluebook, published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This edition covers the 1973 calendar year.
The world in 1973 witnessed progress, as it did in 1972, in the moves toward detente between the United States and the Soviet Union and also between Eastern and Western Europe. Cease-fire agreements were concluded for Vietnam and Laos, and progress was seen in working-level relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China. On the other hand, the outbreak of the fourth Middle East war and the subsequent oil crisis brought into sharp relief the complex power relationship in the world which has become multipolarized and diversified in the 30 years since World War II, raising many new problems and tasks for international politics and the world economy. The two superpowers, namely, the United States and the Soviet Union, avoided a direct confrontation over the latest Middle East war, adjusted their interests, and helped conclude the cease-fire agreement. In the course of peacemaking, however, there were instances in which a clash of basic interests was observed.
The moves toward detente by the major powers were accompanied by a show of greater independence by other nations which moved more vigorously to seek the right to speak, while factors leading to disputes between nations and in various regions became more apparent in some aspects instead of disappearing. Moreover, despite the fact that the countries of the world, whether advanced or developing, are bound together by a relationship of broad interdependence and interaction because of the intermixing of international politics and economic affairs, it was obvious that the system for adjusting interests and relations of mutual trust between nations was still fragile.
In this international environment, Japan, with the expansion of the scale of its business activities and the sharp increase of its presence abroad, due to the rapid growth of its economy in recent years, swiftly and on a broad multilateral level expanded its relations of mutual dependence with other countries and various areas of the world. As a result, Japan's international influence and stature has increased and its activities both at home and abroad have come to exercise a considerable effect on the politics, economies and public welfare of various countries of the world. Similarly, world events have come to affect the politics, economy and national life of Japan to a very great extent. This country, therefore, is faced by the need to carry out its diplomacy extensively and multilaterally in many fields over the whole range of international relations, such as in the political, economic and cultural fields, including regions with which it had relatively limited relations in the past.
The international environment today poses no easy challenge for Japan to tackle. The latest Middle East war, the oil strategy of the oil-producing Arab countries and the anti-Japanese sentiment demonstrated by some elements in some of the Southeast Asian countries on the occasion of Prime Minister Tanaka's visit to Southeast Asia early in 1974 clearly showed the difficulty and complexity of this country's position. Correctly assessing the international environment in which it is placed and keeping in mind its own fundamental position and capabilities in a long-term perspective, Japan must strengthen greatly the basis for its diplomatic activities to cope flexibly with the fluid situation, and also accumulate positive efforts in pursuing and expanding a lasting unity of common interests with the rest of the world.