Section 1. Promotion of Relations with Other Countries


I. Asia


1. Overview


The basic objective of Japan's foreign policy toward Asia is to build peace and prosperity throughout this region in cooperation with the neighboring Asian countries.

In 1978, while elements of instability existed in Asia, such as the outbreak of new confrontations and conflicts in Indochina, there were also steady developments toward stability and prosperity. Among such developments were the conclusion of the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship, normalization of United States-China diplomatic relations, China's positive and open international posture, steady progress in the efforts of the ASEAN countries toward stability and cooperation, and continuing stable relations among the countries of Southwest Asia.

Against such a background, Japan endeavored to strengthen mutual understanding and solidarity with all the Asian countries, exercised its economic, political and diplomatic influence to support trends toward stability and discourage tendencies toward instability, and thereby contributed positively to the building of peace and prosperity throughout Asia.


2. Korean Peninsula


(1) As the maintenance of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is important for the security of East Asia, including Japan, it has always been the strong wish of Japan that tension on this peninsula be relaxed further. For this purpose, it is essential that the North and South Koreans resume a substantive dialogue between themselves. Following the new developments in the international situation in East Asia in the latter half of 1978, both the North and South Koreans seemed to realise the necessity of seeking some new means to strengthen their international position. The moves that had been made since the beginning of 1979 toward reopening of the North-South dialogue were probably indications of their new attitudes.

As for Japan, its basic policy has been to contribute as much as possible to fostering an international environment conducive to relaxation of tension on the Korean Peninsula. Japan has made efforts along this line, and intends to continue its efforts in this direction in the future.

In doing so, Japan will pay full attention to the fact that maintenance of equilibrium between the North and the South is very important for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and will do what it can to maintain that equilibrium.

(2) In 1978, the Republic of Korea experienced major domestic political events which included a presidential election, an election of National Assembly members and a Cabinet reshuffle. After these events, the Republic of Korea entered into the second period of the so-called "renovation regime" under the leadership of President Park Chung Hee.

In 1978, the Republic of Korea achieved real economic growth of 12.5% and per capita national income of $1,242. In keeping with this remarkable economic growth, the interchange between the Republic of Korea and Japan has become increasingly intensive and also extensive. In this background, Japan made efforts to solidify further the good neighborly relations with the Republic of Korea. Among these efforts, the Japan-ROK Agreement on the Continental Shelf deserves special mention. This long-pending agreement came into effect in 1978, enabling the two countries to develop jointly the energy resources on the designated continental shelf over a period of fifty years.

As Japan and the Republic of Korea are closely related both historically and geographically, frictions tend to arise all the easier. Japan, bearing these special circumstances in mind, conducts its diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea in such a manner as to enlarge the scope of interchange and promote mutual confidence.

(3) In its relations with North Korea, Japan endeavors to promote mutual understanding by gradually building up interchanges in the economic and cultural fields.


3. China


(1) Relations between Japan and China have developed smoothly since their normalization in September 1972, as evidenced by the conclusion of working agreements on trade, air transport, shipping, fishery and trademarks, as well as by increases in trade volume and personnel interchange. On August 12, 1978, the pending Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship was finally signed, and it took effect on October 23 by the exchange of ratifications in Tokyo. Chinese Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping visited Japan for the occasion.

The objective of this treaty is to solidify and develop peaceful and friendly relations between Japan and China. It can be said that by conclusion of this treaty a solid foundation for stable relations between the two countries over a long period was established. The stabilization of peaceful and friendly relations between Japan and China, two of the major Asian countries, is not only important to the two countries themselves, but also very significant to the peace and stability of Asia and of the whole world. From this viewpoint, Japan is trying to solidify its peaceful and friendly relations with China on the basis of the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

(2) During the negotiations for this treaty which took place in Beijing from July to August 1978, the Japanese delegation offered Vice-Premier Deng an invitation to visit Japan. He accepted the invitation and paid an official visit to Japan for eight days in late October. It was the first visit to Japan by a top leader of the Chinese government after the normalization of relations between Japan and China, and it was very important for further consolidation of friendly relations between the two countries. Again in February 1979, Vice-Premier Deng made a short visit to Japan on his way home from the United States, and had a talk with Prime Minister Ohira. At this meeting, an agreement was reached in principle on realization of the exchange of visits by the prime ministers of both countries.

(3) As regards economic relations, trade between the two countries in 1978 totalled a little over $5,000 million both ways, attaining an unprecedentedly high level. Technical cooperation on government basis (for modernization of railway systems) and development cooperation in the private sector are also progressing.

(4) In the field of cultural exchanges, a Kabuki troupe visited China in January 1979, and a program for receiving students from China is under way.


4. Five ASEAN Countries and Burma


It has been an important pillar of Japanese foreign policy toward Asia to cooperate positively with the ASEAN countries in their efforts to strengthen their resilience, while consolidating relations of mutual trust based on "heart-to-heart" contacts with these countries. Japan also has endeavored to promote friendly and cooperative relations and mutual understanding with Burma.

In line with this basic policy, Japan made the following diplomatic efforts and moves in a vigorous manner.

In June 1978, Foreign Minister S. Sonoda met with the foreign ministers of the five ASEAN countries in the first Japan-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting at Pattaya, Thailand, where he tried successfully to establish the "heart-to-heart" contact with his counterparts from ASEAN. In that year there were many other exchanges of visits on a ministerial level between Japan and the region of ASEAN and Burma: in June Foreign Minister S. Sonoda paid an official visit to Thailand; in May and in September International Trade and Industry Minister T. Kohmoto visited the ASEAN countries; from July to August External Economic Affairs Minister N. Ushiba went to all the ASEAN countries and Burma. From ASEAN, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Mahathir came to Japan in October 1978, while Thai Prime Minister Kriangsak paid an official visit to Japan in January 1979.

On international political and economic matters, Japan made efforts to impress upon the United States and other nations the importance of ASEAN on such occasions as the Japan-U.S. summit meeting of 1978. Before the Bonn summit in July, Japan tried to make sure that she could participate in the conference with full knowledge and understanding of the views and interests of the ASEAN countries. Moreover, Japan made positive contributions in primary commodities issues, including those related to the Common Fund and individual commodity agreements in which the ASEAN countries had keen interests.

In economic cooperation and cultural exchanges, Japan gave priority considerations to the ASEAN countries and Burma.

With regard to various cooperative measures which Japan pledged to undertake at the Japan-ASEAN summit conference in 1977, Japan has been doing its best to honor the pledges and already many fruits have been borne on are being borne as have been evidenced by the ASEAN industrial project (Indonesia), the ASEAN Cultural Fund and other projects.


5. Indochina


Japan takes the view that while laying emphasis on cooperation with the ASEAN countries, it should establish relations based on mutual understanding with Indochinese countries, thus contributing to peace and stability throughout Southeast Asia. On the basis of this view, Japan made positive diplomatic efforts toward Indochinese countries during 1978.

In its relations with Vietnam, Japan settled the question of debts by Vietnam to Japan, and extended new economic cooperation. Moreover, Japan invited Vice-Foreign Minister Phan Hien in July and Foreign Minister Nguyen Duy Trinh in December to Japan, and through exchanges of views with these leaders which centered round the situation in Indochina, Japan tried to expand the channels of dialogue with Vietnam.

As for Cambodia and Laos, Japan made efforts to maintain its relations with these countries through a visit to Cambodia by Mr. Sato, then Japanese ambassador to China, and visits to Japan by Democratic Kampuchean Vice-Premier Ieng Sary in June and October, and by Laotian acting Foreign Minister Khamphay Boupha. With respect to the Vietnam-Cambodia conflict and the aggravation of Sino-Vietnamese relations, Japan strongly called on all the countries concerned to seek peaceful settlement of disputes and to show self-restraint, taking the opportunities of the abovementioned visits to Japan by Vietnamese and Cambodian government leaders, the visit to China by Foreign Minister Sonoda in August, and the visit to Japan in February by Chinese Vice-Premier Deng on his way home from a visit to the United States.

Concerning the armed conflicts in Cambodia and between China and Vietnam, Japan took the stand that it opposes any attempt to settle disputes by force. From this basic standpoint, Japan appealed for an immediate ceasefire withdrawal of foreign armed forces, and settlement through negotiations. At the same time, Japan called on the big powers concerned to act with prudence. It also offered wholehearted support to the diplomatic efforts for peace made by the ASEAN countries deeply concerned about the aggravation of the Indochinese situation. Furthermore, at the U.N. Security Council meeting on the Indochinese situation, Japan emphatically expressed its view as mentioned above. These consistent diplomatic efforts by Japan in the cause of peace were appreciated by the ASEAN countries and many other countries of the world. Moreover, in view of the use of Soviet military vessels and aircraft facilities in Vietnam after the outbreak of the armed hostilities between China and Vietnam, Japan expressed its apprehensions respectively to Vietnam and the Soviet Union, indicating that this could bring in new factors causing tension in Asia.


6. Southwest Asia


(1) Southwest Asia not only occupies an important position on the route connecting the Middle East with Southeast Asia, it is a region where the interests of the United States, China and the Soviet Union are intertwined. Because of these geographic and political factors, the peace and stability of this region have a great bearing on the peace and stability not only of Asia but of the entire world. Japan made various diplomatic efforts during 1978 in order to contribute to the enhancement of the stability and development of this region as best as it could, through further strengthening its traditionally friendly and cooperative relations with the Southwest Asian nations.

(2) The top-level exchanges of visits in 1978 between Japan and Southwest Asian countries were as follows: President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh and King Birendra of Nepal paid official visits to Japan in April and May respectively. Both visits greatly promoted Japan's friendly relations with these countries. In August, External Affairs Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India visited Japan to hold the first Consultative Meeting of Indian and Japanese Foreign Ministers with his counterpart Mr. Sonoda; the two ministers had a meaningful exchange of views on bilateral relations as well as the international situation.


7. Mongolia


Japan's relations with Mongolia have made steady progress since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972. A particularly notable development in economic cooperation was the implementation of the Cashmere and Camel-Hair Processing Factory Project based on the Japan-Mongolia Economic Cooperation Agreement which took effect in August 1977. In the field of exchange of visits, a delegation of Japanese diet men paid an official visit to Mongolia at the invitation of the chairman of the Great People's Khural (Parliament).


8. Indochinese Refugee Problem


Today, a little over three years after the change of regimes in the three Indochinese countries, no end is yet seen to the exodus of refugees from these countries. This not only poses a problem which cannot be left unsolved from a humanitarian viewpoint, but also constitutes a factor causing instability in the Asia-Pacific region.

In order to help solve this problem, Japan has taken several steps including: (1) financial assistance to the Indochinese refugees relief program of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Office (UNHCR), (2) allowing about 2,000 refugees to Stay in Japan on temporary landing permits, and (3) granting residence in Japan to some refugees who meet certain requirements. In view of the seriousness of this problem, Japan is earnestly examining various measures to cope with the problem more positively.


II. Oceania


(1) Oceania consists of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the island countries in the South Pacific including Western Samoa, Nauru, Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu. There are also non-independent territories such as the Gilbert Islands and New Hebrides.

(2) Australia and New Zealand are advanced democratic nations, which, together with Japan, belong to the Asia-Pacific region. They have maintained and developed close political and economic relations with Japan. These relations have been based mainly on the economic complementarity of these two countries' exports to Japan of mineral resources and agricultural products and their imports of Japanese manufactured goods. They are also based on the operation of Japanese fishing vessels in the off-shore waters of these two countries.

Recognizing that such trade and economic interdependence is the hub of its relations with Australia and New Zealand, Japan intends to intensify and diversify its relations with them. It also intends to establish harmonious cooperation with these two countries in the realization that cooperation with them is of basic importance for the stability and prosperity of the entire Asia-Pacific region.

In Japan-Australian relations during 1978, Australian Prime Minister Fraser visited Japan in April and exchanged opinions on a wide range of international economic problems. In June, the fifth Japan-Australia Ministerial Committee meeting was held in Canberra, where there was a candid exchange of views mainly on Japan-Australia relations in trade and other economic affairs.

As regards relations between Japan and New Zealand, progress was made toward solution of problems relating to export conditions for dairy products and others from New Zealand to Japan. In September, a fisheries agreement was concluded, thus enabling Japanese fishing vessels to operate within New Zealand's 200 nautical mile fishing zone.

(3) In the South Pacific islands area, which covers Papus New Guinea, Fiji, etc., the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu became independent in July and October, respectively, and there were active moves toward economic and social development in this area.

In the course of 1978, these island countries in the South Pacific declared the 200 nautical mile fishing zone one after another, and promoted the development of fishery resources. At the same time, they promoted further cooperation among themselves for the development of their area through such regional organizations as the South Pacific Forum.

Japan intends to continue friendly and cooperative relations with these island countries, including newly independent nations, offering active economic cooperation in response to their self-help efforts for economic and social development. Along with this, Japan will do what it can in the cause of stability and prosperity in the South Pacific region. 

In 1978 Japan extended economic cooperation to these island countries mainly with economic grants and technical cooperation. After these countries had declared the 200 nautical mile fishing zone, Japan concluded fishery agreements with Papua New Guinea, the Gilbert Islands and Solomon Islands, trying to secure operations of Japanese fishing vessels within the zone.


III. North America


1. The United States


(1) Japan has developed close cooperative relations with the United States in a wide range of fields, including politics, security, economy, science and technology and culture. Japan-U.S. relations have played a major part in realizing Japan's progress toward peace and prosperity. Cooperation with the United States has taken root in the life of the Japanese, and it has contributed greatly to the peace and stability of Asia and of the world as a whole. The maintenance and strengthening of friendly and cooperative relations between Japan and the United States, therefore, are important not only to the two countries but also to the broader global community.

The Japanese government continued its efforts throughout 1978 to promote extensive cooperation with the United States, taking every opportunity, such as then Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to the United States. As a result, although there remained some tensions concerning economic issues, Japan-U.S. relations as a whole remained stable.

The United States government, for its part, continues to attach importance to maintaining close relations with Japan as a cornerstone of its diplomacy.

(2) Prime Minister Fukuda visited the United States from April 30, 1978 at the invitation of President Carter, and had a talk with the President on May 3. At this meeting there was an exchange of views on the roles of, and modalities of cooperation between Japan and the United States, and they focused on events in Asia and the economic situation of the world. The two leaders agreed that their countries would jointly grapple with the development of new energy resources as a task directed toward the 21st century, and that they would attach importance to cultural exchanges in order to deepen the mutual understanding and to further promote friendly relations.

Such a summit meeting forms an important link in the continuous chain of dialogues between the two countries. In March 1977, the two leaders confirmed efforts to further "Japan-U.S. cooperation in a global context."

With a view to further promoting this cooperation, the two leaders exchanged frank and constructive views on the roles the two countries should play individually or jointly "to build a better world."

These exchanges of views were most useful both for Japan and the U.S. in their efforts to work together for achieving world peace and prosperity.


2. Canada


Japan and Canada, as advanced nations sharing the principles of democracy and a free economy, have close cooperative relations in many fields, including politics, economics, culture, and science and technology. In 1978, the two nations continued their positive efforts to promote these relations at both the government and private levels.

The governments of both countries maintain close consultations on bilateral as well as multilateral problems of mutual concern.

The negotiations for revision of the Atomic Energy Cooperation Agreement were the issue pending between Japan and Canada since the beginning of 1977. As a result of active negotiations after Canada had notified Japan of its intention to suspend supplying uranium to Japan from January 1, 1977, an agreement was reached in the third round of negotiations in Tokyo in January 1978. A revised protocol was provisionally signed by their Foreign Minister Sunao Sonoda and Secretary of State for External Affairs Donald C. Jamieson during the latter's visit to Japan. On that occasion, Mr. Jamieson announced that the embargo imposed on shipments of Canadian uranium to Japan would be lifted. Thereafter, the revised protocol was formally signed when Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce Jack H. Homer came to Japan in August 1978.


IV. Latin America


1. Latin American countries, having attained a comparatively high level of economic and social development among developing countries in the world and enjoying a fair degree of political stability, are playing an increasingly important role in the international society.

Japan makes it the basis of her diplomacy toward Latin America to strengthen the existing friendly and cooperative relations with the countries of this region based on mutually complementary economic relations and, by so doing, to promote the development and prosperity of both Japan and these countries. To be more specific, Japan is making every effort to implement her policy toward Latin America based on a long-range perspective, while expanding the bases for mutual cooperation between Japan and Latin American countries through every possible measure, such as more frequent exchanges of personnel, including those of government leaders, economic and technical cooperation, and more intensified and expanded cultural exchanges and PR activities.

2. In line with this basic policy in 1978, Japan tried to promote mutual understanding through exchanges of dignitaries, as was exemplified by the official visit of Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess to Brazil and Paraguay, which contributed to deepening friendship and goodwill between Japan and those countries, the visit of Mexican President Lopez Portillo to Japan as a state guest, and the like.

3. Although economic relations between Japan and Latin American countries as a whole are fairly close, they have tended to be concentrated in specific countries, such as Mexico and Brazil. Therefore, from the point of view of establishing broader and more balanced relations, Japan is endeavoring to strengthen her economic relations with other countries of the region: for example, Japan sent an economic mission to the Northern Andean countries, received a governmental economic mission from Honduras, extended grant aids to Ecuador and Chile for the purchase of fishery and oceanographic research vessels, and supplied Paraguay and Bolivia with grant aids and yen credits for increased food production.


V. Western Europe


1. Japan and the West European countries are bound together by traditionally friendly relations. In recent years, relations between Japan and West Europe have become an increasingly important part of trilateral relations among Japan, the United States and Western Europe. Japan, the United States and Western Europe are expected to take the lead as advanced democracies in the world. Recognizing that the strengthening of such Japan-Western European relations will greatly contribute not only to the stability and prosperity of Japan and Western Europe but also to the maintenance of world peace and the development of the world economy, Japan has made every effort to promote Japan-Western European relations in various fields. An example of such an effort is the study tour program for European youths in Japan, announced by former Prime Minister Fukuda during his official visit to the EC Commission in July.

2. In 1978, Japan's cooperative relations with West European countries were made even closer through bilateral and multilateral forums. In July, the then Prime Minister Fukuda visited the Federal Republic of Germany to attend the Bonn summit and, subsequently, officially visited the EC Commission. Other diplomatic efforts toward Western Europe included then Foreign Minister Sonoda's visit to Great Britain and the then External Economic Affairs Minister Ushiba's several visits to Europe. On the European side, many important people including Chancellor Schmidt of the Federal Republic of Germany visited Japan.

3. After the announcement of the Japan-EC Joint Communique in March, efforts were continued to settle many specific problems of trade and economy between Japan and Europe (EC) in forums for bilateral and multilateral negotiations including MTN (multilateral trade negotiations). The EC's exports to Japan proceeded smoothly throughout the year, with the result that the trade imbalance between Japan and the EC decreased in yen terms.

4. It is important for Japan to continue its efforts to establish broader Japan-European relations, in recognition of the fact that close cooperation and tie-ups among Japan, the United States and Western Europe will be indispensable for solving the various problems of world politics and economy.


VI. The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe


1. The Soviet Union


a) The basic objective of Japan's policy toward the Soviet Union is to promote mutually beneficial relations and to establish good neighborly and friendly relations which are stable and based on mutual understanding and trust. The establishment of such a relation ship between the two countries is important in itself but will also contribute significantly to the cause of peace and stability in Asia.

b) In recent years, Japan-USSR relations have shown steady progress in various fields covering practical matters, such as trade, economic cooperation, cultural and other personnel exchanges, etc. Two-way trade with the Soviet Union in 1978 totalled about $3.94 billion (17.5% up over the previous year), placing Japan as one of the Soviet Union's top trading partners among the industrialized nations of the West. Japan's economic cooperation in Siberian development, started in 1966, has encompassed seven projects which have been completed or are in the process of being implemented, with the total credits afforded amounting to about $1.47 billion. New additional or supplemental projects are presently under consideration.

c) However, one important issue is still left pending as the biggest problem awaiting resolution: that of concluding a peace treaty between the two countries by realizing the reversion to Japan of the four northern islands (the Habomai group of islands and the islands of Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu).

This problem was discussed on the occasion of then Foreign Minister Sonoda's visit to the Soviet Union in January 1978 and subsequently at a meeting in New York between the foreign ministers of both countries in September 1978. However, instead of demonstrating readiness to expedite resolution of this problem, the Soviet side attempted virtually to shelve the territorial issue by proposing a draft "treaty of good neighborliness and cooperation." Far from being constructive, the Soviet Union, it later became clear, started a new military buildup on the islands of Kunashiri and Etorofu. The Japanese government in February 1979 lodged a protest against this action as seriously running counter to the spirit of peaceful solution of a territorial question and strongly urged the Soviet government to reconsider the whole matter. Japan has adopted a consistent and principled stand that the conclusion of a peace treaty by resolving the northern territorial problem is indispensable to truly stable and lasting friendly relations between Japan and the Soviet Union. Upholding this position, Japan will persist in efforts aimed at resolving this problem with perseverance.

d) The Soviet Union expressed deep concern over the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship concluded in August 1978, stating that the anti-hegemony clause contained in it was directed against the Soviet Union and that Japan might fall in the orbit of China's policy which, it said, was anti-Soviet. However, such concern, in so far as Japan is concerned, is uncalled for and totally misplaced; the conclusion of that treaty does not in any way conflict or contradict with Japan's established policy of seeking friendly relations with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union, moreover, adopted the attitude that Japan should exert efforts, and this in concrete action, to "rectify" the situation of "worsened" relations between the two countries which allegedly resulted from the conclusion of the treaty. Along this line, the Soviet side intensified campaigns for promoting the draft "treaty of goodneighborliness and cooperation," and toned up their approaches to the various sections in the country.

Japan, on its part, will continue its basic policy of promoting friendly relations with the Soviet Union and will make positive efforts for the furtherance of relations centering primarily around the working relationship. This attitude, however, in no way detracts from Japan's firm and basic position that the conclusion of a peace treaty is the unchanged first priority goal in Japan-USSR political relations.

The Japanese government is thus firmly determined to continue its persistent efforts aimed at the settlement of this pending issue with patience and tenacity, while making efforts toward developing working-level relations in every field of activity. What is most required in the conduct of diplomacy toward the Soviet Union is perseverance based on sang froid.


2. Eastern Europe


Although the East European countries have different political and social systems from those of Japan, Japan's basic policy is to strengthen friendly relations with these countries as well, through economic, cultural and personnel exchanges. Former Foreign Minister Sonoda visited Hungary and Czechoslovakia in November 1978 to exchange views with his counterparts and other high ranking officials of those countries, clarifying to them Japan's basic foreign policy, and in particular her position toward the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship, signed in August. In this way, mutual understanding was promoted. On the other hand, Japan invited high level officials, such as Yugoslav vice-premier Mr. Sefer in February, president of the Bulgarian State Council Mr. Zhivkov in March, and Polish premier Mr. Jaroszewicz in November.

A Treaty on Commerce and Navigation, agreement on cooperation in the field of science and technology and arrangements for cooperation in the field of culture were signed between Japan and Poland during Polish Premier Jaroszewicz's visit to Japan. Japan concluded arrangements on scientific and technological cooperation also with Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia, the former on the occasion of the president of the Bulgarian State Council Mr. Zhivkov's visit to Japan and the latter on the occasion of then Foreign Minister Sonoda's visit to Czechoslovakia.

Japan's trade with Eastern Europe totalled $1.06 billion in 1978, decreasing slightly from $1.1 billion in the previous year. As before, Japan recorded major trade surpluses with all the East European countries except Czechoslovakia, and the trade imbalance still remains a major issue to be solved with those countries.


VII. The Middle East


1. Both as a source of oil supplies and as an export market, the Middle East has recently assumed great importance to Japan as well as to world politics and the world economy. It is considered that any grave conflict erupting in this region would have a serious impact on the peace and stability of the world and would, in turn, seriously affect Japan's economic development.

Fully cognizant of this situation, Japan earnestly hopes that a just and lasting peace will be promptly achieved in the Middle East, and Japan has supported international efforts to this end. Japan has been maintaining and promoting friendly relations with the nations of this region through strengthening trade relations, promoting economic and technical cooperation, and encouraging personnel and cultural exchanges.

2. The Middle East peace problem entered a new phase when the two documents, the "Framework for Peace in the Middle East" and the "Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel," were adopted as a result of the top-level talks held at Camp David in September 1978 among the United States, Egypt and Israel. Seeking a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, Japan has strongly advocated the need to fully implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 and to acknowledge and respect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with the U.N. Charter. Japan has been supporting and cooperating with the peace-making efforts of all the countries concerned in such forums as the United Nations.

3. In 1978, trade and other economic relations between Japan and the Middle Eastern countries grew closer. Oil is the staple import from that region, and the Middle Eastern oil-producing countries supply about 80% of Japan's total imports of oil. Japanese exports to the Middle East, centering on machinery and industrial plants, increased. As a result, in 1978 trade with that region accounted for about 20% of the total value of Japan's foreign trade, and the Middle East ranks next to Asia and North America as an important trading partner for Japan. Many countries in that region have been taking advantage of their ample oil revenues to promote economic and social development and their economic relations with Japan are expected to grow broader and stronger.

The Middle Eastern countries strongly expect various forms of economic and technical cooperation from Japan as well as other industrial nations in connection with their economic and social development and industrialization. Japan has been trying to expand such economic and technical cooperation, with the idea that it is necessary to contribute to the political stabilization and the improved well-being of the peoples of the region as a whole by cooperating with the economic and social development of the countries there.

4. Japan has also been promoting personnel and cultural exchanges with the Middle Eastern countries. Following the visit of then Foreign Minister Sonoda to the Middle East in January 1978, former Prime Minister Fukuda paid an official and friendly visit to Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as the first Japanese prime minister ever to do so, and exchanged frank views with the leaders of these countries on such matters as the Middle East peace problem, the oil problem, economic and technical cooperation and cultural exchanges. This was an important initial step in actively conducting Japan's foreign policy toward the Middle East.


VIII. Africa


1. In recent years, African countries have been increasing their voice in international society. Because of their natural resources, they have also assumed greater importance in the world economy. Japan's increased national power and the developed information network have helped African countries to gain a better understanding of Japan. As an increasing number of prime ministers, other ministers, and other top leaders of those countries came to Japan, the expectations they placed on Japan's economic cooperation grew.

Recognizing this, Japan, with its increasing international responsibilities, hopes to strengthen relations of friendship, goodwill, and mutual cooperation with the African nations.

2. African countries have shared deep concern about the problems of southern Africa (the independence of Namibia and Rhodesia and the abolition of the racial discrimination policy of South Africa) and pursued the early settlement of these problems. Japan has strongly opposed the racial discrimination practiced in southern Africa. It has been Japan's basic position to extend all possible cooperation for a fair and peaceful settlement of the problems of southern Africa.

3. In 1978, Japan sent a governmental economic mission, headed by the chairman of the Africa Committee of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations, Mr. Kohno, to Tanzania, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Senegal. The mission had talks with the leaders of those countries to exchange frank opinions on economic cooperation and the various problems of Africa. On the African side, Gabon's President Bongo, Vice-Chairman Diarra of Mali's then Revolutionary Council and other important personnel visited Japan.

4. Japan continued to strengthen its economic and technical cooperation with the African countries in order to contribute to the stabilization of people's well-being and the development of welfare in those countries. Japan's bilateral official development assistance increased from $56,300,000 in 1977 to $105,500,000 in 1978 in terms of net disbursement. Japan also sent a working-level mission to those African countries for which Japan had previously provided little aid, with the aim of finding the projects which may become the object of cooperation and development.


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