Section 4. Latin America



(1)  Overview

(a)  Japan and Latin American nations have traditionally had friendly, cooperative relations including complementary economic ties. Activities of some one million Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Latin Americans have made the ties between Japan and Latin America closer. Latin American nations now have greater hopes on Japan as its position in the international society is growing more important. Japan has traditionally promoted economic exchange and economic and technical cooperation with these countries. It has also cooperated in their efforts to overcome their economic difficulties including the debt issue. Bilateral traffic of people, including national leaders, and cultural exchange, have increased to further promote the friendship.

(b)  In 1986, Argentine President Raul Ricard Alfonsin visited Japan in July and Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid from late November to early December. These visits contributed much to promoting Japan's relations with not only the two countries but also the whole of Latin America.

In September 1986, Kuranari visited Uruguay for the first time as a Japanese foreign minister. He attended a GATT ministerial conference there and held talks with Uruguayan president and other Latin American cabinet ministers.

(c)  Japan has firmly supported Contadora Group and other efforts for peaceful solution of Central American disputes and has cooperated in economic and social development of the Central American and Carribbean regions.

(d)  Japan has welcomed Latin American countries' steady democratization as contributing to long-term stability of political situation there. It hopes that the democratization will help promote dialogue and cooperation between Japan and the Latin American nations.


(2)  Economic Relations

(a)  Trade

Japan's exports to Latin America in 1986 increased by 11.9% from the previous year to $9,494.55 million, but its imports from the region fell by 0.8% to $6,193. 56 million. The export growth was attributable to increased machinery exports including automobiles. In imports, mineral fuels posted a sharp drop of 25% due to oil price falls.

(b)  Investment

Japan's accumulative direct investment in Latin America stood at $15,636 million at the end of March 1986, accouting for 18.7% of its total direct investment abroad. Thus it means Japan's third largest investment destination after North America and Asia.

(c)  Finance

Loans to Latin America account for a large share of commercial Japanese banks' outstanding overseas loans. Japanese banks have positively cooperated in international financial assistance to Latin America. In 1986, Japan's governmental and commercial banks pledged loans to Mexico including a $1 billion Export-Import Bank of Japan credit in view of international financing cooperation.

(d)  Private Level Economic Exchange

A Japan-Argentina joint economic committee session in Buenos Aires and a Japan-Chile economic committee meeting in Santiago in September 1986 were held to exchange views on promotion of bilateral trade and investment.

In April 1987, a Japanese economic mission including both businessmen and government officials visited Argentina, Uruguay and Chile to study in order to activate economic exchange with these countries through trade and investment.





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