Section 2. Japan's Major Diplomatic Activities


From 1986 to the first half of 1987, Japan played a major role in the Tokyo and Venice summits, contributed to inaugurating the Uruguay round of multilateral trade negotiations under the GATT and was elected to the non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone visited Eastern Europe and Foreign Minister Tadashi Kuranari toured Oceania, Morocco and Iran. In addition to these positive diplomatic activities, Japan made steady and wide-ranging diplomatic efforts. As a result, Japan has grown even more important to the international community. International expectations and a level of interests toward Japan have also heightened further.

Japan must continue to bear its responsibility and play a major role in the international community to become a country which can contribute effectively to the world.

Japan's major diplomatic activities from 1986 to the first half of 1987 are as follows:


(1)  Japan-U.S. relationship, a cornerstone of Japan's foreign policy, is seriously strained by trade and economic friction. But the two countries' cooperation has been promoted further through a U.S. visit by Prime Minister Nakasone and then Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe in April 1986, U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz's visit to Japan in March 1987 and a visit of Prime Minister Nakasone and Foreign Minister Tadashi Kuranari to the United States from late April to early May 1987. In the security area, Japan decided in September 1986 to participate in U.S. research in the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). It has also continued steady efforts to ensure effective operations of the Japan-U.S. security arrangements. In June 1987, Japan signed a special agreement with the United States on labor costs for U.S. forces stationed in Japan to increase the Japanese bearing of labor costs for employees of American forces in Japan.

Japan's relations with Canada have been promoted by Canadian Prime Minister Mulroney's official visit to Japan following the Tokyo summit in May 1986.

Relations with Western Europe have been enhanced by then Foreign Minister Abe's visit to France in April 1986, the foreign ministers' talks between Japan and the European Community chairing country in Paris in April and in New York in September, a Japan-EC Ministerial Conference in Brussels in December, Foreign Minister Kuranari's tour of Belgium, Italy, Vatican City and France in the same month, Prime Minister Nakasone's visit to Finland in January 1987 and his trip to Spain in June. The relations have also been promoted by Italian Prime Minister Craxi's visit to Japan just before the Tokyo summit in May 1986, a trip to Japan by British Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the same month and Finnish President Mauno Koivisto's visit to Japan in October.

Japan made positive contributions to the annual summit of seven major industrialized democracies which has become even more important as a forum for their policy cooperation. Japan made sound contributions at the Tokyo summit in May 1986 as chairman. It also played a positive role in both economic and political areas at the Venice summit in June 1987.


(2)  Japan also maintained and enhanced relations with Asia-Pacific countries during the past one year.

A number of developments were seen in relations with the Republic of Korea including Prime Minister Nakasone's visit to that country for the Asian Games opening ceremony and summit talks in September 1986, and the first regular Japan-ROK foreign ministers' meeting in Tokyo in the same month and the 14th Japan-ROK Regular Ministerial Conference in Tokyo in December. In May 1987, Foreign Minister Kuranari visited the ROK for the second regular bilateral foreign ministers' meeting, where the two countries agreed to the "three principles for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula."

In relations with China, Prime Minister Nakasone visited China in November 1986 for a ceremony to mark the inauguration of a Japan-China youth exchange center. On this occasion, the prime minister held talks with Chinese leaders and agreed with them that Japan and China should further promote their friendship and cooperation. In April 1986, the second regular Japan-China foreign ministers' meeting took place in Tokyo.

As for the relations with ASEAN countries, then Foreign Minister Abe attended ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference with the Dialogue Partners in Manila in June 1986 to specify Japan's basic Asian policy. He also made an official visit to the Philippines. Major ASEAN visitors to Japan included Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in October 1986 and Philippine President Corazon Aquino in November.

In relations with Oceania, Australian Prime Minister Robert Hawke visited Japan in May 1986. Foreign Minister Kuranari visited Australia and New Zealand in January 1987. He attended the ninth Japan-Australian ministerial committee meeting. The foreign minister also toured Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. In Fiji, Kuranari delivered an address titled "Working towards the Pacific Future Community" demonstrating Japan's positive attitude toward the Pacific island countries.


(3)  Relations with the Soviet Union saw the regular bilateral foreign ministers' meeting take root. Then Foreign Minister Abe visited the Soviet Union in May 1986 for the regular meeting with his Soviet counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze following their talks in January. Abe and Shevardnadze held peace treaty negotiations covering the bilateral territorial issue and agreed that such negotiations would be continued. Abe held talks with General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev as well. Foreign Minister Kuranari held talks with Shevardnadze on the occasion of their attendance at the annual United Nations General Assembly session in New York in September 1986.

Relations with the East and North European countries saw a major development in which Nakasone made the first official visit by the Japanese prime minister to Finland, the German Democratic Republic, Yugoslavia and Poland, all located along the border between the Eastern and Western Europe. Prime Minister Nakasone delivered an address, titled " To Japan's European Friends, " at Yugoslavia's Belgrade University, contributing to promotion of political dialogue and mutual understanding between East and West.


(4)  Japan's enhancement of relations with the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, and of United Nations activities, not only broadens the horizon of Japan's diplomacy but also constitutes an important factor in bringing about peace and prosperity of the world.

In relations with Middle East countries, Foreign Minister Kuranari held talks with his counterparts of Iraq, Oman and Jordan in New York in September 1986. He also visited Morocco and Iran in the wake of the Venice summit in June.

As for Latin America, Argentine President Raul Ricardo Alfonsin visited Japan in July 1986 and Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado in November. On these occasions, Japan offered cooperation in solving these countries' accumulated debt problems, and thereby promote relations with them.

In relations with African countries, Foreign Minister Kuranari hosted a luncheon with African foreign ministers when he attended the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 1986. Present at the luncheon were representatives from 40 African nations including foreign ministers of 14 countries and heads of permanent mission to the United Nations of 26 countries.

Mozambique's President Samora Moises Machel visited Japan in May 1986 and Niger's President of Supreme Military Council Seyni Kountche in September. In connection with the South African issue, Japan received visits by a group of foreign ministers of non-aligned countries led by Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister Witness Mangwende in November 1986 and by Oliver Tambo, chairman of the African National Congress (ANC), in April 1987.

The year 1986 saw the 30th anniversary of Japan's accession to the United Nations. Japan held a ceremony to mark the anniversary in the year. Foreign Minister Kuranari attended the 41st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September and undertook positive diplomatic activities. He delivered a speech in the general debate, held talks with United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar and many foreign ministers, and hosted a banquet for Asia-Pacific foreign ministers and an unofficial meeting of major industrialized countries' foreign ministers. Japan ran as the unified candidate of the Asia group in the October 1986 election of non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and was successfully elected to the post for a two-year term started in January 1987.


(5)  As Japan's economic friction with foreign countries grew more serious against the background of Japan's huge external account imbalances, Japan recognized its international responsibility and tried to transform its economic structures into more harmonious one with international economic environment, thus contributing to the sound development of world economy.

To be more specific, while improving foreign acccess to the Japanese market further, with a view to working out specific policy initiatives toward the Prime Minister's April visit to the United States, the May OECD Ministerial Conference and the Venice summit in June, Japan decided on the Emergency Economic Measures in late May, including the expansion of domestic demand, increased imports and positive recycling of funds to developing countries.

Japan also contributed much to promoting further policy coordination between major industrialized countries at the Venice summit in June 1987 as at the Tokyo summit in May 1986.

On the international trade front, Foreign Minister Kuranari attended the GATT Ministerial Conference in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in September 1986 and made great contributions to the inauguration of the new GATT round of multilateral trade negotiations.

In economic cooperation, Japan has been trying to expand ODA under the third Medium-Term Target to positively respond international expectations. Japan's ODA in 1986 scored a sharp increase from 1985. In this May's Emergency Economic Measures, Japan decided on the advanced implementation of the 7-year ODA doubling target in five years, recycling more than $20 billion of completely untied official and private funds to developing countries over the next three years, and expanding grant assistance, including $500 million in non-project-type grants for African and other nations over the next three years.



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