BASIC TASKS OF
JAPAN'S FOREIGN POLICY
Chapter One briefly described the international situation, with particular reference to the year 1979. The present chapter will discuss the basic tasks of Japan's foreign policy for the1980s, as based on the developments in the 1970s.
1. The international situation in 1979 proved rigorous and unstable in both political and economic fields. In particular, the occupation of the U.S. Embassy in Iran and the holding of hostages, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan have posed a serious threat to the basic international order, even though the two incidents are different in kind. It has become essential for Japan and other nations of the world to make difficult but firm choices in order to ensure world peace and stability in dealing with such incidents. Japan, while handling these problems, has realized anew that the coming 1980s will not be an easy time for world peace and prosperity and for the life of each Japanese citizen. At the same time, Japan has become well aware of the importance of the responsibilities placed on its foreign policy.
2. In the thirty-odd years since the end of World War II, Japan, under the Japan-U.S. security arrangement, has experienced no crisis where its security is directly threatened. In economic terms, Japan has devoted its national strength to economy building and achieved its present economic development and social stability, drawing its support from the large framework of the GATT-IMF system as well as the mighty U.S. economy which sustained this system. Various conditions, however, have been greatly changed by the developments in the 1970s.
The 1970s saw some changes in the world economy, especially in the economies of industrialized nations, such as Japan's rapid economic development. This can be shown, for instance, by the fact that the GNP of Japan and Germany, which in 1960 were 9% and 14% of that of the United States, respectively, increased to 43% and 32% by 1979. The United States is still the biggest economic power in the world, and has the largest role to play in the management of the world economy. This remains unchanged. However, it is clear that Japan has now increasingly greater responsibilities to share with the United States and other industrialized nations.
The world economy has experienced great structural changes since the times of the "dollar shock" in 1971 and the oil crisis in 1973. The world now faces such difficult problems as low economic growth, inflation, protectionism, energy, and international finance and currency. As developing nations came to demand "a new international economic order", the seriousness of the North-South problem became clear. Although efforts are being made to solve these problems among industrialized nations or between the North and the South, through summit conferences of major industrialized nations or UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), there still remain many things to be done.
Great changes are also taking place in the world's political and military fields. The Soviet Union has consistently built up its military power. This has gradually brought about an undesirable trend for the Western side, even though the United States still has an advantage over the Soviet Union in overall military balance. On the strength of its military power, the Soviet Union is trying to expand its influence in the Third World, for example, in Africa and the Middle East. Its recent direct military intervention in Afghanistan has aroused strong concern in the Western world about the Soviet intention.
Furthermore, destabilizing factors are increasing in the world. They include the recent unstable Indochinese situation and the uncertain Middle Eastern situation, referred to earlier. Against the background of the recent trend of global military balance between the United States and the Soviet Union, the frequent regional troubles are not or cannot be localized, and rebound on U.S.-Soviet relations, further destabilizing international politics as a whole. The aggravated instability in the Middle Eastern region, in particular, has a serious implication for international politics and economy, because the region is strategically important and also because the life or death of the Western economy depends on Middle Eastern oil. In these changing circumstances, there is an acutely recognized need for greater solidarity among free nations such as the United States and the Western European nations and for understanding of and cooperation with the Third World countries.
3. It is no exaggeration to say that great changes in the world's political, military and economic fields are exerting a direct, serious influence on the international environment surrounding Japan. Because of the increasingly interdependent relations among the nations of the world and the increasing complexity of their interests, it now happens more often than before that a country is influenced by an incident in which it is not directly concerned. On the other hand, developments in Japan have come to substantially influence international relations. In other words, international relations are no longer considered as a given condition for Japan, but, rather, as something which Japan should help form as an influential member of the international community. In this situation, Japan must redouble its active and constructive role in world peace and prosperity, not only in the economic but also in the political and diplomatic fields. The question to ask itself in earnest is what Japan can and should do about the fast changing international political and economic situation as a responsible member of the international community.
4. The mission of Japan's foreign policy is to maintain Japan's peace and security, defend basic values of freedom and democracy, and ensure a prosperous life for its people. In order to fulfill such a mission, Japan should pursue its foreign policy for the 1980s along the following lines, while bearing in mind the observations made so far about the international situation.
(1) Japan should firmly maintain its basic position that it will be devoted to peace and will not become a military power and, moreover, it should pursue a positive foreign policy aimed at world peace and stability. In the highly interdependent world of today, no country can enjoy security and prosperity without world peace and stability. Peace and stability are values for the whole international community, not just for one country. From this point of view, Japan must make even greater contributions to world peace and stability, not only in the economic but also in the political fields and through bilateral and multilateral relations such as are afforded by the United Nations. Such a positive foreign policy will, of course, be based on Japan-U.S. friendly and cooperative relations. It is clear that Japan must also maintain the Japan-U.S. security arrangement and continue its voluntary efforts to equip a proper-sized self-defense force in order to ensure Japan's security. It will become increasingly important for Japan to make full adjustments in accordance with national consensus in pushing forward its positive foreign policy, since diplomatic problems will become more and more intertwined with domestic problems.
(2) Peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region are indispensable to Japan's peace and prosperity. Japan must continue to work to the utmost for peace and stability in this region, by maintaining and promoting friendly relations with the countries of the region on the basis of Japan-U.S. friendly and cooperative relations. Specifically, Japan must exert greater efforts to ensure correct relations with the Soviet Union which should lead to the solution of the northern islands problem and the conclusion of a peace treaty between the two nations; to develop the relations with China, which were established by the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty; to maintain and promote friendly relations with the Republic of Korea; to create such an international environment as to ease tensions in the Korean Peninsula; to strengthen solidarity with ASEAN countries; and to make positive contributions to the recovery of peace in Indochina. In this way, Japan should fulfill its role as a stabilizing force in the region.
(3) As mentioned earlier, the basic framework of international relations after World War II is being seriously challenged. It will be necessary for Japan to play a constructive role toward peace and stability in the international community throughout the 1980s in a global perspective which goes beyond the Asia-Pacific region. In conducting a positive foreign policy in the fast-changing international situation as a responsible member of the international community, Japan must be prepared to make difficult choices and, at times, even make sacrifices. Such an attitude is to be backed up by a strong conviction that Japan must defend its basic values, that is, freedom and democracy. In this regard, it is necessary for Japan to further strengthen solidarity and cooperation with free nations such as the United States and the Western European countries.
(4) One of the important objectives of Japan's foreign policy is to help solve various difficulties of the world economy such as inflation, unemployment and the energy problem, and to cooperate in achieving a stable and sustained world economic development as a major member of the world economic management. To these ends, it is becoming increasingly important to strengthen international cooperation and to take, not only short-term demand management measures, but also medium- and long-term structural adjustment measures on the supply side, such as improvement of productivity and technical innovation, while making the dynamism of the market economy work.
As regards trade, it is necessary for Japan to make renewed efforts to avert protectionism and develop free trade on the basis of the Tokyo Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, while further opening up its market and internationalizing its domestic services. In this connection, Japan should help newly industrializing countries to play a proper role in world trade.
Turning to the energy problem, the important thing is, of course, to cut oil consumption and promote the research and development of alternative energy sources through cooperation among energy-consuming industrialized nations. In addition, Japan should do everything so that constructive dialogues between industrialized nations, oil-producing nations and other developing nations will produce concrete results. In view of the strategic nature of oil and the serious influence on world politics and economy of energy problems such as the peaceful use of nuclear energy and nuclear nonproliferation, it is especially important to take comprehensive and long-term measures.
(5) Many attempts have already been made to solve the North-South problem. Despite the efforts of both industrialized nations and developing nations, the latter as a whole have still many obstacles to overcome, and the gap between the North and the South has not been narrowed. To cooperate in solving various difficulties attendant on the economic development and nation-building of developing nations is a matter of humanitarian concern. Not only that, economic instability in developing nations adversely affects the economy of the industrialized nations. Furthermore, economic instability in developing nations, together with political and social instability, forms a politically destabilizing factor of serious nature in the whole international community. The North-South problem cannot be solved in a short time, but requires patient and enduring efforts on both sides.
Japan depends heavily on the peace and stability of the whole world including developing countries for its existence and prosperity. It is therefore essential to Japan's long-term security that Japan should contribute positively toward the relaxation of the tension between the North and the South and strive to secure a good stable international environment.
As a core instrument to improve North-South relations, Japan doubled ODA (official development assistance) in three years. Despite such cooperation on the Japanese side, however, it can hardly be said that Japan, a big economic power whose GNP accounts for about 10% of the world's total, is giving proportionate aid by international standards. Greater efforts to increase Japan's ODA are necessary.
In the matter of North-South cooperation including economic assistance, humanitarian and economic considerations should be given to the strong desire of developing nations to become self-supporting and to various other problems of these nations. At the same time North-South cooperation should be pursued comprehensively and operationally as an integral part of Japan's foreign policy, which aims to maintain Japan's security in a broad sense, by removing destabilizing factors in international politics and economy and securing the supply of energy and other resources.
(6) One of the basic long-term objectives of Japan's foreign policy is to promote mutual understanding between the peoples of the nations of the world so that an evironment for achieving world peace and prosperity can be created. The increasing interdependence in international relations and the increasing complexity of diverse interests referred to earlier can possibly augment friction and confrontation among the nations of the world. In many cases, such friction and confrontation stem from a lack of mutual understanding or a perception gap with regard to cultural and social circumstances. It is in this context that the importance of promoting mutual understanding must be stressed. Japan must make greater efforts to expand cultural exchanges with other countries and to promote thorough understanding of Japan on the part of other countries. It is also necessary for Japan to increase cooperation with developing countries in culture and education. This is especially important in that it will form a prerequisite to cultural exchanges.
5. It is of urgent necessity to expand and consolidate the organizational basis for pursuing an operational foreign policy in order to cope positively with the various problems mentioned so far. The first thing to do in order to carry out a powerful foreign policy in the 1980s is to strengthen diplomatic muscles such as personnel and budget.
Foreign policy is not something to be done by the government or the foreign ministry alone. It should be backed by the correct understanding and strong support of each citizen. In other words, Japan's foreign policy in a broad sense requires tht each citizen deepen his understanding of world affairs through various activities and exchanges at home or abroad, and ask himself in earnest what are Japan's responsibilities and role in the world.
Only with the expanded and consolidated organizational ground for conducting a foreign policy as well as the firm domestic foundation formed by the broad understanding and support of the people will it be possible for Japan to tide over the hardships of the 1980s.
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