BASIC TASKS OF
JAPAN'S FOREIGN POLICY
1. Introduction: Perspectives
The international environment affecting Japan still holds serious aspects, as will be briefly explained in Chapter 2. The peace and stability of the world is confronted by challenges of various sorts in political, military, and economic fields. It can be said that we live in an era in which we are searching for a way to direct the current fluctuating international relations toward a course of lasting stability and development.
In view of the changes in various states of affairs since the 1970s and as we look out on the international situation for the future we think it necessary to resolve the following basic problems:
- How to stabilize further East-West relations, which, due to various factors in recent years, show signs of instability, based on the principles of self-restraint and mutual benefit.
- How to revitalize the world economy without succumbing to the pressures of protectionism.
- How to secure regional stability in the Third World supported by the peace and development of regions racked with conflict, confusion or tension and how to establish constructive North-South relations based on the spirit of interdependence and mutual benefit.
- How to secure solidarity and effective cooperation among the industrial democratic nations in tackling these subjects while at the same time endeavoring to develop mutual and harmonious relations among these nations.
Unless we can respond to these problems appropriately we cannot expect everlasting peace and prosperity in the world. As a consequence, our nation's peace and prosperity is also unlikely to be achieved. In other words, the various problems facing the international society are, at the same time, tasks basic to Japanese foreign policy. Japan is thus required to be ready to contribute to the resolution of these problems in terms of both attitude and concrete actions.
2. Sharing International Responsibility and the Internationalization of Japanese Society
(1) Japan's contributions to world peace and stability are not merely our passive response to the expectations from other countries but also our tackling these problems as our own. Realizing that Japan's existence hinges on world peace and prosperity, Japan must search for the role she should play for the realization of world peace and prosperity, and should actually play it in the international society. When viewed from a short-term perspective, this may be accompanied by pain and sacrifice, but in the light of securing long-range national interests, such sacrifice should be regarded as necessary cost.
With the growing interdependence in the international society today, it is becoming even more difficult for any single nation to cope without the cooperation of other nations or to realize only her interests. In such a situation, whether or not a nation can expect foreign cooperation largely depends on the depth of mutual trust among nations. In this sense, it is essential for Japan to gain the trust of other nations as a country which devotes herself to peace, and to contribute and cooperate commensurate with her own national capability in the international arena and international organizations such as the United Nations. Only thus can Japan survive in the international society trusted by other nations and the world as a whole.
Nevertheless, in responding to any given problem, Japan's position, specific situation, or restraint influence the measures which can be taken. Here, it is important for us to explain Japan's special situation or position to other countries and to clarify what our nation can accomplish, while not shirking from fulfilling our international responsibilities.
(2) Due to the recent development of Japan and the deepening global interdependence, exchanges between Japan and other countries have increased and relations have become more extensive. Desirable though this is, increasing contacts, both direct and indirect, with foreign countries in every aspect of Japanese life sometimes result in international friction.
In this connection, there have been some opinions recently which regard our unique social, economic and other institutions and practices as causes preventing the further development of international exchange.
Many of our institutions and practices are based on our nation's situation as well as tradition, and consequently it is natural that they are different from those of other nations. Since the same can be said of other nations as well such criticism cannot be considered valid by merely taking up the differences between Japan and the other countries.
Nevertheless, in the present international society in which relationships among nations are drawing remarkably closer, no single nation can contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world by merely observing its institutions and practices. It is also true in Japan that, with the elapse of time and social changes, outdated institutions and practices survive by sheer force of habit in spite of disappearance of the original validity or necessity. There are also cases in which institutions or practices encounter difficulties in adapting to new situations, as can be seen in the case of acceptance of the Asian refugees.
For example, in the economic field, Japan has been making efforts, such as this year's two rounds of measures designed to open up its market. However, it is still necessary to re-study and improve various systems and practices, returning to the original starting point, while constantly questioning in every field, original functions, roles, and desirable forms. By helping to promote the so-called "internationalization" of people's livelihood in this way, we must make still greater efforts for the establishment of free and open social system and practices.
Furthermore, it is becoming more and more important for Japan to consolidate and expand domestic institutions in order to promote international cooperation by responding quickly to new international requests or changes in the international environment. In an era of growing international contacts, it is also indispensable to promote extensive and deep mutual understanding based on mutual respect.
3. Problems Facing International Society and Responses to Them
(1) East-West Relations: signs of instability and efforts for dialogues and negotiations
Despite the alleviation of tensions existed in the late 1960s and the early 1970s in the East-West relations, namely the U.S.-Soviet relations which have formed the most fundamental framework of post-war international relations, the Soviet Union has continued a course of military build-up which in turn supported its advance into the Third World. This, in particular, was followed by the direct millitary invasion in Afghanistan in late 1979 which proved to be the turning point to unstable East-West relations. This trend was further provoked by the tense Polish situation during the past year.
Simultaneously, however, efforts to curb worsening relations and to improve relations through dialogues and negotiations are also evident as illustrated in the successive talks on intermediate-range nuclear forces and strategic arms reduction which were started from the fall of 1981 between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
Thus, efforts to brake unstable East-West relations are under-way. Under these circumstances what can Japan do to construct more stable East-West relations?
If the military balance between the United States and the Soviet Union, the core of East-West relations, continues to follow the trend observed in the 1970s, the Soviet Union is expected to achieve superiority over the U.S. For this reason, the U.S. is currently endeavoring to reinforce its defense forces by modernizing its nuclear forces while at the same time expecting other Western nations, including Japan, to further strive to strengthen their defense capabilities. As long as world peace and stability are maintained by the balance of power, the maintenance of this balance of power is of primary importance. Without it stable relations with the Eastern nations are unlikely to be realized.
Furthermore, it is necessary that the Western efforts to maintain the balance of power to cope with the East's military reinforcement be accompanied by arms control and disarmament efforts for the purpose of lowering, as much as possible, the level of the balance in terms of mid- and long-range perspectives. If this is not done, the situation could bring about an endless arms race. Therefore, defense efforts and arms control and disarmament must be executed in a balanced manner which will contribute to the peace and stability of the international society. Defense and dialogues and negotiations, the so-called Western two-track policy confirmed at the 1981 Ottawa Summit, are grounded in such a balanced relation. U.S. efforts for defense together with its initiative in commencing negotiations for intermediate-range nuclear forces and strategic anus reduction talks are highly appreciated, and it is hoped that these negotiations bear fruit. Because bilateral efforts by the two military giants, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, are decisive factors in the promotion of disarmament, it is necessary for Japan to strongly request the continuation and development of responsible talks between the U.S. and Soviet Union.
At the same time, as the only nation which has experienced atomic bombing, it is necessary for Japan to adhere under the Peace Constitution to the three non-nuclear principles-of not possessing nuclear weapons, not producing them, and not permitting their introduction into Japan-while steadfastly striving for the realization of concrete and effective disarmament including nuclear arms reduction at various fora such as the United Nations and the Committee on Disarmament. At the Second Special Session of the UN General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament, Prime Minister Suzuki stressed the urgency of promoting of disarmament by strengthening mutual confidence among states; the urgency of diverting the resources gained as a result of disarmament to the development of the world economy and the promotion of peace in the spirit of mutual assistance; and the urgency of reinforcing the peace-keeping functions of the UN. It is important for us to make an effort to realize these "Three Principles to Achieve Peace through Disarmament".
The Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan and the Polish problem have directly accelerated the recent deterioration in East-West relations since the late 1970s. These incidents represented problems affecting the basic framework of East-West relations, and tested the solidarity and cooperation among Western nations. Through them, Japan conducted policy coordination with the United States and the West European nations and also serious studies concerning its own role to be played. It can be said that Japan once again made clear its position in international politics as a member of the West.
Despite repeated criticism by international public opinion, the Soviet Union has been prolonging its military intervention in Afghanistan while justifying its action there, and there is no prospect of an effective political solution yet. We, on the Japanese side, should not accept the situation in Afghanistan as a fait accompli, but must cooperate with the Western nations concerned and continue to demand the complete withdrawal of the Soviet forces. We must not forget that this kind of response serve as a deterrent against future Soviet action.
Concerning the situation in Poland, Japan is required to cooperate with the West and clarify its political will shared with the West by demanding self-restraint on the part of the Soviet Union.
Additionally, economic relations have now come to be considered as one important aspect of East-West relations. As is illustrated in the conclusions at the two summit meetings in Ottawa and Versailles, there is a consensus among the Western countries that, in dealing with East-West economic problems, it is important for them to seek to ensure that these economic relations be consistent with Western interests in the fields of politics and security. However, as regards the ways of their actual responses, it is also true that, owing to differences in their historical and geopolitical conditions, and their present political and economic circumstances, there does not necessarily exist a complete unity of views. It is necessary to continue to take up this problem as a major task for policy coordination among the Western nations.
The establishment of stable relations based on genuine mutual understanding with the neighboring Soviet Union within the general framework of East-West relations is essential for Japan's security. For this purpose, it is important to settle the northern territory problem, which still remains unresolved, anti to conclude a peace treaty. At the same time, it is also important to conduct economic exchange with the Soviet Union standing on the principle of the inseparability of political matters from economic matters without unnecessarily seeking confrontation with the aim of establishing true friendly and good-neighborly relations.
(2) Revitalization of the World Economy
Triggered by the two oil crises in the 1970s, aggravated inflation, low growth rates, unemployment and balance of payments disequilibrium, especially in the developed nations, can be considered as some of the major disturbing factors of the world economy that have yet to be overcome. The fact that American high interest rates, in particular, narrow the range of policy options in other countries cannot be denied
Furthermore, with the above-mentioned economic difficulties as a background, increasing protectionist trend have been observed in the United States and European nations. Protectionist moves such as the so-called reciprocity bill and the local content bill in the U.S. and the concept of controlled trade, as seen in certain parts of Europe, are developing into serious threats to the maintenance of free-trade. If the world is to fall headlong into this kind of easy-going responses, giving priority to immediate domestic considerations, free trade and market mechanisms will be endangered and the basic values of Western society of freedom and democracy might be jeopardized as well.
However, on the other hand, merely calling for the importance of free trade is not sufficient to prevent protectionism. While recognizing its responsibility, each nation is required to seek expanded equilibrium through the revitalization of not only its economy but the whole world economy, with appropriate macro-economic policies and positive adjustment policies. Wisdom and concrete action are required.
As the second largest economic power in the free world, Japan must shed behavioral patterns fostered in the "catch up and overcome" era and take the initiative in developing free trade in the world.
Agreement was reached at the Versailles Summit to consolidate international cooperation for the development of science and technology to revitalize the world economy in both mid- and long-range terms as well as to coordinate further international cooperation in the administration of the economy, including finance and money. Having taken a positive initiative at the Summit meeting, Japan is required to assume a significant role in cooperating with other nations to reach these goals.
Moreover, the Asian-Pacific region is replete in vitality and dynamism. Thus bringing out the potential and enhancing the development of this region will lead not merely to the regional prosperity but also to the revitalization of the entire world economy. As a consequence, Japan intends to actively promote future cooperation in the Pacific region as stated by Prime Minister Suzuki in his address given in Honolulu.
(3) Disputes and Confusion in the Third World and the North-South Problem
A prompt and peaceful solution to the current disputes and confusion in the Third World, accompanied by political, economic, and social stability in all nations together with their steady development, is an indispensable condition for the peace and stability of the entire world, just as essential as good East-West relations.
The causes of the confusion and disputes seen in various places are not all the same. Complicated causes are interwined, such as those stemming from historical, ethnic, religious, or territorial confrontations, or direct or indirect military intervention by outside forces in the course of independence or the wobbling of the internal structure, as seen in the Arab-Israeli confrontation, the Iran-Iraq conflict, and the disturbances in Lebanon, in the Middle East, and in the disputes and confusion in South Africa, Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Central America. Still further, all the nations of the Third World have different national circumstances, in regard to their political systems, the stage of economic development, geographical and historical conditions, etc. Consequently, there is no uniform measure for the settlement of these problems, and finely tuned responses suited to each individual case are required.
It is important for Japan to maintain close contact and cooperative ties with the Western developed nations and others, while positively participating in joint efforts toward a peaceful solution for conflicts throughout the world as well as the alleviation of conflicts and tensions. Japan is also required to take the positive initiative as was the case when Japan presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council, concerning the Lebanese problem.
The ultimate solution to these problems primarily rests on the efforts of the countries concerned and the role that Japan can assume is subjected to limitations. This Japanese role is also limited by constraints within Japan. For example, we cannot participate in any UN peace-keeping operations where the purpose or mission presupposes the use of force, and Japan is naturally more concerned in its foreign policy with the Asian-Pacific region, with which Japan has profound historical and geopolitical relations, and with the Middle East region, which occupies a strategic position between East and West and produces vast amounts of petroleum, than with other areas.
In more concrete terms, because of its location in the Asian-Pacific region, Japan must continue to support efforts to alleviate tension between the two parties concerned on the Korean peninsula, to support the search for a comprehensive political solution of the Cambodian problem and to support ASEAN efforts to this end to diplomatically approach Vietnam and other countries for persuation, and Japan must also assist countries such as Thailand and Pakistan, neighboring conflicts, support the nation-building of the Pacific island countries, cooperate in the modernization of China, and thereby strive for maintaining and strengthening peace and stability in this region. In the Middle East, Japan is required to positively support the activities for peace by the moderate nations to achieve peace in the region. In other aspects, it is of importance for Japan to cooperate, on the African continent, in the activities of the Western Contact Group and the UN for the independence of Namibia, and, in the Central American and Caribbean regions, in the Caribbean Basin Initiative as well. It is, therefore, necessary for Japan to conduct, in these ways, its diplomacy from a global perspective.
Furthermore Japan, as a peace-loving nation, must positively contribute even further to strengthening the U.N. peace-keeping functions. Thus it may be said that the nation has currently entered an era which necessitates active study of cooperation feasible for it; not only the conventional financial cooperation but also cooperation in terms of human resources such as the dispatching of personnel to participate in peace-keeping operations not presupposing the use of armed force. It is through such steady efforts that we are able to demonstrate to the international society the desire and determination of Japanese people to survive as a peace-loving nation and, at the same time, win international community's trust.
Moreover, Japan's diplomatic efforts for peace and stability in the Third World can be more effective if supported by substantial and powerful economic cooperation backed by Japan's position as the second-largest economic power in the free world.
It can be said that stable life is the foundation of political and social stability. This is especially true of the Third World nations. Contribution to the strengthening of economic, social, and political resiliency through economic cooperation, in the medium- and long-term perspective, deters domestic confusion, conflicts resulting from such confusion, or foreign interventions in these nations. It is in this sense that ODA economic cooperation is not merely Japan's responsibility to international society but also a vital part of our comprehensive security policy. With this understanding, Japan has been trying to expand ODA from interdependence and humanitarian considerations. Despite the severe financial situation of the Japanese Government, it is important for Japan to further endeavor to steadfastly expand ODA in accordance with the New Medium-Term Target to which Japan has committed herself internationally.
Many years have passed since the North-South Problem was taken up as a major problem confronting the international society. Because of the very nature of this problem, this problem cannot be settled immediately. Even so, it must be admitted that the pace of improving North-South relations up until now has been slow as a whole.
Despite this fact, the interdependence between North and South has deepened, as confirmed at the North-South Summit in 1981, and the importance of both sides to cooperate with each other with a view to seeking points of compromise, in the spirit of mutuality of interest and co-operation, has increased. The building up of constructive relations between the North and the South, through interchange in the economic field and through North-South dialogues such as those in the fora of the United Nations can contribute not only to the revitalization of the world economy, but also to the peace and stability of the world, through its contribution to the steady development of developing countries.
In this sense, the appearing of new moves for the launching of the Global Negotiations, based on the agreement reached at the North-South Summit and the Versailles Summit, is appreciated. Japan intends to continue to make positive contribution for the progress toward the launching of the Global Negotiations.
(4) Relations among Advanced Democratic Countries: solidarity and cooperation
Japan, the U.S., the European countries, and other developed democratic nations have been maintaining solidarity and cooperation through multilateral and bilateral consultations and communications in coping with numerous world problems as elucidated above. These nations, of course, have their own positions commensurate with their capabilities and circumstances. Therefore, uniform policy measures for all problems are neither realistic nor useful. Nevertheless, these countries share basic economic and political values and have common interests regarding East-West relations, Third World problems, the North-South problem, problems of the world economy, and various other problems facing the world today. Thus it is important for them to cooperate and complement each other while trying to agree on a basic strategy. For this reason it is necessary for Japan to assume an appropriate portion of international responsibility, as has already been stated. The United States is the most important partner for Japan in bearing this international responsibility and, therefore, Japan must further strengthen and develop friendly and cooperative relations with the U.S. as the cornerstone of its diplomacy. In particular, the pillars for securing the security of Japan are to secure the smooth and effective operation of the U.S.-Japan security arrangements based on profound mutual trust, to effect a steady consolidation of Japanese defense capabilities, and to pursue diplomatic efforts to create a favorable international environment.
The strengthening of political and economic cooperation with the Western European democratic nations is another major subject for Japan. Efforts to strengthen solidarity between the European countries and Japan, along with U.S.-Japan and U.S.-Europe solidarity, are indispensable to the unity of the West.
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