MAJOR DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS
BY JAPAN IN 1983
Section 1. Promoting Relations with Specific Countries
It is vitally important for the peace and prosperity of Japan as an Asian nation that peace and stability be preserved in Asia.
The situation in Asia was even harsher in 1983 than it was in 1982, as the tension on the Korean Peninsula, the conflict between China and Vietnam, the Cambodian problem, the Soviet military build-up in the region, and other issues continued to be destabilizing factors, as did such violent events as the downing of the Korean Air Lines jetliner and the Rangoon incident.
It was under these conditions that Japan pursued positive diplomatic approaches toward Asia to consolidate its long-term, stable relations with friendly countries. These efforts are reflected in Prime Minister Nakasone's trips to the Republic of Korea in January, to the five ASEAN countries and Brunei in late April and early May, and to China in March 1984 and Foreign Minister Abe's trips to Burma in March, to Thailand for the ASEAN Ministerial Conference with the Dialogue Partners in June, and to China for the Japan-China Ministerial Meeting in September.
(2) Korean Peninsula
(a) The preservation of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is important to the peace and stability of the East Asian region including Japan. Strongly hoping that there will be a relaxation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Japan has been stepping up its exchanges of views with China, the United States, and other countries having a major interest in the Korean Peninsula and working to contribute to the creation of an international climate conducive to a resumption of substantive dialogue between North and South and a relaxation of tensions on the Peninsula.
Among the major exchanges of opinion engaged in by Japan over the Korean Peninsula in 1983 and early 1984 are Prime Minister Nakasone's discussions with Republic of Korea President Chun Doo Hwan, with United States President Reagan, with Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang and Foreign Minister Abe's discussions with the Foreign Ministers of the Republic of Korea, the United States, and China.
Visits to Asian Countries of the Japanese Prime Minister (PM) and the Foreign Minister (FM)
On the dialogue between North and South, North Korea proposed tripartite talks (North Korea, the Republic of Korea, and the United States) in January 1984, but considerable differences remain between the two parties. Taking the basic position that the problem of the Korean Peninsula should primarily be resolved through direct dialogue between North and South and continuing to support the efforts of the Republic of Korea for dialogue and to hope for the resumption of substantive dialogue between North and South, Japan is observing developments and intends to do what it can to cooperate.
(b) Japan continues to place a high priority on its friendly and cooperative relations with the Republic of Korea and will continue to work to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in a wide variety of fields and to build unshakeable Japan-Republic of Korea relations backed by mutual trust and understanding between the two peoples. It was agreed at the August Japan-ROK Regular Ministerial Conference that the January meeting between the two highest leaders created important momentum for the further development of friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries. It was also agreed that Japan and the Republic of Korea will both study measures to be taken to promote mutual understanding and mutual exchange between the two countries commemorating the 1985 twentieth anniversary of the normalization of Japan-Republic of Korea relations.
(c) Regarding the Rangoon incident, Japan, taking the position that such terrorism is impermissible in the international society, has assumed a firm attitude toward North Korea. However, Japan intends to maintain the basic framework of traditional exchanges in the economic and cultural fields and hopes that North Korea will make a sincere effort for the relaxation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
(a) Ever since the normalization of relations in 1972, Japan has made maintaining and developing good and stable relations with China an important pillar of its foreign policy and has worked for the development of still-better relations. Realizing that good and stable relations between Japan and China contribute not only to the two countries themselves but to the peace and stability of Asia and the world, Japan will continue to cooperate positively with Chinese efforts for economic construction.
(b) The November visit to Japan by Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang and the March 1984 visit to China by Prime Minister Nakasone are very significant as having consolidated the foundations for the further long-term stable development of bilateral relations. Through these visits, the leaders of the two nations reaffirmed the need to transcend the differences in their institutional frameworks and to maintain a peaceful and friendly relationship looking ahead to the twenty-first century and agreed to expand and strengthen exchanges and cooperation in a broad range of fields based upon the four principles of peace and friendship, equality and mutual benefit, mutual trust, and long-term stability.
(c) Trade with China topped $10 billion in 1983, and Japan's economic cooperation is proceeding smoothly in a variety of forms including yen loans, grant assistance, and technical cooperation. During Prime Minister Nakasone's visit to China, it was announced that Japan will cooperate with new yen loans for priority projects in fiscal 1984 and beyond in the transportation, telecommunications, and energy fields.
(4) ASEAN Countries and Burma
(a) The five nations of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand have been strengthening their solidarity in pursuit of their common goals in the political, economic, cultural, and other fields in the ASEAN regional cooperation organization, and, as a stabilizing force in Southeast Asia, these efforts have contributed significantly to the peace and development of the region. Brunei's joining as a new ASEAN member nation in January 1984 has expanded the basis for regional cooperation. The promotion of friendly and cooperative relations with those ASEAN nations with which Japan has close ties not only politically and economically but also historically and geographically is an important pillar of Japanese foreign policy, and Japan has been providing every possible support for these countries' own self-help efforts for economic and social development.
Prime Minister Nakasone's 1983 visit to the five ASEAN countries plus Brunet where he proposed science and technology cooperation, expanded youth exchanges, and other means to broaden Japan-ASEAN relations beyond its tendency to emphasize economic aspects was a major contribution to the building of long-term stable Japan-ASEAN relations.
The biggest political and foreign policy issue for the ASEAN countries is the stalemated Cambodian problem. Foreign Minister Abe has made it clear at the June 1983 ASEAN Ministerial Conference with the Dialogue Partners, at the September United Nations General Assembly session, and at other forums that Japan will continue to support the ASEAN countries' efforts for a comprehensive political settlement.
Steady progress has also been maple in Japan's cooperative relations with the ASEAN countries in the areas of economic and technical cooperation. Specifically, the plant renovation scheme is being promoted in follow-up to the promise made by Prime Minister Nakasone during his visit to the ASEAN countries, and the basic framework for Japan-ASEAN cooperation in science and technology was formulated at the Japan-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology held in Tokyo in December. The first of the ASEAN projects undertaken with Japanese capital cooperation, the Indonesian fertilizer plant, came onstream in January 1984 as a noteworthy event symbolic of Japanese cooperation with the ASEAN countries.
(b) Japan attaches great importance to friendly and cooperative relations with Burma, a friendly nation situated on the boundary of Southeast Asia and Southwest Asia, and it was in this context that Foreign Minister Abe visited Burma in March and had useful exchanges of views with President San Yu and other leaders.
(5) Indochina (the Cambodian Problem)
In Indochina, Vietnam continued its military intervention in Cambodia and battles continued between Vietnam and the opposing coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (President Sihanouk, Vice President Khieu Samphan, and Prime Minister Son Sann).
Japan takes the basic position that the Cambodian problem should be settled and peaceful coexistence established among the Indochinese countries and the ASEAN countries as soon as possible in order to bring peace and stability to Indochina and Southeast Asia as a whole. Japan firmly maintained its policy of seeking a comprehensive political settlement to the Cambodian problem in line with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and the Declaration of the International Conference on Kampuchea, and supported the diplomatic efforts of the ASEAN countries with which it shares a common position.
As part of these diplomatic efforts, Japan's basic position of support for the efforts of the ASEAN countries for a comprehensive political settlement has been reaffirmed by Prime Minister Nakasone during his visit to the ASEAN countries and by Foreign Minister Abe at the Japan-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Conference. On all of these occasions, Japan's intention of extending continued assistance for Cambodian refugees was also expressed.
At the United Nations General Assembly in the autumn, Japan cosponsored the ASEAN draft resolution concerning the Cambodian situation as in previous years. In respect of 1982's outcome, this draft resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority.
(6) Indochinese Refugee Problem
Now, nine years since the first outflow of Indochinese refugees, there are still approximately 160,000 refugees in the Southeast Asian region (as of March 31, 1984) and the nations of Southeast Asia and other nations concerned are struggling to cope with this long-standing problem.
Aware of the continued seriousness of this problem from the humanitarian viewpoint as well as its impact for peace and stability in Southeast Asia, Japan has been a major donor of financial assistance with a total of approximately $60 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other organizations in 1983 and has continued to cooperate positively on the two fronts of resettlement and first asylum for these refugees (the cumulative total number of refugees accepted approximately 10,000 as of March 31, 1984).
Furthermore, April 1983, the International Refugee Assistance Center was established (with accommodations for 720) as part of the effort to improve the treatment of "boat people" temporarily residing in Japan.
(7) Southwest Asia
Southwest Asia has a population of 900 million and is an extremely important region linking the Middle East and East Asia and facing the Indian Ocean.
Believing that developments in this region have a direct impact upon peace and stability in all of Asia and the world, Japan has long worked through economic and technical cooperation and other means for enhanced friendly and cooperative relations with the countries of this region and has contributed to the stabilization of this region. This region having become especially important since the Soviet military invasion of Afghanistan, Japan has worked to intensify the political dialogue with the countries of the region. For example, when Pakistani President Haq visited Japan in July 1983 as the first official visit to Japan by a Pakistani President in twenty-three years, he had two rounds of talks with Prime Minister Nakasone, mainly on the international situation. Likewise, Prime Minister Nakasone visited India and Pakistan in late April and early May 1984 as the first official visit by a Japanese Prime Minister to these two countries in twenty-three years and conducted useful exchanges of views on international political and economic issues with Prime Minister Gandhi and President Haq.
Fora for Regional Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region (Mainly on Economic Subjects)
These summit-level dialogues have further strengthened Japan's friendly and cooperative relations with India, Pakistan, and the other countries of Southwest Asia and further firmed the basis for contributing to peace and prosperity in Asia.
(1) The Asia-Pacific region has drawn worldwide attention in recent years for its economic development and future potential. Although there is neither a clear definition of the scope of this region nor an organization or framework bringing the area together as a whole, there is active discussion on free and open cooperation among the countries of the region in ESCAP, the ASEAN Ministerial Conference with the Dialogue Partners, the South Pacific Forum, and various private-sector conferences.
(2) Australia and New Zealand are advanced industrialized democracies like Japan and have strongly complementary economic relations with Japan centering on their exports of mineral and energy resources and primary-sector products and their imports of Japanese industrial manufactured goods. They continue to maintain and develop close relations with Japan both politically and economically.
With Australia, the Hawke Labor government came into power in March and Foreign Minister Hayden and Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Bowen visited Japan in quick succession to promote exchanges of views between the Japanese government and the new Australian government. In February 1984, Prime Minister Hawke visited Japan and, agreeing in talks with Prime Minister Nakasone on the importance of the Pacific region and the desirability of stronger Japan-Australia relations, built a close relationship of trust with him.
With New Zealand, Foreign Minister Cooper paid an official visit to Japan in March and held discussions with Foreign Minister Abe and other Japanese leaders.
The trade and economic relations, which form the basis of Japan's relations with these two countries, are overall good, and Japan has worked through these close dialogues to promote exchanges of views, exchanges of people, and cultural exchanges and to bolster wide-ranging relations not dominated by their trade and economic aspects. Consulting closely on the issues facing Asia and Oceania, including the South Pacific region, Japan has maintained cooperation with Australia and New Zealand in contributing to the stability and prosperity of this region.
(3) Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and the seven other South Pacific island nations are working for nation-building through self-help efforts and promoting regional cooperation for economic and social development in the South Pacific Forum and other forums for consultation.
Japan has been extending grant capital cooperation, technical cooperation, and other forms of cooperation in response to these nations' own self-help efforts. Japan has also been promoting friendly and cooperative relations with these countries through the exchanges of persons, including the visit by Tonga's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense, H.R.H. Crown Prince Tupouto'a in March, and has been contributing to the stability and prosperity of the South Pacific region. Japan intends to continue and strengthen these efforts.
3. North America
(1) United States
(a) Given the very volatile international situation, the relationship between Japan and the United States, firmly based upon the security arrangements between the two countries and constituting the cornerstone of Japanese foreign policy, is increasing its importance. The year 1983 began with Prime Minister Nakasone's visit to the United States and ended with President Reagan's visit to Japan, and it can be said that it was a year in which Japan-United States relations became still closer. As seen in President Reagan's statement that "Together, there is nothing our two countries cannot do" in his speech to the Diet, the United States also regards its relations with Japan as extremely important. This is illustrated by U.S. policies which emphasize the importance of the Asia-Pacific region as the industrial and population center of gravity has shifted within the United States in recent years. With his November 1983 visit to Japan and the Republic of Korea and his April visit to China following year, President Reagan twice visited the Asia-Pacific region in the space of about half a year.
(b) This improved climate in Japan-United States relations is also reflected in the public opinion polls which were taken in January 1984 showing 57% of the American people looking upon Japan as a trustworthy country (up 13% from the previous year). This improvement in the polls comes against a background of American economic recovery starting around January 1983 and the various efforts made by Prime Minister Nakasone's government for easing friction in a number of areas. In 1983, in addition to the emergence of friction in such areas as voluntary export restraint on automobiles (1.85 million vehicles in fiscal year 1984), telecommunications equipment procurement (extension of the Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT) agreement in January 1984), agricultural products (accord reached in April 1984), tariffs (External Economic Measures announced in April 1984), and financial and capital market liberalization (report issued in May 1984), there was also friction in such high-technology areas as value-added networks and computer software. As for the defense budget, the \2,934.6 billion allocated for fiscal 1984 was an increase of 6.55% over the previous year and Notes were exchanged in November concerning the transfer to the United States of defense-related technologies.
(c) Meetings were held between the leaders of the two countries during Prime Minister Nakasone's January visit to the United States, President Reagan's November visit to Japan, and in Washington D.C. before the Williamsburg Summit Meeting in May. The theme that was underlined in these meetings was that of cooperation between Japan and the United States for world peace and prosperity. At the same time, Foreign Minister Abe and Secretary of State Shultz agreed during Prime Minister Nakasone's January 1983 visit to the United States that they should meet at least four times a year, but in fact they met nine times last year in Washington, Tokyo, Paris, Bangkok, and New York. These high-level close personal relations have been a major factor in keeping specific friction issues from developing into political problems. Building upon these exchanges of top-level visits, the Report of the United States-Japan Advisory Commission provides an appropriate and useful set of recommendations.
Japan-U.S. Cooperation for World Peace and Prosperity (Intensifying Consultations between the Heads of Government and the Foreign Ministers)
Trend of Public Opinion in the United States toward Japan
1. Credibility of Japan
Question: "Do you regard Japan as a credible ally?"
2. American Partner in Asia
Question: "Stability and peace in Asia being a concern to the United States, which country is the most important partner for the United States?"
(a) Both Japan and Canada share political and economic values with other industrialized democracies, and they are important partners in pursuing their shared values in the international community. While Japan and Canada have been strengthening their relationship in recent years, especially in its trade and economic aspects, efforts are also being made to strengthen the relationship in such areas as politics, economic cooperation, culture, science and technology, and other areas which are important to building stable and mature relations.
(b) As in the past, there were numerous visits and various consultations between Japan and Canada in 1983. Following upon his January visit to Japan on the way back from his visit to the ASEAN countries, Prime Minister Trudeau again carne to Japan in November to promote his peace initiative and explain his nuclear disarmament proposals to Prime Minister Nakasone. The Japanese and Canadian Foreign Ministers also held meetings in Bangkok in June on the occasion of the ASEAN Ministerial Conference with the Dialogue Partners. At the working level, the first Japan-Canada aid consultation was held, as were consultations on a number of other fields (e.g., economics, United Nations affairs, and cultural exchange). In addition, Premier Lougheed from the Province of Alberta visited Japan as the guest of the Foreign Minister and a Parliamentary delegation led by Senator Perrault visited Japan at the invitation of the President of the House of Councillors.
4. Latin America (including the Caribbean Area)
(1) Latin America has a population of 350 million and includes 33 independent countries, among them many newly industrializing countries with relatively high income levels. It is a vast area rich in natural resources and human potential with great promise for future development. Latin America's political and economic standing in the international community has risen sharply in recent years. Relations between Japan and the Latin American countries have been characterized by traditionally good political relations and by complementary economic relations joining Latin America's wealth of resources with Japanese industrial and technological prowess. The nearly one million people of Japanese descent and nationality in Latin America play an important role in promoting friendly relations with the countries of that region.
(2) Japan's basic policy toward Latin America is to strengthen and expand the broad-based friendly and cooperative relations which already exist between Japan and the countries of Latin America.
(3) Believing it important to contribute to Latin American stability and prosperity, Japan has promoted high-level personal exchanges with these countries, welcoming the Mexican Foreign Minister to Japan in March, the Ecuadorean Foreign Minister in April, the Honduran and Haitian Foreign Ministers in May, and the Jamaican Foreign Minister in November, and sending House of Representatives member Eiichi Nakao to Paraguay in August, former President of the House of Councillors Masatoshi Tokunaga to Argentina in December, and House of Representatives member Motoharu Morishita to Venezuela in January 1984 as special envoys to attend the inaugural ceremonies for the presidents of these countries. As well as working to strengthen the political and economic dialogues, Japan has also been making steady foreign policy efforts in such fields as culture and technology to build broad-based relations with all of these countries.
(4) On the increasingly fluid and complex situation in Central America, Japan, believing that it is important that the initiative for a settlement come from within the region, has a high regard for the efforts by the Contadora Group for a peaceful solution in Central America, and the Foreign Minister has issued a statement in July expressing his strong hope that these efforts, as seen in the Contadora Group diplomatic efforts for peace in Central America, and the cooperation of the countries concerned will lead to a peaceful settlement in Central America.
At the same time, believing that it is important that efforts be made to resolve the problems of slow economic development, social injustice, and other issues if peace is to be secured in Central America, Japan has been working from this perspective to contribute to regional economic development and stabilization of the people's lives, primarily through economic and technical cooperation.
(5) In the economic field, this region has been faced with continued serious economic difficulties in 1983 as in 1982, recording its second straight year of negative economic growth (Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth minus 3.3% in 1983). Although the efforts of the IMF, the private banking consortia, the governments of the creditor countries, and other support measures and the self-help efforts of the debtor countries for austerity, export expansion, and import reduction have made it possible to avert an immediate crisis situation in the much-watched issue of the region's cumulative external debts so far, the medium- and long-term outlook remains grim. The austerity measures introduced by the debtor countries are internally destabilizing factors for these countries. Under the circumstances, the Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, and other responsible officials from 26 Latin American countries met in Quito in January 1984 and adopted the Quito Declaration.
With a view to contributing to the solution of this debt problem, Japan has worked through the Paris Club (a consultative group of creditor countries) to reschedule the terms of repayment for the six countries of Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil and is extending every possible cooperation through the IMF and the Bank of International Settlements (BIS).
5. Western Europe
(1) Japan and the West European countries share the basic values of freedom, democracy, and market economies with the United States and the other industrialized democracies, and we also share a great responsibility for world peace and prosperity under the present harsh international circumstances.
There has been increasing awareness of this in both Japan and Western Europe as their economic and other exchanges have drawn them steadily and increasingly close, and Japan-Europe cooperation, particularly cooperation in the political field, has developed considerable momentum in recent years.
In January 1983, shortly after the formation of the Nakasone Cabinet, Foreign Minister Abe selected Europe for his first overseas trip as Foreign Minister, demonstrating by his actions the importance which Japan places upon its relations with Western Europe. In Foreign Minister Abe's discussions with the various European leaders, the congruence of Japan-Europe concerns and interest in issues of global security and the importance of strengthened political dialogue between Japan and Europe were reaffirmed. In line with this awareness, Japan has since initiated consultations between the Japanese Foreign Minister and the European Economic Communities (EEC) President, the first meeting being with the West German Foreign Minister in May in Paris and the second with the Greek Foreign Minister in September in New York. The institutionalization of these consultations is drawing considerable attention as a major step forward in the political dialogue between Japan and Western Europe.
In the Statement at Williamsburg in June, Japan agreed with the other participating countries that Western security is indivisible and must be approached on a global basis, and the Williamsburg participants jointly called upon the Soviet Union to work together with them in pursuit of peace and meaningful arms reduction. This statement was highly regarded by the West European countries as demonstrating Japan's joint stance on Western security as a whole, and it became an important factor in promoting subsequent cooperative relations between Japan and the West European countries.
Channels for Dialoque between Japan and Western Europe
(2) Japan and the West European countries have a shared interest in maintaining and developing free trade, and they have worked together in the OECD, the industrialized nations' summit meetings, and in other forums to stem the tide of protectionism. However, given the sizeable trade imbalance between Japan and its European trade partners, tensions in the trade area persist with protectionist moves frequently appearing on the European side. Nevertheless, efforts have been made on both sides to further intensify their economic relations. In fact, Japan's trade partners in Europe appreciated Foreign Minister Abe's January visit to the EEC Commission and to some EEC member countries, and the subsequent swift improvements in Japan's standards and certification systems, announcement of the comprehensive economic package in October, and other efforts by the Nakasone administration in response to the requests and concerns of foreign countries. Furthermore, an agreement on wide-ranging Japan-EEC cooperation was reached between the Japanese government and the EEC Commission in February during Vice Presidents Haferkamp and Davignon's visit to Japan. The areas of agreement include industrial cooperation, science and technology cooperation, and cooperation in development assistance. Agreement was also reached on the holding of Ministerial-level Conferences between Japan and the EEC Commission (the first conference held in May 1984 in Brussels). Along with the promotion of Japan-EEC dialogue in the political field, expanded cooperation in the economic field is expected to contribute to broadening and strengthening the foundation of Japan-Western Europe relations.
(3) There has been increasing West European interest in the Asia-Pacific region with its great dynamism and growth potential, and there is evidence that Europe is becoming more and more interested in learning about Japan in a broad range of fields including not just economic but also political, cultural, and social aspects as well. In concert with this interest and in order to further promote mutual understanding among the Japanese and West European people and thus to consolidate our cooperative relationship, Japan is conducting a number of exchange programs including inviting more than 50 West European young people to Japan every year so that they can see the facts for themselves.
6. Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
(1) Soviet Union
(a) Regarding relations with our important neighbor the Soviet Union, the government of Japan has consistently taken a position of trying to resolve the Northern Territories problem and conclude the peace treaty and hence to establish stable relations based upon true mutual understanding between the two countries.
(b) However, Japan-Soviet relations in 1983 and the first quarter of 1984 continued difficult because of such Soviet actions as the military build-up on the Northern Territories, the Soviet military invasion of Afghanistan, the situation in Poland, and the downing of the KAL jetliner.
(c) Yet this situation makes it all the more important that there be political dialogue between Japan and the Soviet Union. The third Japan-Soviet working-level consultations were held in Tokyo on April 12 and 13, 1983, and the fourth in Moscow on March 12 and 13, 1984, with discussions held on issues in the bilateral relationship and the international situation in general. Although these discussions did not yield anything new in the Soviet attitude toward the territorial issue, they were nonetheless valuable as forums for candid discussion between Japan and the Soviet Union on a wide range of issues.
(d) The traditional Japan-Soviet Foreign Ministers' conference every fall at the United Nations General Assembly meeting did not take place in the fall of 1983 because Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko failed to attend the United Nations General Assembly, but Foreign Minister Abe did talk with him in Moscow in February 1984 when he attended the funeral services for General Secretary Andropov. At this meeting, the Soviet Union simply reiterated its standing positions regarding the territorial issue and a possible visit to Japan by Foreign Minister Gromyko, but both sides agreed on the importance of dialogue.
Northern Territories of Japan
(e) On the problem of the Northern Territories, the biggest issue outstanding between Japan and the Soviet Union, Japan emphasized at the working-level consultations and the Foreign Ministers' conferences that the two countries should resolve this problem and conclude the peace treaty, but the Soviet Union was unyielding in its contention that there is no territorial issue between the two countries. Within Japan, there has been an increasing nationwide upswell of popular opinion on this issue, including ceremonies when Foreign Minister Abe inspected the Northern Territories in August. Buoyed by this popular support, Foreign Minister Abe, like Foreign Minister Ito in 1980, Foreign Minister Sonoda in 1981, and Foreign Minister Sakurauchi in 1982, appealed in his September 1983 address to the United Nations General Assembly for the backing of international public opinion for Japan's basic position on this issue.
(f) In response to the September downing of the KAL jetliner, Japan has instituted a number of measures against the Soviet Union in the aviation field.
(g) In the economic field, a major private-sector trade and economic mission (popularly known as the Nagano Mission) went to the Soviet Union in February and government-level trade and economic consultations were held in Moscow in October.
(i) Relations with the Soviet Union are among the most important issues in Japan's foreign policy, and the establishment of stable Japan-Soviet relations based upon true mutual understanding is important to the peace and security of Asia and hence the world. However, it is impossible to establish such relations without resolving the Northern Territories issue, and the government of Japan is determined, with the support of the popular will, to call doggedly upon the Soviet Union to resolve this issue and to conclude the peace treaty soon.
(2) Eastern Europe
(a) Relations between Japan and the East European countries are developing steadily, and there has been an increase in mutual interest levels. Taking into consideration each country's circumstances and policies, Japan is working to promote friendly relations through cross-visits by dignitaries and economic and cultural cooperation.
(b) In August 1983, Foreign Minister Abe visited Romania and Bulgaria as the first Japanese Foreign Minister ever to visit these countries and held frank exchanges of opinion with the leaders of these nations on the INF and other international issues. This trip was very useful in the sense of promoting mutual understanding with these countries and expanding the channels of communication with Eastern Europe.
(c) Japan has approached the Polish problem in coordination and solidarity with the West, and agreed in November to resume negotiations on debt rescheduling.
(d) Japan has a high regard for Yugoslavia's foreign policy stance of adhering firmly to independence and non-alignment. From this perspective, Foreign Minister Abe took the opportunity of attending the Sixth Session of the UNCTAD in Belgrade in June to pay an official visit to Yugoslavia. Like the other Western countries, Japan is providing export credits and other support for economic stability and development in Yugoslavia.
7. Middle East
(1) The Middle East is strategically important as a primary source of the world's oil supplies. Japan has especially close relations with the Middle East, both as a source of approximately 70% of its oil imports and as an important trade and economic partner. However, this region is beset with many problems, including the Iran-Iraq conflict, the worsening situation in Lebanon, and the issue of Middle East peace as well as the economic and social problems generated by rapid economic growth and a drop in governmental revenues as supply has come to exceed demand in international oil markets. Since these problems are destabilizing factors within the region and hence have the potential for a major impact upon the international community, they should be given close and constant attention.
Given this situation, Japan has contributed positively to these countries' nation-building and human resources development through providing economic and technical cooperation and has worked to promote mutual understanding through enhanced personal and cultural exchanges.
(2) With the increasing Japanese economic presence in the Middle East in recent years, there have been increasing calls for Japan not to restrict itself to economic affairs but to play a more positive political role as well. Placing even greater importance upon political issues in its foreign policy toward the Middle East, Japan has sought to respond to these expectations by exploring a possible role in 1983 in creating a climate conducive to an early peaceful settlement of the Iran-Iraq conflict, while taking every opportunity to consult with the countries concerned on the Lebanese problem and the issue of Middle East peace.
(3) The Middle East peace process lost momentum in 1983 as the Hussein-Arafat negotiations were broken off in April and internal dissent broke out within the PLO in May. In Lebanon, the confrontation among the various sects grew fiercer, and the situation has grown steadily worse, beginning in September. In the face of this volatile situation, Japan appealed in both international conferences and in dialogue with the countries concerned for a peaceful settlement of the problems and called upon the parties concerned to show flexibility and realism.
Japan also took part in the July meeting of the Lebanese aid consortium and, in concert with the other industrialized countries, expressed its willingness to study what kinds of cooperation are possible.
In December, Japan made a disbursement of $500 thousand in emergency humanitarian assistance for Palestinian and other Lebanese refugees.
(4) On the Iran-Iraq conflict, Japan has sought to discover a means for preventing escalation of the conflict and achieving an early settlement by peaceful means; Japan established channels of political dialogue with the parties to the conflict with Foreign Minister Abe's visits to Iran and Iraq in August and then continued dialogues with them by sending high-ranking officials from the Foreign Ministry to the two countries and welcoming officials from the two countries to Japan. This is highly significant as an example of Japan's positive efforts to take advantage of its unique position and is worth noting for its favorable impact upon Japanese foreign policy toward the Middle East, which used to be concentrated mainly on economic issues.
Japan has continued these efforts in 1984, but Japanese diplomatic efforts toward Iran and Iraq are not intended as mediation or arbitration of the conflict but are rather directed toward preventing escalation of the conflict and creating a climate conducive to an early settlement of the conflict by peaceful means. These diplomatic efforts by Japan have been highly appreciated by other countries.
The specific efforts made by Japan in 1983 based on this approach are described below.
(a) In June, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ardebili was invited to Tokyo and the Second Japan-Iran High-level Dialogue was held. The Japanese side emphasized that an early end to the Iran-Iraq conflict is important to the promotion of cooperative relations with Iran.
(b) In August, Foreign Minister Abe visited Iran, Turkey, and Iraq, and pressed the leaders of the Iranian and Iraqi governments directly on the need for an early and peaceful solution to the conflict and the importance of preventing escalation of the conflict.
(c) In September, Foreign Minister Abe met with the Foreign Ministers of Iran and Iraq separately on the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly. This was a time of heightened tension in the Gulf over the delivery of Super Etandard fighter-bombers to Iraq, and Foreign Minister Abe put the emphasis on preventing escalation of the conflict and calling upon both sides for self-restraint. (Similar efforts were made during Foreign Ministry Advisor Nakayama's visit to Iraq and Iranian Environmental Minister Taheri's visit to Japan, both in September.)
Iran-Iraq Conflict and the Diplomatic Efforts of Japan (Exchanges of Envoys)
(d) In October, when Iraq warned Japan of attacks on the Iran-Japan Petrochemical (IJPC) petrochemical complex, Deputy Foreign Minister Nakajima was immediately dispatched to Iraq to ask Iraq to reconsider.
(e) In November, Iraqi Trade Minister Ali was invited to Japan and the Fourth Japan-Iraq Joint Committee meeting was held. Japan again called upon Iraq to avoid attacks on the IJPC project and to work to prevent escalation of the conflict.
(5) The Iranian ground offensive was launched in February 1984, and this was followed by intensified Iraqi attacks on shipping, and further deterioration of the situation as both countries stepped up the frequency of their attacks on tankers, yet Japan has continued calling upon both Iran and Iraq to guarantee the safety of navigation in the Gulf.
(6) In February 1983, oil spilled into the Gulf from the Noruze oilfields and there was a temporary threat of pollution in the Gulf. In light of the importance of this region, Japan led the way in sending a governmental mission to the four Gulf countries and examining ways in which Japan could cooperate in coping with this environmental issue. This positive response by Japan was highly appreciated by the Gulf countries.
(1) There are now 45 independent countries south of the Sahara, and, constituting approximately one-third of the total United Nations membership, they are an important force in international affairs. Africa is also important to the world economy for its abundant resources.
Most of the African countries achieved independence over the last quarter-century, and the major issue facing these countries is that of nation-building. With the improvement of Japanese capabilities, the African countries have become increasingly interested in Japan and there have been increasingly frequent visits to Japan by officials from these African countries. Expectations of Japanese economic cooperation have also increased rapidly.
In seeking to fulfill its international responsibilities in today's increasingly interdependent world, Japan has been promoting personal exchanges with these countries to strengthen mutual understanding and has been extending economic and technical cooperation to the African countries in a wide range of fields to contribute to their economic and social development.
(2) In the field of personal exchanges, Japan welcomed the Ministers for Foreign Affairs (and Cooperation) from Nigeria, Niger, and Mozambique as well as 15 other Cabinet-level officials from the countries of Africa. By the same token, Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko visited Zambia and Kenya in March 1983, Senegal and Zaire in February 1984 and Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Ishikawa visited Guinea, Senegal, and Ethiopia in July.
(3) In the field of economic and technical cooperation, the 1983 bilateral ODA (disbursement basis) was $261.41 million, of which $119.00 million took the form of grants. All told, the countries of Africa account for 21.4% of Japan's total grant assistance.
(4) The countries of Africa have been faced with grave food shortages as a result of droughts beginning in 1981, and especially the drought in the second half of 1983. This latest drought has affected not only the West African nations in the sub-Sahara region but the whole of Africa, including the countries of Southern Africa and Eastern Africa. This disaster has been a focus of considerable international concern, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other international organizations have called for assistance to the devastated areas.
Having long worked hard to cape with Africa's food problems, Japan extended a total of $2 million in emergency assistance to the five countries (Mozambique, Senegal, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Ghana) suffering from particularly severe food shortages.
Drought and Food Crisis in Africa
(24 Seriously Affected Countries Based on FAO Material)
(5) On the problems of Southern Africa (including early independence for Namibia and repeal of South Africa's policies of racial discrimination) where the African countries are unanimous in seeking a solution, Japan's basic position is one of extending all possible cooperation for the just and peaceful settlement of these problems.
Even though there is no solution in sight on the issue of independence for Namibia, there has been considerable movement for a relaxation of tensions between South Africa and neighboring countries in 1984, and it is hoped that this will have a favorable impact on a solution of the Namibian issue.
Japan has made it clear that it is prepared to cooperate in civil administration should a United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) be sent to facilitate Namibian independence.
Japan strongly opposes South Africa's racial discriminatory policies and has only limited relations with that country, including not maintaining diplomatic relations.
to table of contents