Section 1. Promotion of Relations with Other Countries



I. Asia


1. Overview


Asia is a region where Japan should play a principal role in promoting peace and prosperity.

In 1979, the situation in Asia unfolded in two different directions. Tension mounted in Indochina as Vietnam launched a military intervention in Cambodia, armed conflict broke out between China and Vietnam and there occurred a massive outflow of Indochinese refugees. In western Asia, new tension emerged following the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan. Such elements of instability were, however, balanced by movements toward stability and progress elsewhere. These included a further expansion of friendly and cooperative ties between Japan and China and between China and the United States, a steady movement toward stability and cooperation among ASEAN countries, and moves toward the resumption of dialogue between the North and the South in the Korean peninsula.

Against such a background, Japan's diplomatic efforts have been directed toward the building of peace and prosperity throughout Asia as a whole by fostering trends toward stability and discouraging tendencies to instability.



2. Korean Peninsula


(a) The maintenance of peace and stability in the Korean peninsula is important for peace and security in East Asia, including Japan. Hence, it has been the policy of this country to seek relaxation of tension and to promote stability in the area. To this end, Japan has sought to engage in active dialogue with the countries, such as the United States and China, which share grave concern for the Korean situation. These efforts went parallel with endeavors to foster an international environment conducive to the resumption of substantial talks between the South and the North.

In 1979, a number of meetings took place between Japan and the major countries concerned to exchange views on the Korean situation. Among them were the talks Prime Minister Ohira had with China's Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping in February, his talks with U.S. President Carter in May-June, and his talks with China's Premier Hua Guofeng in December.

On the South-North dialogue, the two sides had contacts three times from February through March, but the contacts were subsequently broken off. However, with the death of President Park Chung Hee, a new situation emerged and in January 1980 the North Koreans took the initiative to call for the reopening of talks between the two sides. From February they began a number of preparatory talks at Panmunjom to pave the way for a Prime Ministers' meeting between the South and the North. Japan finds it encouraging that both the South and North Koreans have shown a positive stance toward the resumption of dialogue between themselves, and hopes that this will eventually lead to substantial talks between the two sides. It is, therefore, Japan's policy to keep a close watch on developments in the Korean peninsula.

Under present circumstances, peace and stability in the Korean peninsula still depend on the balance of power between the North and the South, and the fragility of the present Korean situation must be taken into consideration in the formulation of Japan's foreign policy toward the area.

(b) Japan values its friendship with the Republic of Korea, and has endeavored to maintain close cooperative ties between the two countries. In 1979, the Republic of Korea was struck by the death of President Park Chung Hee. When expressing condolences, Prime Minister Ohira stated that he was convinced that the friendly relations between the two countries would not be affected and would continue to develop. On various subsequent occasions, Japan also made it clear that it continued to attach importance to the friendly cooperative ties between the two countries and would continue to make efforts to promote these relations.

As regards the political development in the Republic of Korea, Japan holds that it is ROK's domestic issue. Still, as a friendly nation with close ties, Japan hopes that ROK's political developments will, as leaders of the ROK government have made clear, bear fruit.

(c) In its relations with North Korea, Japan maintains the policy of promoting mutual understanding by gradually building up interchanges in such fields as trade, economic exchanges and culture.


3. China


(a) Following the conclusion of the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship, relations between the two countries have developed at a remarkable pace, widening and deepening in all sectors. In the economic and trading field, two-way trade has grown six times over the seven years since the normalization of diplomatic relations. In addition, a large number of contracts for plant exports have been signed, and negotiations are under way for the development of oil, coal and nonferrous mineral resources in China. In the field of financial cooperation, the Export-Import Bank of Japan, and other commercial banks, have reached separate agreements with China to provide credit facilities to the Bank of China. Furthermore, when Prime Minister Ohira visited China in December 1979, he expressed Japan's readiness to provide yen credit to China.

In cultural and academic interchanges too, there have been developments toward closer ties and better mutual understanding in recent years. Travel between the two countries has multiplied seven times in eight years, and exchanges of visits at government level have also increased infrequency.

(b) The visit to China by Prime Minister Ohira in December made a major contribution to further promoting the already burgeoning Japan-China ties. During the visit, the Prime Ministers of the two nations had a frank exchange of views in their talks which not only served to improve official channels of communication but also helped cement a personal rapport between the two leaders. It was also during this visit that the two governments put forward a series of specific policies aimed at increasing interchanges and promoting cooperative ties. The policies outlined then included the provision of yen loans, expansion of technological exchanges, the extension of preferential tariff treatment, and increased cultural exchanges.

(c) With exchanges between the two countries developing at such a vigorous pace, it can well be said that Japan-China relations are now reaching a stage of substantive friendship and cooperation.



4. ASEAN Countries and Burma


It has been an important pillar of Japanese foreign policy on Asia to strengthen and expand friendly and cooperative ties with the ASEAN countries and to work together with them in the cause of promoting peace and prosperity throughout Asia as a whole. Likewise, Japan has also endeavored to promote friendly and cooperative relations and mutual understanding with Burma.

1979 was a year in which the ASEAN member countries keenly felt a threat to their own existence because of new developments in the Indochina situation and burdens caused by the Indochinese refugee problem. ASEAN responded by strengthening unity, as well as by seeking help from friendly nations outside the region. In line with Japan's basic policy of strengthening cooperative ties with the five ASEAN countries, the government made the following diplomatic efforts in response to their appeal:

(1) First, Prime Minister Ohira paid a visit to the Philippines in May after taking part in the Fifth UNCTAD Conference held in Manila, and made abundantly clear through the visit that Japan attaches great importance to ASEAN. During the visit, the Prime Minister also raised the idea of setting up an "ASEAN youth scholarship program" to help train capable young people from the region. Then, Mr. Takeshi Yasukawa, the government representative for external economic relations, was dispatched to the five ASEAN countries prior to the Tokyo Summit in June to seek views and suggestions from individual governments so that Japan could participate in the conference with full knowledge and understanding of the views and interests of the ASEAN countries. During the summit meeting, Japan joined others in proposing the adoption of a "special statement concerning Indochinese refugees" and took the initiative in drafting the document. Furthermore, with regard to the financial burdens of the ASEAN countries in accommodating the Indochinese refugees, Japan made a positive response both at the Foreign Ministers' meeting of ASEAN member countries and Japan, the United States, the EC, Australia and New Zealand, and at the subsequent 2nd Japan-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' meeting held in Bali, Indonesia, in July. On both occasions, the Japanese Foreign Minister pledged to substantially increase Japan's financial assistance toward refugee relief so as to lessen the financial burden on the ASEAN countries. At the same time, Japan also called for the convocation of an international conference for seeking a peaceful settlement of the Cambodia issue, directing its diplomatic efforts to bring peace back to the region in close coordination with the ASEAN group. These efforts were followed in November by the holding of the first Japan-ASEAN Economic Ministers' Conference in Tokyo, in which the participants had a wide-ranging exchange of views with respect to cooperative relations between Japan and the ASEAN countries in the economic field.

(2) Apart from these diplomatic efforts, Japan has also given priority consideration to the ASEAN countries in all other fields of cooperation, particularly in the economic sector and in cultural exchanges. With regard to the various cooperative measures which Japan pledged to undertake at the Japan-ASEAN summit meeting in 1977, a number of them - notably the ASEAN industrial project, the ASEAN Cultural Fund, and the Provisional ASEAN Promotion Center on Trade, Investment and Tourism - have already moved on to the implementation stage.



5. Indochina


In 1979, Indochina witnessed the Vietnamese armed intervention in Cambodia and the Chinese military action against Vietnam-two events which contributed much to a heightening of tension throughout the Southeast Asia region. It has been Japan's consistent policy to oppose all attempts to settle international disputes by force of arms. From this basic stand, Japan has made persistent diplomatic efforts to restore peace in Indochina in close coordination with the ASEAN member countries.

Beginning with the UN emergency Security Council meetings which were called into session immediately after the fall of Pnom Penh, Japan has been adamant against the involvement of foreign forces in Cambodia and has repeatedly called for an immediate and total withdrawal of foreign forces. In this connection, apart from the diplomatic efforts made at the above-mentioned Japan-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Conference, Japan also co-sponsored the ASEAN draft resolution at the UN General Assembly as an expression of total support for the ASEAN stand. On the other hand, Japan also made direct representations to Vietnam, calling on it to withdraw from Cambodia and prevent the conflict from spilling over into Thailand, as urged by public opinion in Japan, the ASEAN countries and other members of the international community.

With regard to the China-Vietnam conflict, Japan also appealed to both sides to seek a peaceful solution to their differences. When the Chinese army began its attack on Vietnam, Japan immediately issued a ministerial statement expressing regret over the situation and demanding that peace be restored. At the same time, Japan also used diplomatic channels to appeal for a peaceful settlement through immediate cease-fire and troop withdrawal. As tension remains high on the Sino-Vietnamese border after the withdrawal of the Chinese army, Japan has been urging the two countries to resolve their differences by peaceful means.



6. Indochinese Refugee Problem


The number of refugees coming out of the three Indochinese countries has increased enormously since the spring of 1979. This not only poses a problem which cannot be left unattended from a humanitarian viewpoint, but also constitutes a factor causing instability in the Asia-Pacific region.

In view of such a situation, Japan made considerable efforts toward the adoption of the special statement on the Indochinese refugee issue at the Tokyo Summit in June, and also made a positive contribution to bringing success to the international conference on refugees held July in Geneva.

Apart from such international efforts, Japan also appealed to Vietnam to stem the outflow of refugees and expressed its intention to extend assistance for relief activities. Meanwhile, not only from the humanitarian viewpoint but also to alleviate the financial burden borne by Thailand and other ASEAN countries, Japan contributed 50 percent of the total funds required by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for the 1979 Indochinese refugee relief program. In addition, Japan provided other relief measures, such as contributing funds to other international organizations, supplying rice and relief materials and sending medical teams, at a total cost of about 90 million U.S. dollars.

As for the acceptance of refugees for resettlement in Japan, the government has twice relaxed the conditions required for resettlement. Furthermore, Japan has also setup Resettlement Promotion Centers and dispatched official teams to overseas refugee camps to seek out other refugees eligible for the resettlement requirements in Japan. Thus, Japan has made the utmost efforts for refugee resettlement to the extent allowed by prevailing circumstances in the country.



7. Southwest Asia


(a) The stability of Southwest Asia has a great bearing on the peace and stability not only of Asia but of the entire world. Japan made various diplomatic efforts in 1979 aimed at promoting friendly and cooperative ties with the various countries in the region, thereby contributing toward stability and development in the area. In September, President Junius R. Jayewardene of Sri Lanka paid an official visit to Japan, further promoting the friendly and cooperative ties between the two countries.

(b) In March 1980, Japan sent Mr. Sunao Sonoda as special envoy to Pakistan and India with a view to exploring what political role the country could play in order to preserve peace and stability in the Southwest Asian region, in the aftermath of the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan. In Pakistan, Mr. Sonoda announced Japan's commitment, the first among other nations, to expand economic assistance to Pakistan in order to strengthen the stability of that country. While in India, Mr. Sonoda exchanged views with Prime Minister Indira Ghandi on the international situation. Their talks promoted political dialogue between Japan and India.



8. Mongolia


Japan's relations with Mongolia have made steady progress since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972. In the field of economic cooperation, construction of the cashmere and camel-hair plant which had been launched under the Japan-Mongolia economic cooperation agreement is now under way, and in the field of technological cooperation, Japan has accepted Mongolian researchers for training in this country and has also provided medical equipment to Mongolia.




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, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati. There are also non-independent territories such as the 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 complementary economies - these two countries export to Japan mineral resources and agricultural products and they import Japanese manufactured goods. They are also based on the operation of Japanese fishing vessels in the off-shore waters of these two countries.

Recognizing the importance of its trading and economic relations with Australia and New Zealand, Japan has made efforts to intensify and diversify bilateral relations with these two countries. It is also Japan's policy to continue developing close and harmonious relations with them in the realization that their cooperation is essential for the stability and prosperity of the entire Asia-Pacific region.

In Japan-Australia relations, the Prime Ministers of the two countries held a meeting in May while they were in Manila to attend the Fifth UNCTAD Conference, and the two leaders exchanged views on a wide range of international economic issues. In January 1980, Prime Minister Ohira paid an official visit to Australia, and top-level talks and other activities conducted during the visit served to strengthen and expand the friendly and cooperative ties between the two countries. 

As regards relations between Japan and New Zealand, Prime Minister Ohira paid an official visit to the country in January 1980 during which the leaders of the two countries held talks and concluded an aviation agreement. The visit helped cement closer ties between the two countries.


3. In the South Pacific island area, which covers Papua New Guinea, Fiji, etc., the number of independent island states increased to eight with the independence of Kiribati (formerly the British-ruled Gilbert Islands) in July.

While striving to promote their own nation-building through self-help, these island nations have also actively promoted intra-regional cooperation. A regional fishery organ was set up in August.

Japan intends to promote friendly and cooperative relations with these island nations, through exchange of persons and by rendering economic cooperation to promote stability and prosperity in the South Pacific region. In economic cooperation, Japan proposes to offer active help to an extent appropriate to their determination to promote economic and social development through self-help.

In 1979, Japan provided various kinds of technological and economic cooperation mostly in the form of grant aids to these island countries. In January, Prime Minister Ohira visited Papua New Guinea, and in March Japan signed an aviation agreement with Fiji for the opening of an air route between the two countries. These and other diplomatic activities served to promote friendly ties with the various countries concerned.




III. North America



1. The United States


(1) Prime Minister Ohira's Visit to Washington

At the invitation of the Government of the United States, Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira made an official visit to the U.S. from April 30 to May 6 1979 and conferred with President Jimmy Carter. The first Japan-U.S. summit since Mr. Ohira's inauguration as Prime Minister was also an important part of the continuing consultations between Japan and the United States. During the meeting with the President, Prime Minister Ohira said that the United States as leader of the Free World should perform its global role with conviction and courage, and that Japan would undertake international responsibilities befitting its economic strength. These statements constituted the keynote of the summit. The two leaders had frank and constructive exchange of opinion on a wide range of problems of common concern to the two countries. In particular, much time was spent in discussions on cooperation for the peace and stability of Asia, the matter of greatest common concern for both Japan and the United States. The two leaders reached clear understanding of each other's basic external economic policy and reached accord on the foundations for the stability and growth of the economic relations between the two countries. As was said in the joint statement issued after the summit talks, foundations for a productive partnership befitting the two nations' responsibilities in the world were laid. This was an important outcome of the summit.


(2) President Carter's Visit to Japan

At the invitation of the Japanese Government, President Carter visited Japan as a state guest from June 24 to 27 1979. This was the second visit to Japan by an incumbent U.S. President, the first being the visit by President Gerald Ford in 1974. During his stay in Japan, President Carter had a full schedule: he met with the Emperor, attended a banquet in the Imperial Palace, held talks with Prime Minister Ohira, attended a reception hosted by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the House of Councillors, went to see Kabuki, and held a town meeting with the citizens of Shimoda, a city of historic importance in Japan-U.S. relations.

The meeting between President and Mrs. Carter and the Emperor and Empress was held in a friendly atmosphere from beginning to end, as if to symbolize the present close Japan-U.S. relations and the success of the President's visit to Japan. President Carter talked with Prime Minister Ohira twice during his stay in Japan and mainly discussed international problems of common concern to both countries. Because the Summit Meeting of the major industrial countries of 1979 (the Tokyo Summit) was near at hand, preliminary talks for that conference were also taken up for discussion. Regarding the energy issue, the two leaders shared the view that energy consumption should be cut and petroleum imports in particular should be curbed and, on the basis of this recognition, exchanged views on efforts to be made by all countries to cut their oil imports as well as on the goals for import cuts and the ways to attain the goals. Views were also exchanged on the Indochinese refugee problem, which was a big international problem, and on efforts for comprehensive peace in the Middle East, with the signing of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel as the first step.

The friendly relations, mutual understanding and mutual trust between Japan and the United States were deepened further through the visit by President Carter. This was an important milestone in the construction of "Productive Japan-U.S. relations for the 1980s".



2. Canada


Ties between Japan and Canada have been strengthened in recent years particularly in the political and economic fields. In 1979 as well, efforts to make the bilateral relations closer were vigorously made at both the government and private levels.

In 1979, Canadian Prime Minister Joseph Clark arrived in Japan to attend the Tokyo Summit. In the same year, the second meeting of the Japan-Canada Joint Economic Committee was held in Tokyo and the Second Japan-Canada Businessmen's Conference was held in Toronto. Thus, there were brisk exchanges of personnel between the two nations.

The year 1979 marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations between Japan and Canada. Cultural exchanges between the two countries were extensively held. Expectations are high for a further growth of Japan-Canada relations through cooperation in such areas as education, science and technology.



IV. Latin America


1. Latin America, with its vast expanse of land and abundance of both mineral and food resources, is a region full of growth potential. Among developing regions, Latin America belongs to a relatively high stage of socioeconomic development and as such it is fast rising in its weight and position in international politics and economic affairs. The region has mutually complementary relations with Japan in resources, trade, investment, etc. Moreover, as many as 940,000 people of Japanese ancestry live there.


2. On the basis of mutually complementary economic relations, Japan has been steadily promoting friendship and cooperation with the Latin American countries as a partner striving for the common goal of world peace and coprosperity. For this goal, Japan is broadening the basis of exchanges and cooperation with the countries of Latin America by taking various measures, such as promotion of personnel exchanges including exchanges of government leaders, flexible enforcement of economic and technical cooperation, and expansion of cultural and information activities, and is endeavoring to conduct its policy toward that region from a long-range viewpoint.


3. From such a viewpoint, Foreign Minister Sunao Sonoda made official visits to six Latin American countries (Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Venezuela) in 1979 and scored great success in deepening mutual understanding and strengthening bilateral ties. From Latin America, Argentine President Jorge Rafael Videla visited Japan as a state guest. Through the exchange of visits by important persons, Japan and Latin American countries endeavored to promote mutual understanding and cooperation.


4. On the economic side of things too, Japan is endeavoring to make its relations with Latin American countries closer and more diversified while giving heed to the balance within the region among Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, the Andean countries, the Caribbean and Central American nations, etc. In 1979, the second Japan-Brazil ministerial conference was held, and when Foreign Minister Sonoda visited Mexico, negotiations for the purchase by Japan of Mexican crude oil were concluded. These deserve special mention. In addition, Japan sent an economic research mission to Argentina, dispatched two economic missions to Caribbean and Central American countries, extended yen loans or outright grants to such countries as Peru, Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia and Haiti and extended emergency aid to such countries as Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, the Commonwealth of Dominica, and Nicaragua. These efforts to strengthen the economic ties with Latin American countries were continued in various forms.



V. Western Europe


1. Against the background of growing interdependence among nations and a host of problems requiring concerted efforts by such advanced industrial democracies as Japan, the U.S. and western Europe, promotion of a dialogue between Japan and western Europe is not only beneficial to both parties but also indispensable for the peace and prosperity of the world. With this thinking, efforts to make cooperation and exchanges between Japan and western Europe closer at all levels were actively continued in 1979.


2. When the fifth Summit Conference of the industrialized countries was held in Tokyo in June 1979, active talks were held with the participating leaders of western European countries. Furthermore, there was active exchange of visits between Japan and western Europe. From Japan, Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko visited the Netherlands and Belgium; Prince and Princess Mikasa visited the United Kingdom and France; Princess Chichibu also visited the United Kingdom; Foreign Minister Sonoda visited the Federal Republic of Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands; and Foreign Minister Okita visited France. Japan in turn was visited by such persons as the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, the Duke of Kent of Great Britain, and Premier Thorn of Luxembourg.


3. To promote mutual understanding between Japan and western Europe, exchange of visits by private citizens, particularly young people who will be playing the leading role in Japan-Europe relations of the next generation, should be encouraged along with the exchanges of visits by important persons. Exchanges of visits by private citizens tended to be overlooked in the past. As a first step in promoting such exchanges, the first study tour of Japan for European young people took place from mid-August to late September. An essay contest on Japan-Europe relations was run among young people of the nine member countries of the European Communitiy and EC organs, and the 50 best entrants were invited to Japan in three groups for a two-week study tour to familiarize themselves with the actual conditions in this country including its politics, economy, society and culture. This program scored a big success in extending the scope of international visits to the grass roots level.


4. Efforts to solve problems concerning trade and economic affairs between Japan and the EC were made at such fora as the Japan-EC High-Level Consultations in May and November, and also through frequent exchange of visits by leaders of both sides, including Foreign Minister Sonoda and Mr. Haferkamp, Vice-President of the EC Commission. Related problems were also discussed at multinational fora such as the Multilateral Trade Negotiations (MTN) at the Tokyo Summit. Regarding the trade imbalance between Japan and the EC, Japan made efforts to increase imports from the EC countries, such as simplifying import procedures and sending import promotion missions to the EC. Japan also encouraged the EC's efforts to promote exports to Japan. As a result, the surplus on the Japanese side remained at about $5.1 billion, which is approximately the same level as the preceding year.



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 stable and friendly relations based on mutual understanding and trust. The establishment of such a relationship between the two countries is not only important in itself but will also contribute significantly to the cause of peace and stability in Asia.

b) Regarding the basic issue of concluding the peace treaty between Japan and the Soviet Union by realizing the reversion to Japan of the four northern islands (the Habomai group of islands and the islands of Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu), discussions were held at the first Japan-Soviet working-level consultation in May 1979 and at the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the two countries at the United Nations in September of the same year. But the Soviet side still failed to show a sincere wish for the solution of this issue. Instead, the Soviet Union further strengthened its military buildup on the northern islands, and it was learned that they had newly stationed troops on Shikotan Island. The Japanese Government in February and October 1979 and in February 1980 strongly demanded that the Soviet Union retract such military steps and urged it to cooperate in an early solution of the northern territorial issue. Clearly, such steps by the Soviet Union not only trample on the spirit of a peaceful solution of the territorial issue but also run counter to the spirit of good-neighborly and friendly relations between the two countries which the Soviet Union itself repeatedly emphasizes. The Japanese Government is making sincere efforts to establish friendly relations with the Soviet Union, but the promotion and maintenance of friendly relations between two countries should be sought through bilateral and reciprocal endeavors. Japan strongly hopes that the Soviet Union will respond to the Japanese efforts by concrete actions.

c) The Soviet side has proposed conclusion of a "treaty of good-neighborliness and cooperation", which virtually means shelving of the territorial issue, and is working on the various sections of Japanese society on the basis of "the promotion of Japan-Soviet amity by shelving the territorial issue". Japan has adhered to a consistent policy that the conclusion of a peace treaty by resolving the northern territorial issue is indispensable to truly stable and lasting friendly relations between Japan and the Soviet Union. Maintaining this position, Japan will make every effort to resolve this problem with perseverance.

d) Japan-Soviet two-way trade in 1979 totaled about $4,370 million, showing a steady increase of 10.9% over the preceding year. But the Japan-Soviet relations were adversely affected by a series of highly regrettable incidents such as the military intervention in Afghanistan by the Soviet Union at the end of 1979 and the leak of Japanese Defense Agency secrets involving a Soviet military officer of the Soviet Embassy in Tokyo, as well as the Soviet military buildup on the northern islands. Regarding the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan, the Japanese Government, taking the basic position that all international problems should be resolved, not through the use of force or intimidation but through peaceful negotiations, clarified its position by denouncing the intervention in a statement of the Foreign Minister, in making a diplomatic proposal that the military intervention should be stopped and in carrying out diplomatic activities at the UN. As is clear from the resolution adopted by an overwhelming majority at the Special UN General Assembly, it is strongly desired that the Soviet Union listen to the opinion of the international community, respond to its request, quickly withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and respect the Afghans' right for self-determination.

The relation with the Soviet Union occupies one of the most important positions in Japan's foreign relations. What is most required in the conduct of diplomacy toward such a country as the Soviet Union which has a consistent diplomatic strategy from a long-range viewpoint is a consistent and firm position and a persistent and calm response.



2. Eastern Europe


Although the eastern European countries have different political and social systems from those of Japan, Japan's basic policy is to promote mutual understanding and strengthen friendly relations with these countries as well. For this end, Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko, representing the Emperor, visited Romania and Bulgaria in November 1979 and strengthened the friendly relations between Japan and those two countries. In November 1979, the exchange of high-ranking state leaders was stepped up with the visit of Czechoslovakian Prime Minister Lubomir Straugal to Japan at the invitation of the Japanese Government. In May of the year, Japan and Hungary concluded an agreement for cooperation in the field of science and technology. In connection with the earthquake which damaged the areas along the Adriatic Sea, Japan presented Yugoslavia with \50 million worth of telecommunications equipment for emergency relief.

Two-way trade between Japan and eastern Europe in 1979 totaled $1,276 million, showing an increase of 20% over the preceding year. Some improvement was seen in the disequilibrium of trade between Japan and some countries of eastern Europe, but the major surplus on the Japanese side still continued.




VII. The Middle East



1. In view of the importance of the Middle East to international politics and the world economy, particularly its important position as a strategic point and a source of energy supplies, 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 has cooperated as much as possible to contribute to the peace and stability of this region and has been maintaining and promoting friendly relations with the nations of the region by extending economic and technical cooperation and encouraging personnel and cultural exchanges.


2. From 1979 to 1980, incidents that have grave international significance broke out in succession, such as the revolution in Iran (February 1979), the seizure of the United States Embassy in Iran and the hostage taking of American diplomats (November of the same year) and the military intervention in Afghanistan by the Soviet Union (December of the same year).

Regarding the American Embassy seizure and hostage problem, Japan clarified her position that such an act, no matter what the reasons, is not only a violation of the well established international law regarding inviolability of diplomatic missions but is also unacceptable from the humanitarian viewpoint, and has conveyed this position repeatedly to the Iranian Government. Moreover, as a responsible member of the international community, Japan, in cooperation with the United States and other friendly countries, has been striving for an early solution of the situation including the release of the hostages.

Regarding the military intervention in Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, Japan demanded that the intervention cease and the Soviet troops be withdrawn immediately on the grounds that such an intervention is an act contrary to the basic principles of international law, such as the respect of sovereignty, preservation of territorial integrity and non-interference in domestic affairs. Japan also repeatedly expressed her desire that the people of Afghanistan should be able to resolve their internal problems on their own. At the same time, Japan also clarified this position at such international fora as the UN and by restraining personnel exchanges with the Soviet Union. Furthermore, Japan announced that it would continue to study and implement, as the situation develops, appropriate measures including tightening of export control toward the Soviet Union in COCOM taking into consideration public opinion both at home and abroad.


3. The Middle East peace problem entered a new phase when the Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed in March 1979 on the basis of the Camp David Accord of September 1978. Relations between the two countries moved toward normalization in pursuance of this treaty, but no substantial progress was seen in negotiations on the question of autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza. In addition, as other Arab countries involved in the dispute strongly opposed the above treaty, no clue to a comprehensive peace was found.

Japan has always advocated complete implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 242 and recognition of and respect for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with the UN Charter. Japan has been supporting and cooperating with the peace-making efforts of all the countries concerned in such fora as the United Nations.

Furthermore, in August 1979, Mr. Sunao Sonoda, then Minister for Foreign Affairs, announced his views on Japan's Middle East policy and its position concerning the Middle East Peace Problem.


4. To grope for what Japan can do to promote the cause of peace and stability in the Middle East and Southwest Asia in such a turbulent situation as mentioned above, the Japanese Government sent ex-Foreign Minister Sonoda on a tour of seven nations in this region from February to March 1980. Japan obtained favorable responses from the countries he visited.




VIII. Africa



1. The number of independent states in Africa south of the Sahara has reached 45 and their voice in international society has increased. They have also assumed greater importance in the world economy, particularly in the field of resources. At the same time, their interest in Japan is also increasing along with the growth of Japan's national strength. As a result, visits to Japan by government leaders and other leading figures of those countries have been greatly increasing, and their expectation of economic cooperation from Japan is growing.

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


2. In line with the above, Foreign Minister Sonoda made official visits to five African countries - Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Tanzania and Kenya - in July 1979. Through talks with leaders of those countries, the Foreign Minister achieved great success in promoting mutual understanding and cooperative relations. In April, President Leopold Sedar Senghor of Senegal paid a visit to Japan as a state guest. Many more, including 28 persons of ministerial rank, came to Japan from African states in 1979. These visits contributed to the promotion of friendly relations between those states and Japan.


3. Regarding the problems in southern Africa, a solution to which has been unanimously demanded by the African states, i.e. attainment of independence by Namibia and Rhodesia and abolition of the apartheid policy in South Africa, it has been Japan's basic position to oppose any sort of racial discrimination policy and to extend as much cooperation as possible for a fair and peaceful solution of the problems in that region. Japan faithfully enforced the UN economic sanctions against Rhodesia and is restricting its relations with South Africa. (At the Rhodesian Constitutional Conference held in London, all the parties concerned reached agreement in December 1979. The UN Security Council accordingly lifted the economic sanctions against Rhodesia. Japan followed the Security Council decision and lifted its economic sanctions.)


4. In the field of economic and technical cooperation, 1979 saw significant progress. Bilateral official development assistance in terms of net disbursement increased from $105.5 million in 1978 to $186.7 million in 1979, and in particular grant aid, included in this total, increased from $18.3 million in 1978 to $46.3 million in 1979.


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