1. Speeches by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister at the National Diet
(1) Policy Speech by Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone to the 107th Session of the National Diet
(September 12, 1986)
I would like, at the start of this 107th Session of the National Diet, to explain some of my basic policies and to ask the understanding and cooperation of the people for them.
Having been elected to a third term as Prime Minister by the 106th Session of the National Diet following the recent national elections, I am determined to make a fresh start and an honest best effort for the government of the nation.
Since first becoming Prime Minister, I have called for a reassessment of postwar policies and promoted far-reaching reforms to build a nation of resilient culture and welfare and to make Japan a truly international state. In the recent general election, I campaigned on the need to carry forth with these reforms, no matter what difficulties may be encountered, in order to put Japan firmly on the path for the twenty-first century. This means administrative and fiscal reform, tax reform, and educational reform, and it involves changing our economic and social systems to meet the needs of our aging population. It also means making Japan an international state forcefully promoting world peace and disarmament, open to the world, and contributing positively to global prosperity.
I also appealed for the achievement of easy-to-understand policies and for a government that is quick to understand the currents of the times and the wishes of the people and that moves to anticipate and respond to these currents and wishes, as well as for the building of a new Japan brimming with the energy and ambition that comes from resolute rejuvenation in every field of endeavor.
Happily, these appeals received support, and I am overwhelmed at the election's outcome. At the same time, I am keenly aware of my grave responsibilities. Taking this popular mandate as the will of heaven, I am determined to do my humble best to firmly carry out my campaign promises and to meet the people's expectations of me.
Thus it is that I have requested that this Extraordinary Session of the National Diet be convened to keep my campaign promises to advance such administrative and fiscal reform priorities as the urgent issue of Japanese National Railways (JNR) reform and the review of insurance provisions for the aged and to forcefully promote economic policies for stimulating domestic demand.
The Public Office Election Law passed in the 104th Session of the National Diet to reapportion House of Representatives seats resolved a major issue that had been outstanding for many years, and I would like to pay my profound respects to the legislative branch for the efforts that it made on the issue. However, this amendment of the Public Office Election Law was enacted as a temporary expedient to rectify a situation that had been declared unconstitutional, and the Resolution of the House of Representatives calls for considering more basic reforms once the final population figures are in from the fiscal 1985 national census. I strongly hope that this Resolution will be carried out, and I assure you that the executive will do its utmost to further this process.
At the same time, I intend to continue to work for clean politics and upright administration.
Given this basic stance, I would like to state my thinking on a number of government policy areas.
Laying the Foundations for the Twenty-first Century: Promoting Basic Reforms
Seeing administrative reform as one of the most important issues in national government, this administration has sought to promote administrative reform with the utmost respect for the recommendations of the Provisional Commission for Administrative Reform and the Special Advisory Council on the Enforcement of Administrative Reform. Happily, this effort has received the understanding and support of the people and a firm start has been made on administrative reform. The time for administrative reform is now.
Reform of the crisis-ridden JNR is the most important and urgent issue for us today. Seeking to restructure these railway operations to truly meet the needs of the people, the administration is making every effort to achieve reform based upon splitting up and privatizing the JNR starting April 1 next year.
The Japanese National Railways Reform Law and eight other bills relating to JNR reform were submitted to the 104th Session of the National Diet. Of these, the Law Concerning Special Measures for Fiscal 1986 was enacted and the first steps were taken for JNR reform. We are resubmitting the remaining eight bills to this session of the Diet in the hope that they will receive prompt passage. In implementing JNR reform, we will make every effort to secure reemployment opportunities and devise other labor policies so as to avoid creating anxiety among JNR employees and their families, and we will also work for the proper disposition of the JNR's long-term financial obligations.
In keeping with our basic policy of according the utmost respect to the final report of the Special Advisory Council on the Enforcement of Administrative Reform submitted this June outlining the fundamental directions for future administrative and fiscal reform, my administration is proceeding with actual implementation of other measures in line with the Seventh Personnel Reduction Plan.
On the establishment of a deliberative body for promoting administrative reform as proposed in the Council's final report, we are studying specific possibilities and plan to have a proposal ready soon.
In addition, while seeking enhanced initiative and independence for local governments, this administration is actively urging local governments to promote comprehensive reform on their own initiative in line with the Outline of Local Government Administrative Reform.
We are also continuing forcefully to promote fiscal reform, and we have laid down austere guidelines for formulating fiscal 1987 draft budget requests. In the process of actual budget drafting, we will thoroughly review all policy systems, set rigorous priorities, and strive to ensure that funds are used even more frugally and efficiently.
The road to fiscal reform is an arduous one. In all of the industrial countries, people are now sweating and working to use funds more frugally and efficiently and to ensure fiscal soundness so that they do not have to increase the popular burden and do not invite inflation and higher prices in their effort to cope with the massive fiscal deficits and burgeoning national debts. It must be frankly noted that there is a need in Japan too, under far harsher fiscal conditions, to make a very serious effort not to leave an excess burden on posterity.
The Tax Commission is now hard at work deliberating on how to devise a tax system which eliminates distortions and embodies the basic ideals of equality, fairness, simplicity, choice, and vitality.
This April, the Commission submitted an interim report on lightening the tax burden for middle-income salaried employees, on reducing and rationalizing income taxes including special measures for homemakers, and on reviewing corporate taxes. At present, the Commission is conducting an overall study of the tax system, and it is expected to formulate a comprehensive set of policy recommendation, including revenue measures, by this fall.
Basic tax reform is an urgent policy issue for all of the people and one of my most important election promises. With the understanding and cooperation of the people, this administration is determined to work to establish a new and rational tax systems appropriate to the twenty-first century.
The Provisional Council on Educational Reform submitted its second report on education reform this April. In its next report, the Council is expected to delineate educational goals for the twenty-first century, to indicate basic directions for the entire educational structure centering around a shift to life-long education, and to offer specific recommendations in a wide range of areas.
I believe that educational reform is one of government's major missions. Since receiving the Council's first report last fall, this administration has moved to implement it with specific measures such as those to rectify the overemphasis on educational credentials, to alleviate the distortions of entrance examination competition based on standard-score bias assessments, and to reform the joint first-stage achievement tests. We will also accord the utmost respect to this second report and move to implement its reforms from the overall perspective.
Greater efforts will especially be made to beef up policies facilitating a coordinated response by the home, school, and community on the issue of hazing as well as to emphasize and enhance the teaching of discipline and basic ethics for living.
Because this is an age of reform worldwide and all countries are strongly interested in educational reform, Japan proposed at the recent Tokyo Summit meeting that a working conference of experts in education be held with the participation of the summit countries and the other OECD member countries. I am pleased to report that this proposal met with agreement from the other participating countries and that work in now underway preparatory to holding this conference in Kyoto next January.
Contributing Positively to World Peace and Prosperity
The May Tokyo Summit's reaffirmation of efforts to strengthen the cooperation and coordination among the participating countries to overcome the problems facing the world today was most significant in ensuring a bright future not only for the participating countries but also for the developing countries and all the world. I would thus like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Japan once again for the way they cooperated with the holding of this Summit meeting.
This Tokyo Summit made me very much aware of Japan's sharply enhanced status in the international community, not only economically but also politically. It is imperative that Japan contribute positively to the international community from the global perspective by, among other things, taking the initiative for further internationalization at home, cooperating with the developing countries, promoting world peace and disarmament, strengthening the free trade system, and cooperating internationally on the frontiers of scientific research.
East-West relations, especially relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, have a direct impact on world peace and stability, and here the outlook is for a U.S.-U.S.S.R Foreign Ministers' meeting to be held soon to pave the way for a second summit meeting between the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union. Believing that coolly rational dialogue and negotiations are indispensable for the building of stable East-West relations, I will continue to make every effort to promote fruitful dialogue and negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union.
I will especially continue to support United States foreign policy efforts in the U.S.-U.S.S.R. negotiations on arms control and disarmament and to call upon the Soviet Union to approach these negotiations seriously and constructively so that they can yield tangible results by the end of the year at latest and the path can be cleared for substantial reductions in nuclear armories.
In light of the continuing difficulties in the international situation, Japan will move steadily ahead on its comprehensive security policies and will seek the smooth and effective implementation of the security arrangements with the United States, as well as seeking, in harmony with other policies, to build a quality defense force within the limits needed for self-defense. Of course, there will be no change whatever in our policies of concentrating strictly on defense in line with our peace Constitution, of not posing a military threat to any other nation, and of adhering firmly to the three non-nuclear principles and civilian control.
Cooperation for prosperity and stability in the developing countries is, as I mentioned earlier, an important international Japanese responsibility. Many of these developing countries face heavy external debts and other difficulties, and it is Japanese policy to work to steadily enhance its official development assistance in line with the Third Medium-Term Target, all the while considering how to best cooperate equitably and effectively with promoting their economic and social development and raising their standards of living.
I would like next to refer to our relations with a number of specific countries.
With the United States, we will work for still-closer relations through maintaining and strengthening the friendship and cooperation centering on our security arrangements and promoting smooth trade and economic relations, as well as by cooperating for the preservation and enhancement of the global free trade system.
In parallel with its negotiating efforts for arms control and disarmament, the United States is conducting research on advanced, non-nuclear defense systems and promoting Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) research in line with the basic ideal of ultimately abolishing nuclear weapons, work which is consistent with Japan's position as a nation of peace. Believing that Japanese participation in SDI research could contribute to the more effective operation of our security arrangements with the United States and that it has the potential for influencing progress in related technological fields in Japan, the administration has recently decided to enter into consultations with the United States on specific measures to facilitate Japanese participation.
Our relations with the countries of the Asia-Oceania area have become broader and deeper in recent years, and Japan is working to develop cooperative relations based upon true mutual understanding with the ASEAN countries and the other countries of the region in keeping with its basic Asian foreign policy of learning from history and its lessons and promoting friendship and cooperation.
I find the recent incident threatening to adversely affect our relations with the neighboring countries of Asia most regrettable. Preserving and strengthening good relations with these countries is basic to Japanese foreign policy. Accordingly, we intend to work even harder to preserve and strengthen our relations of good-neighborliness, friendship, and cooperation with the Republic of Korea. At the same time, we are also striving to promote long-term stable relations of mutual cooperation with China.
In addition, we are working to make our relations with Europe still closer and to strengthen cooperation among Japan, the United States, and Europe in light of the basic values that we share.
In relations with the Soviet Union, it is Japan's unshakable basic policy to resolve the Northern Territories issue and conclude a peace treaty and to establish broadranging and stable relations deserving of mutual respect. It was most significant that the Japan-U.S.S.R. Regular Foreign Ministers' Conference was held in Tokyo this January after an eight-year hiatus, peace treaty negotiations were resumed including the territorial issue, and this process was continued and given permanence in Moscow in May; and that agreement was reached anew on strengthening the political dialogue, including an exchange of visits between General Secretary Gorbachev and myself. We are currently pursuing contacts with the Soviet Union for an early visit to Japan by General Secretary Gorbachev, and I intend to use his visit to work tenaciously in line with the basic policy just explained for the establishment of true understanding and friendship in our relations with the Soviet Union.
The Transformation to an Internationally Harmonious Economic Structure and the Promotion of Comprehensive Economic Policies
The world economy is still beset with numerous problems, including the United States' fiscal deficit, current account imbalances, continuing serious unemployment in Western Europe, and heightened protectionist pressures arising from all of these causes, and there are also issues of uncertain outlook such as the international monetary situation and oil prices.
As reaffirmed at the Tokyo Summit recently, strengthened international policy coordination is needed to achieve sustained and inflation-free growth, to stabilize exchange rates, and to attain other shared objectives. Accounting as it does for one-tenth of world GNP, Japan will work both to further the momentum for policy coordination and to establish internationally harmonious economic relations.
After rising in recent years, Japan's current account surplus has now reached unprecedented proportions. These massive external account imbalances are cause for concern not only for Japanese economic management but also for the harmonious development of the world economy, and there is an urgent need to transform our economic structure and make it more in harmony with the international community.
In May, the administration drew up the Outline of Procedures for the Promotion of Economic Structural Adjustment and decided upon a number of policies, including stimulating domestic demand, creating a more internationally harmonious industrial structure, enhancing market access and promoting imports of manufactures, stabilizing international currency exchange rates at appropriate levels, and advancing international cooperation. Just last month, the Government-Ruling Party Joint Headquarters for the Promotion of Economic Structural Adjustment was established with myself as Chairman to forcefully promote implementation of this Outline, and we intend to continue to work hard to achieve an internationally harmonious economic structure.
The GATT Ministerial Conference will meet next week to make arrangements for starting the New Round of multilateral trade negotiations. Japan will make every effort to ensure that these negotiations are successful so as to block protectionism and to build a free multilateral trade system for the twenty-first century.
With the rectification of the dollar's overvaluation and other changes in the world economic framework, the Japanese economy has enjoyed very stable prices. Despite its underlying strength, however, the economy has seemed to mark time and the mood is grim in manufacturing. Given this forbidding economic situation, the administration, while paying closest attention to the yen's exchange rate and its impact on the domestic economy, will work for apt and flexible economic and financial policy management.
Ensuring sustained growth centering on domestic demand is an urgent issue for the further enhancement of Japan's standard of living as well as for the formation of internationally harmonious external economic relations. Accordingly, while staying within the basic guidelines for administrative and fiscal reform, local governments and governmental organizations are banding together to quickly formulate a comprehensive set of economic policies including additional public works investment and help for small business.
Specifically, while continuing to promote the execution of public works, we intend to move ahead with additional disaster-relief projects, to make fuller use of contract authorizations and the fiscal investment and loan program, and to encourage local governments to undertake additional works on their own initiative.
To promote housing investment, we will seek to expand and improve lending operations by the Housing Loan Corporation.
In addition, we plan to ease regulatory restrictions and provide incentives to stimulate greater private-sector participation in urban redevelopment and public-interest projects. We also intend to sound out people from all walks of life on ways to promote the effective mobilization of private-sector vitality.
The yen's appreciation, along with lower oil prices, yields major benefits for the Japanese economy and people in the form of price stability. It is important that these benefits be passed along to stimulate personal consumption, and the administration will continue to exercise its advisory and surveillance function in this area.
We have already implemented special low-interest lending, credit assistance, and a host of other carefully tailored measures to enable small business to respond positively to the harsh climate engendered by appreciation within the process of the industrial structure's internationalization, and we intend, in light of the yen's continuing appreciation, both to seek these policies' further enhancement and to provide full-hearted support for small business to revitalize the local economies in regions that have been especially hard-hit.
Likewise, we plan to enhance the employment adjustment subsidies and take other measures to seek employment stability.
The administration will submit a fiscal 1986 supplemental budget and related legislation to this Session of the National Diet in order to attain implementation of all of these policies.
As well as making further efforts for enhanced productivity and other improvements in agriculture, forestry, and fishing, we will also promote policies to deal with the Northern Pacific fishing fleet reductions.
Creating a Vigorous and Affluent Aged Society and Building for the Twenty-first Century
The Japanese population is aging rapidly. In preparing for the twenty-first century aged society, it is important that we transform Japan's economic and social systems to better suit an 80-year life span while maintaining economic and social vigor to enable all of the people to live rich and comfortable lives.
The administration is thus actively promoting the implementation of comprehensive policies based upon the Outline of Policies for the Aged Society formulated this June.
Specifically, this means seeking to give working families more leisure time by shortening the work week as well as promoting greater employment and social participation opportunities for older people so that they can exercise their full capabilities throughout their lifetimes. Likewise, it means creating safe and comfortable residential environments and promoting trans-generational communication and the revitalization of community interaction, as well as establishing social security guarantees with a fair and effective balance between burdens and benefits and working for healthful and enhanced lives for all of the people.
In order to establish insurance and medical care provisions suited to the aged society, we are again submitting amendments for far-reaching revisions in health insurance for older people to this Session of the National Diet, and I hope this bill will be passed promptly. Likewise, we have been promoting comprehensive and priority policies under the Comprehensive Ten-year Strategy for Cancer Control. Having achieved such successes as the isolation of the onchogene from stomach cancer and the onchogene from liver cancer, we intend to continue doing everything possible to discover how cancer works. We are also making every effort to conquer the so-called incurable diseases.
Likewise, major changes are expected at the personal and national levels going into the twenty-first century, including, in addition to population aging, internationalization, rapid technological innovation and information-intensification. We have a responsibility to respond wisely to these changing currents and to promote the creation of a safe, comfortable, and richly vigorous society for future generations.
Accordingly, it is imperative that we work to create distinctive communities that residents can have pride in and affection for and to build a nation resilient in the face of earthquakes and other natural disasters, blessed with abundant flora, water, and sunshine, and rich in historical tradition. As well as seeking balanced development nationwide and enhancing the quality of Japanese life as a meeting place of cultural, scientific, and economic exchange from around the world, it is imperative that, drawing upon private-sector energies, we work to improve our information communication and transport networks, to enrich the Tokyo, Osaka, and other metropolitan areas through urban redevelopment, and to upgrade the life-related infrastructure. In so doing, it is crucial that we cope with the issue of stabilizing urban land prices.
The administration is drawing up the Fourth Comprehensive National Development Plan to deal with these issues and to set forth the directions for national development for the twenty-first century.
The twenty-first century is almost upon us. Already, more than eight million Japanese children have been born who will attain majority in the twenty-first century. Our generation's highest calling as well as our greatest wish is to create a richly vigorous Japan that these children can take real pleasure in having been born and grown up in. One of the biggest changes that Japan has seen over the last forty years has been the transformation of its international status. If Japan is to be a truly influential member of the international community, it is essential that we not seem to simply reap the benefits of international peace and prosperity but that we bear our fair share of the burden and contribute to the international good. The true meaning of my call for making Japan an international state lies in having Japan act responsibly for world peace and prosperity as it grows from a nation in the world to a nation at one with the world and to a nation contributing to the international community.
It is thus essential that we be well informed about Japan and that we accurately convey this Japanese reality worldwide. Japan's progress has drawn worldwide attention in recent years, and more and more countries are increasingly clamoring for information about Japanese culture. Seeking to respond to this need, the administration is taking the international perspective and promoting the establishment of a Japanese cultural research center.
International politics has taken on new momentum with the impetus of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. summit meeting, and the international economy is searching for new systems for renewed progress with international policy coordination. Science and technology have begun to concentrate less on size and scale and more on distinctiveness, intelligence, and user-friendliness. Japan and the rest of the world are at a historical turning point, and humankind is raising the curtain on a new era of culture.
As Japan sails its uncharted course toward an information-intensive, aged, and international society, it is imperative that we develop fresh approaches and outlooks and apply ourselves to drafting plans based upon bold concepts for a new Japanese society for the twenty-first century.
Accordingly, it is essential that all of Japan-economy, society, and government alike-undertake to tap the younger generations' wealth of energy and wisdom. This is why, for example, politics took the lead in promoting the shift to younger candidates in the recent election.
This administration will press forward steadily with its policies in the face of this historical challenge. It is our goal to have future historians describe the present not simply as an era of Japanese peace and prosperity but as a time when the entire nation turned its collective wisdom and energies to laying the foundations for a better life in the twenty-first century.
In this, I ask again for the understanding and cooperation of all of the people.
(2) Policy Speech by Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone to the 108th Session of the National Diet
(January 26, 1987)
At the resumption of this 108th Regular Session of the National Diet, I would like to explain my policies in light of the domestic and international outlooks and to seek the understanding and cooperation of the people for these policies.
Allow me, at the outset, to extend my sincere sympathies to the people of Izu Oshima who were forced to leave their homes temporarily to flee the eruption of Mt. Mihara late last November. Happily, that volcanic activity seems to have tapered off, and the people of Oshima were able to celebrate the New Year's holidays at home. I know how much it means to people to be able to be at home with their families-especially during the New Year's holidays.
Joining with all Japanese people everywhere in praying for the continued safety and happiness of the Oshima islanders, I pledge to do everything possible on their behalf.
It is forty years this year since the Constitution of Japan came into force, and the Constitution's basic guiding principle of democracy is today one of the most treasured values shared by all of the people. I believe one of the most outstanding features of democracy is that, banishing dictatorship and encouraging public discourse in line with humanitarian principles, it has the flexibility and adaptability to engage in constant reflection and reform and to respond to the needs of the times.
In line with this belief, I have, since assuming the post of Prime Minister, called for "an overhauling of postwar arrangements," including review of government and the building of a new politics, and have sought to make Japan an "international state" in harmony with worldwide currents.
Blessed with the cooperation of the people and the understanding of the opposition parties, we have, happily, been able to make slow-but-steady step-by-step progress in administrative and fiscal reform; in reforming the Japanese National Railways (JNR), the social health insurance scheme, education, and other fields; in restructuring the economy to more internationally harmonious forms; and in becoming a more international state.
Nonetheless, I very much wonder at the start of 1987 how much actual progress has been made in Constitutional government in Japan in the forty years or so of the postwar period, meaning specifically the progress to date in establishing democratic government and party politics, in streamlining and democratizing the administration, buttressing local autonomy, providing the appropriate checks and cooperation between the legislative and executive branches, enhancing the political parties' functioning and ability to reflect the public will, and furthering the other principles of democratic politics and tenets of parliamentary government.
I wonder if, especially in recent years, there has not been a waning of the fiery postwar zeal to enhance democratic government in Japan and increasing resort to tired precedent in an atmosphere of inertia and ritualistic repetition, and if we have not lost the will to press forth with reforming democratic government and to dare to achieve new progress in our parliamentary democracy.
Well has it been said that Rome was not built in a day, and I am determined to press forth with all of the people in the spirit of perseverance and tolerance, insight and valor, in promoting the cause of democracy and consolidating the foundations for democratic government.
In this Session of the Diet, I am asking you to deliberate on a number of bills, including one for the radical reform of the tax system, and, in this memorable year marking the fortieth anniversary of the Constitution of Japan, to conduct serious study and constructive debate on the whole of our postwar democratic politics and to share your views on those areas where the administration should act to fulfill its administrative responsibilities.
In a closely related issue, the administration intends to do everything it can on fundamentally reforming the apportionment of House of Representatives seats mindful of the inter-party deliberations based upon the principles embodied in the Diet resolution on this issue.
On the issue of raising the level of political ethics, I intend to continue to do my best to establish clean government and upright administration so as not to invite the slightest popular doubt or suspicion.
In keeping with this approach, I would next like to state my basic thinking on a number of national political issues.
Contributing Actively to International Peace and Ensuring Japan's Security
The current international situation is basically one of continuing strain, especially since it is difficult to be optimistic about East-West relations, particularly the outlook for arms control and disarmament negotiations centering on the United States and the Soviet Union, since there is persistent regional conflict and discord, and since other problems remain. At the same time, there has been, with Japan's improved standing and enhanced influence in the international community, a conspicuous increase in the responsibilities Japan should bear and a sharp heightening of expectations of Japan.
I have therefore tried, since assuming the post of Prime Minister, to actively promote dialogue with the world's leaders for the consolidation of world peace and prosperity and done what little I could for a breakthrough in East-West relations and a solution to the North-South problem.
Recently visiting Finland, the German Democratic Republic, Yugoslavia, and Poland where East and West meet, I sought to promote enhanced mutual understanding and friendly relations with these countries and found their leaders in agreement with me on the need for all of us to work to promote the relaxation of tensions and the East-West political dialogue.
In the cause of world peace and prosperity, Japanese foreign policy has long been one of defending the United Nations Charter, promoting solidarity and unity with other Free World nations sharing our basic values, contributing to the development of the Asia-Pacific region as an Asia-Pacific country, cooperating actively for economic growth and enhanced public welfare in the developing countries, and promoting free trade.
The government will continue to work to steadfastly increase Japanese official development assistance and to ensure its fair and effective disbursement under the Third Medium-Term Target as well as to promote trade, investment, and other cooperation for the developing countries and to encourage the flow of capital responsive to the efforts of the debtor countries. We intend especially to make every effort to facilitate the flow of funds through multilateral institutions.
At the same time, in order to maintain Japan's peace security in today's harsh international climate, Japan must, as well as firmly maintaining its security arrangements with the United States, strive to build a moderate-yet-quality defense force within the limits required by its self-defense needs. Accordingly, this administration has, while taking account of the economic and fiscal conditions and other factors prevailing and the time and seeking balance with other policies, sought to steadily implement its Mid-Term Defense Program. There will, of course, be no change whatever in our policies of adhering firmly to an exclusively defensive posture and the three non-nuclear principles in line with our peace Constitution, while not becoming a military power such as might pose a threat to any other nation, and while maintaining civilian control.
Replacing the 1976 Cabinet Decision on the Defense Buildup for the Time Being, a new Cabinet Decision has been made for the period of the current Mid-Term Defense Program under which the defense expenditures for each fiscal year will be determined within the total cost established for the Program, with spending levels in the post-program years to be set taking account of the international situation and the economic and fiscal conditions and other considerations prevailing at that time in line with the policies already explained and continuing to respect the spirit of the 1976 Cabinet Decision to develop a moderate defense capability.
This administration intends to proceed cautiously, as always, on defense spending in line with this Cabinet Decision.
The relationship with the United States is the cornerstone of Japan's foreign policy, and the further development of this bilateral relationship is an important foundation for world peace and stability. Making every possible effort to resolve the outstanding issues between Japan and the United States, this administration will work for the further development of this relationship of friendship and trust.
Given today's need for solidarity among the free and democratic nations, we hope to further strengthen Japan's cooperative relations with Western Europe, an important pillar alongside the United States, not only in the economic field but also in a wide range of political, cultural, and other fields.
It has long and consistently been our policy toward the Soviet Union to seek to establish stable relations based upon true mutual understanding through resolving the Northern Territories issue and concluding a peace treaty, and the administration intends to continue to work for a breakthrough in our relations with the Soviet Union and to establish relations of good-neighborliness and friendship in line with this policy.
Humble before the lessons of history, we intend to continue to work for the further strengthening of relations of friendship and cooperation with the other countries of Asia and to cooperate actively for their stability and development.
Working to further develop the existing good and stable relations with the Republic of Korea, we will cooperate in every way possible for the relaxation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, including support for the North-South dialogue and the success of next year's Olympics.
Maintaining and developing good and stable relations with China's being one of the main pillars of Japanese foreign policy, we will seek to further strengthen Japan-China friendship in keeping with the Joint Communique of 1972, the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1978, and the four principles on the bilateral relationship of peace and friendship, equality and mutual benefit, mutual trust, and long-term stability.
In our relations with the ASEAN countries, we intend to extend every possible cooperation so that their rich potential translates into national development.
We also intend to further develop Japan's friendly relations with the increasingly important Pacific countries and Canada.
As well as further promoting international cooperation through the United Nations, Japan will also fulfill its solemn responsibilities for the maintenance of world peace and stability as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the next two years.
Steadfastly Promoting Basic Reforms
I have made the promotion of administrative and fiscal reform and other reforms one of the top-priority policy goals, have devoted every effort to this task, and have sought to achieve solid results.
Forty years since the war's end, there have been major changes in the economic and social conditions affecting our tax system. With these changes, the present Japanese tax system centering on direct taxation and based upon the Shoup recommendations of thirty-seven years ago has given rise to distortions, inequities, a sense of tax oppression, and other problems; and I am convinced that we can no longer ignore the strong popular frustrations and the demands for reform.
Accordingly, we are resolved to submit a bill to this Session of the National Diet embodying far-reaching tax reforms centering upon the policies of lowering, rationalizing, and reviewing individual income taxes and corporate taxes, with particular attention to alleviating the tax burden on those middle-income salaried employees who feel particularly over-taxed, of reforming the indirect taxation system, and of reassessing the tax-exemptions for savings interest.
This reform of the tax system is also in harmony with international currents, and it is hoped that this reform will help to enable Japanese business and national lifestyles to break through their former constraints and to take on renewed vigor for unbridled development and growth across broad new horizons in the twenty-first century.
The administration will make every effort for the prompt enactment of the relevant legislation.
At the same time, we must also continue to work for fiscal reform and to restore fiscal flexibility so as to promote Japan's economic development and the stability and improvement of Japanese living standards.
Accordingly, along with working for a thorough curtailing and rationalization of disbursements in the fiscal 1987 budget, we have also made every possible effort to enhance non-tax revenues. The reliance on government bond issues has in fact fallen from 29.7% in fiscal 1972 to 23.2% in fiscal 1985, and the fiscal 1987 budget will mark the first time that we will hold the figure for deficit-financing national bond issues to under 20%. Steady step-by-step progress is being made in fiscal reform.
Likewise, we will continue to take the necessary measures for local government finances and to work for their smooth management.
Educational reform is an important issue that we must pursue in order to build a creative and vigorous society for Japan in the twenty-first century.
The administration is making determined efforts to reform university entrance examinations, to improve curriculums, to raise teacher quality, to individualize, diversify, and internationalize higher education, to promote academic research, and to do much more in line with the two sets of recommendations from the Provisional Council on Educational Reform.
In this same vein, the Conference of High-level Experts on Education that I proposed at last year's Tokyo Summit was held in Kyoto starting January 19 with animated discussion of the educational problems that all of our countries face and how to solve them and on international cooperation in the field of education, with the results to be reported to this year's Summit in Venice.
On the problem of hazing, it is of primary importance that this be met with an appropriate response in the schools, and we are now promoting policies to have the home and the community join together with the school in this effort. Likewise, we will also promote outdoor activities and volunteer and other social-involvement activities for the sound development of our young people.
With the passage of the relevant legislation in the previous Session of the Diet, we have laid the groundwork for reforming JNR operations, formerly the most important outstanding issue in administrative reform, and putting them firmly on the track to railroading with a future in the twenty-first century. The government is moving ahead with preparations to facilitate a smooth transition to the new corporate form starting this April 1 and making every effort on policies to ensure employment for JNR employees, aware that this is one of the most important issues in implementing JNR reform.
Late last year, we drew up the Administrative Reform Program to be implemented in fiscal 1987 and we are now are working to promote the implementation specifics for this Program to simplify the administrative organization, reduce national civil service personnel staffing, consolidate and rationalize government-affiliated companies, promote local government reform, and more.
The government is promoting preparations for the establishment of the New Provisional Advisory Council on the Enforcement of Administrative Reform approved by the last Session of the Diet to enable it to meet its goals.
In addition, while seeking enhanced initiative and independence for local governments, we will also actively encourage local governments to promote comprehensive administrative reform on their own initiative in line with the Outline of Local Government Administrative Reform.
Flexible Economic Management and Internationally Harmonious Economic Structures
While enjoying sustained-albeit-gradual growth, the world economy is nonetheless beset with numerous problems, including the fiscal deficit in the United States, imbalances in the major countries' external accounts, protectionist moves against this background, and accumulated external debt in the developing countries. Here in Japan, while the economy overall exhibits strong resilience, disparities are developing among industries and we are approaching a situation in which employment will be a necessary emphasis.
At the same time, respecting the recommendations of the Provisional Commission for Administrative Reform to the utmost, we are in the midst of very demanding fiscal reform intended to create a waste-free and efficient government. With the balance outstanding of national government bonds expected to approach \152 trillion as of the end of fiscal 1987, it is important that we constantly remind ourselves of the need to labor today so as not to burden the nation excessively tomorrow. Nevertheless, even in these circumstances, we must continue to respond appropriately to the yen's appreciation with coordinated policies and, while avoiding budgetary bloating, make every effort to expand domestic demand and breathe new life into the economy so as to promote stability of employment and the activization of local economies, to achieve harmonious external relations, and to make an active contribution to the revitalization of the world economy.
Accordingly, while we have managed in the budget bill for fiscal 1987 to provide even more resources for general public works than last year with the enhanced utilization of the fiscal investment and loan program and other moneys, we are also strengthening policies to create a climate conducive to the maximum possible exercise of private-sector initiative such as in urban development and recreational infrastructure development.
On exchange rates, we will continue our broad-ranging dialogue with the other countries concerned and will make other efforts to see that exchange markets are stable accurately reflecting economic fundamentals.
On ensuring that the benefits of the yen's appreciation are passed along throughout the economy, the administration has taken steps to see that these are reflected in electric power and gas rate reductions that will save household and industrial consumers a total of approximately \2 trillion starting this January. Likewise with imports, we will continue to work to monitor and promote price reductions in light of the exchange profits to date.
We are taking special steps to cope with the grim situation in employment recently, the administration and ruling party are joined together as one with the establishment of the Government-Ruling Party Joint Headquarters for the Promotion of Employment Measures last month to explore ways to expand employment opportunities and to stabilize employment, and we will implement the Program for Creating 300,000 Jobs as an emergency measure with a budget of approximately \100 billion in response to industrial restructuring and other factors.
Along with preparing special legislation and other steps to create employment opportunities and facilitate industrial restructuring through enhancing regional employment policies and revitalizing the economies of depressed regions, we will also forcefully implement restructuring and other policies, including supporting restructuring by subcontracting firms, for small businesses especially hard-hit by this harsh climate of yen appreciation and other difficulties.
Seeking to contribute positively to the international community, we are comprehensively promoting the development of creative technologies and moving ahead with infrastructure development in anticipation of the advanced information society.
The administration is promoting improved market access and expanded imports of manufactures based upon the Outline of Procedures for the Promotion of Economic Structural Adjustment drawn up last May, and we will continue to steadfastly promote policies for the shift to an internationally harmonious economic structure.
Referring especially to agricultural policy, with the strong popular interest in such issues as rectifying the domestic and international price disparities and promoting further improvements in productivity, the administration, respecting the recent recommendations of the Agricultural Policy Council on the basic directions for agricultural policy looking ahead to the twenty-first century, will, while working in cooperation with farmers and farm organizations to ensure the domestic supply capability, strive constantly for the implementation and improvement of policies to promote structural improvements so that agricultural products can be made available to the people at reasonable prices.
Seeking to ensure long-term employment opportunities and to coordinate Japanese workweek standards with the standard number of hours worked in the other industrial countries, we will also attempt to revise the legal regulations pertaining to working hours.
As one of the sponsors of the GATT Uruguay Round, the administration is seeking to preserve and strengthen free trade.
Achieving an Affluent Society and Building a Better Japan for the Twenty-first Century
Japan's spectacular postwar development has now born fruit with the achievement of our long-lived society. The administration is thus promoting the shift to more affluent and vigorous social and economic systems, and it is imperative that we make a smooth soft landing with the rapidly approaching long-lived society so that all of the people can enjoy long, comfortable, and worthwhile lives.
Realizing this, the government is now working to promote comprehensive policies with the cooperation of the people to make Japan a high-quality long-lived society and model for the rest of the world based upon the Outline of Policies for the Long-lived Society drawn up last June.
Good health and a sense of purpose are the foundations for human happiness. We are thus promoting carefully tailored health and medical care policies so that all of the people can live long and healthful lives. With special reference to the battle against cancer, now the number-one cause of death in Japan, the government is making every determined effort and beginning to achieve results in line with the Comprehensive Ten-year Strategy for Cancer Control and we will continue to press forward with this struggle. We are also making every effort in the battle against AIDS and other so-called incurable diseases and in the fight to prevent drug abuse.
For those social welfare guarantees that are an important foundation buttressing the individual's sense of personal worth, the government is continuing its reforms of the health care and pension systems aiming for the achievement of fair and stable systems for the long-term, and the reform of health insurance for the aged achieved in the last Session of the Diet was a step in this direction. Regarding medical insurance and pensions, we will continue to work, including promoting studies on pension system unification, for the establishment of a system befitting our long-lived society.
We are also working to enable the elderly to participate more in society and to enhance policies to care for feeble-minded old people and bed-ridden old people, and, this year being the midpoint to the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons, are seeking to further strengthen policies for the handicapped.
Working for the improvement of the status of women, we are striving to ensure equality in employment opportunities and other areas for both men and women based upon previously enacted legislation and will continue to promote further carefully tailored policies throughout society.
This year being the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, we will, along with promoting international cooperation in this area, promote housing construction, encourage the systematic supply of quality housing sites, and otherwise actively endeavor to improve housing conditions in Japan.
On the problem of soaring land prices of Tokyo and certain other areas, while promoting policies to curtail speculative real estate dealing and to improve the balance between the supply of and demand for land, we will also promote forceful and comprehensive land-price policies including the dynamic operation of the Ministerial Conference on Land Price Policy established last month.
In addition, along with disaster-relief policies, we will also promote policies to secure public order and enhance traffic safety so as to ensure the safety of Japanese life. We are especially working to gain the cooperation of the people and to prevent the outbreak of terrorism, guerrilla attacks, and other incidents creating broad-based public anxiety.
In this effort to build an affluent society, it is imperative that we promote efforts to make Japan a country where each and every person will want to live and create a residential environment rich in nature, history, and culture. To this end, we intend to draw up the Fourth Comprehensive National Development Plan for balanced national development and the creation of a multipolar and decentralized society in which both metropolitan and other areas give productive expression to their regional characteristics and to elucidate policies for building a better Japan for the twenty-first century.
By the same token, we will also enhance policies to promote the preservation of traditional Japanese arts, the creation of new arts and culture, the encouragement of sports and other activities, and other measures to enable young people and all the people to enjoy physically healthful and spiritually rich lifestyles.
With the peace and free-market economic arrangements that have prevailed since the end of the war, there has been a dramatic increase in communication and exchanges among nations, and a wide range of changes are taking place within every country.
Looking ahead to the twenty-first century, I believe there are two important things that we must be very clear about if we are to build a truly international Japan and make an active contribution to world peace and prosperity.
First, realizing that the global community includes highly diverse ways of life and different cultures, we must have the tolerance to understand and accept these differences and the will to actively promote mutual cooperation.
In line with this basic stance, we Japanese must take an ambitious part in and contribute to the creation of a new world civilization. This means first of all that we must conduct new and penetrating analyses of the traditional structures and cultural heritage passed down through our long history, bring the results of this scientific research together in a systematic whole, able to withstand academic scrutiny, and seek to accurately convey this understanding to the world at large. It is in this light that I am working for the establishment of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies.
One of the points about modern Japan that has particularly attracted the world's attention is our ability to maintain both the ancient cultural traditions and the most modern scientific technologies without sacrificing either to the other.
Foreign visitors to the Kansai region, for example, are frequently amazed to see state-of-the-art electronics research centers and ceramics production facilities close by such historic cultural sites as Horyu-ji and Katsura-rikyu in Nara and Kyoto respectively.
Rather than modern science's suffocating tradition in Japan, the finely honed sensitivities possessed by all Japanese form a strong foundation for the production of integrated circuitry and other telecommunications software development technology. Likewise in the structure of production and the operation of our society, where modern science and technology has been incorporated into the Japanese way of life centering on compassion and consensus to create a peaceful society and highly productive industry blessed with a sense of balance, the ability to harmonize, and the potential for development.
As I have long argued, it is important that science and technology not be seen as the whole of our culture but that we be able to assign science and technology an appropriate place within our culture.
Deftly fusing Japanese traditions and the ancient cultural heritage with modern science and technology to create mutually complementary and integrated forms, we should maintain and develop this distinctively Japanese way of life making the most of the best features of both tradition and modernity as something that we can be proud to pass along to our children and grandchildren.
Narrowly biased chauvinism and nationalism must, of course, be avoided. With the advent of the advanced information age, the distances between peoples are growing smaller and smaller and we are steadily creating a single world.
This is an era in which we must constantly remind ourselves that there can be no development for Japan without development for the world; that just as we are Japanese, so are we also citizens of the global village; and that our ultimate goal is that of participating in the creation of a new world civilization.
The second point is that we must work as an international Japan for world peace and disarmament and for conciliation and cooperation between East and West and between North and South. Especially in today's modern world anguishing under the shadow of nuclear weapons, one of the most overriding and important pragmatic concerns shared by all of mankind is that of ensuring world peace and ultimately abolishing nuclear weapons.
Japan is a nation that can only survive through trade, and peace is an essential prerequisite for trade. Ensuring the peace is thus of decisive importance for Japan for both humanitarian and economic reasons.
In the long run, I believe respect for human rights and the free exchange of information within and among countries is the most effective deterrent to war.
Had we had today's live satellite broadcasts and other instant television communications, World War II probably would not have taken place.
I recently visited four countries in Europe, but there was practically no feeling of an "iron curtain" in the hearts of the people. The radio and television broadcasts that are transmitted and received freely across national borders have eliminated this iron curtain from the popular consciousness.
From this perspective, we intend to forcefully promote the strengthening and expansion of international arrangements to guarantee respect for human rights and to ensure the free exchange of information in the cause of peace.
The most important thing for achieving a breakthrough on the pressing international issues is that of continuing dialogue and coordination among nations, and we should work for the earliest possible resolution of the East-West and North-South problems in line with this approach.
I strongly hope that the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union will promptly take up their potential agreements at Reykjavik and that the U.S.-U.S.S.R. summit process will be resumed to reach true agreement. Japan is determined to offer whatever support it can to this end.
As part of the effort to solve the North-South problem, we intend to listen to the concerns of the developing countries in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the GATT Uruguay Round, and other forums and to work to solve this problem through mutual coordination.
Japan is today at the gateway to a new and uncharted advanced information society based upon computer technology, microelectronics, biotechnology, and other frontier technologies.
So far, Japan has achieved its development by striving to catch up with the more-advanced countries of North America and Europe, and Japan today ranks among the most advanced countries in the world. We must now take the wind on our faces, cross the great divide, and open up new horizons for the future.
At the same time, we are rapidly entering an era of enhanced longevity unprecedented in Japanese or indeed world history, and this challenge is also being met as we reform and redesign our social arrangements away from the assumption of man's twoscore and ten years to fit our new life span of fourscore years.
Coming hard upon the twenty-first century, we are also moving ahead with difficult and painstaking reforms so that Japan can hold a place of honor in the international community and so that we can establish durably affluent and stable lifestyles and social arrangements and pass them on to our children with as little accompanying national burden as possible and with equality among generations. The radical reform of the JNR, the stringent and austere budgets, the reform of the medical care and pension systems, and the radical reform of the tax system-all of these are ultimately part of this effort for reform.
As Dr. Edwin Reischauer, the famous American Japanologist who also served as United States Ambassador to Japan, wrote in the preface to the Japanese-language translation of his Japan: The History of the Nation, the Japanese people are today at an important juncture in deciding Japan's future. This is a time of decision that will determine their destiny for the next several decades. It is imperative that they have as clear a grasp as possible on their past achievements and present potential if that decision is to be a wise one.
There is not much time left until the twenty-first century, but we still have mountains of problems to overcome. Indeed, they stretch out ahead of us like a mountain range that we must cross.
Yet as I have said on other occasions from this same podium, it is precisely in such crucial times of difficulty and danger as these that the Japanese people have succeeded in keeping their perspective, joining together in determined solidarity, and weathering their trials.
Let us therefore join hands and relentlessly chip away at these mountains of problems to progress to that we can bequeath a fuller and better Japan to our children and grandchildren as they grow like young bamboo, innocent and pure of heart, unknowing of the difficult times that we experienced in World War II and the postwar era, and comfortably at home with computer technology in the twenty-first century.
It is in this that I again ask for the further understanding and cooperation of the people.
(3) Foreign Policy Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Tadashi Kuranari, to the 108th Session of the National Diet
(January 26, 1987)
At the resumption of this 108th Session of the National Diet, I would like to state some of my basic views on Japan's foreign policy.
I find it impossible to be optimistic about the international situation as it pertains to Japan.
On the political front, a summit meeting was held between the United States and the Soviet Union in Reykjavik last October within a climate of continuing harshness in East-West relations. Although in-depth discussions were held on arms control and disarmament and other issues and a sign of progress was seen at this meeting, the meeting failed to yield any specific agreement.
Elsewhere, there are continuing conflicts and disarray in Indochina, the Middle East, Africa, Central America, and other regions, and the international situation is further destabilized by frequent outbreaks of international terrorism.
Looking at the international economy, while there are some bright spots, including the start of the GATT Uruguay Round last September, the sharp decline in inflation rates, lower interest rates, and the progress made in international policy coordination, there are still many problems remaining, not least among them the increasing protectionist pressures fueled by current account imbalances and high rates of unemployment and the continuing issue of accumulated external debts.
For a More-open Japan Contributing to a Better World
Given this difficult international situation, there is increasing international interest in what role Japan should play, possessing the second-largest economy in the free world. If Japan is to avoid becoming isolated within the international community and to continue to prosper, I believe it is important that, while maintaining an attitude of tolerance and humility toward different cultures, we seek to become a more-open Japan and play more active role in contributing to a better world.
It is indispensable in this that Japan should adopt the broader perspective, not pursuing its own short-term narrow national interests but rather sharing the pain with other countries and working together with them to ensure shared long-term prosperity. From this perspective, I would like to propose that Japan see the various problems facing the international community as its own problems and move to respond actively for their solution.
Japanese foreign policy has an important mission in working together with other countries to ensure a bright future in the new century beginning just 14 years from now. From this perspective, I intend to take a one-by-one and honest approach in dealing with the issues facing Japanese foreign policy.
Solidarity and Coordination with the Other Free and Democratic Nations
Solidarity and coordination with the other Western industrialized democracies sharing the basic values of freedom and democracy is indispensable in the effort to maintain peace and prosperity of Japan. It is important that the Western countries including Japan, in close consultation and liaison, exert the maximum force as a whole by undertaking each role and responsibilities commensurate with its capabilities and situation.
Along with doing what it can to promote arms control and disarmament, Japan also intends to support the United States' efforts for more stable East-West relations and to call upon the Soviet Union to approach these issues in a constructive manner.
Friendly and cooperative relations with the United States based upon the Japan-United States security arrangements are the cornerstone of Japan's foreign policy.
Along with seeking to enhance its own defense capability, Japan intends to continue working for the still-smoother operation of these Japan-United States security arrangements. Japan and the United States are currently engaged in a wide range of efforts to rectify their trade imbalance, but the protectionist mood is growing stronger in the United States, especially in Congress. In my recent meeting with Secretary of State Shultz in Brussels, realizing that the situation continues difficult as it pertains to Japan-United States economic relations, we reaffirmed our determination to work for the continued solid development of the bilateral economic relationship and to make further efforts to maintain the smooth relationship.
The relationship between Japan and the United States has now developed into a cooperative relationship with a global perspective, and Japan intends to contribute to peace and stability around the globe through maintaining and strengthening cooperation with the United States.
In relations with Canada, we intend to work to further promote the new relationship of cooperation established with the exchange of visits at the highest level last year.
Promoting close solidarity and coordination with the countries of Western Europe is one of the main pillars of Japanese foreign policy. While it is increasingly important to strengthen the wide-ranging relations between Japan and Western Europe now that Western Europe has come to hold a more important political and economic position in the international community as a result of its own integration and regional cooperation, the West European attitude toward Japan is extremely strained over the trade issue. Having visited Europe last month to attend the Japan-EC Commission Ministerial-level Meeting as well as to visit Belgium, Italy, Vatican and France and to meet with British Foreign Secretary Howe and other high-ranking officials in Brussels, I intend to continue to work through intense dialogue between Japan and Western Europe to resolve the economic friction and to further strengthen our relations.
The quest for arms control and disarmament demands that patient and untiring efforts be made to gradually reduce the level of armaments, step by step, while maintaining deterrence through the balance of force. The experiment that Japan has been engaged in since last December to exchange seismic waveform data so as to enhance nuclear testing verification capabilities is part of this effort. Japan intends to continue to contribute to the activation of realistic disarmament deliberation.
Relations with the Other Asia-Pacific Countries
As an Asia-Pacific nation, Japan intends, while seeking to further strengthen its relations of friendship and cooperation with the other countries of the region, to play an active role for the region's development.
In line with Japan's basic position of learning from history and its lessons and respecting the initiatives of the other Asia-Pacific countries, our goals are to contribute to regional stability as a nation of peace, to establish mutual understanding and mutual trust by advancing exchanges and dialogue in a wide range of fields, and to promote the kind of cooperation that each country truly needs.
Relations with the Republic of Korea are becoming still closer, and there is agreement in both countries on the need to further strengthen the political, economic, cultural, and other bonds between us at all levels. From a viewpoint of achieving reduced tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Japan both hopes for an early resumption of the dialogue between North and South Korea which has been suspended since last January and intends to do everything it can to cooperate for the success of the 1988 Olympics. Toward North Korea, it is Japanese policy to continue to maintain economic, cultural, and other exchanges at the private level.
Preserving and strengthening friendly and cooperative relations with the People's Republic of China is important not only for our two countries but for peace and stability in Asia and the world as a whole. While the Japanese Government is watching the recent political situation in China with deep interest, Vice-Premier Tian Jijun, who has recently visited Japan, explained to us that no change is to be made as to Chinese basic external policies including that toward Japan. In keeping with the Joint Communique of 1972, the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1978, and the four principles governing Japan-China relations, I intend to promote the broad range of exchanges with China and to continue Japan's cooperation to the economic construction which China is undertaking despite various difficulties.
In its relations with the ASEAN countries, a stabilizing force in Southeast Asia, Japan intends to continue to work for steady progress in our relations of friendship and cooperation and to continue to extend all possible cooperation to these countries in light of the economic trials that they face. Especially with regard to the Republic of the Philippines, having received President Aquino as a State Guest last November, Japan will spare no effort in support of the Philippine government's new nation-building efforts.
Peace and stability in Southeast Asia demands a political solution to the Cambodian problem, and Japan will continue to work to create a climate conducive to peace, supporting the ASEAN countries' efforts for peace and conducting dialogue with Vietnam and the other countries concerned.
Japan's relations with the countries of Southwest Asia are growing closer, and we have established diplomatic relations with Bhutan. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is also becoming more active in this region. Japan intends to continue its cooperation for this region's stable development.
I have recently visited Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, I attended the Ninth Japan-Australia Ministerial Committee Meeting and conducted candid exchanges of views on how we can expand anew the cooperative relationship between the two countries in keeping with the changing world economic climate. Taking advantage of this opportunity, I also visited the Pacific island countries of Fiji, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea, countries that have become increasingly important in recent years, and worked to strengthen Japan's relations with these countries. In Fiji, among others, I elucidated specific policies for strengthening Japan's relations with these Pacific island countries and forthrightly demonstrated our positive stance.
Likewise, we welcome the efforts being made mainly by the private sector for progress in Pacific cooperation for harmonious development in the Asia-Pacific region, and the government intends, with all due respect to the will of the ASEAN countries and the Pacific island countries, and others concerned, to continue to cooperate with these efforts.
Relations with the Soviet Union
The Japan-U.S.S.R. Foreign Ministerial Regular Consultation was held last year, for the first time in eight years and twice. As a result, this consultation has been firmly institutionalized. In addition, negotiations were resumed on the peace treaty including territorial issues, and its continuation agreed upon. There was also agreement on the further strengthening of the Japan-U.S.S.R. political dialogue including at the highest levels, and I believe that these are an important first step in promoting Japanese policy toward the Soviet Union.
Welcoming the fact that General Secretary Gorbachev has expressed a desire to visit Japan, we hope that this visit will take place soon.
While the Soviet Union has taken an obstinate position on the territorial issue, the government of Japan, backed by the Resolution on Promoting a Conclusion to the Northern Territories' Issue adopted again unanimously in both Houses of the Diet last October, intends to continue its tenacious efforts for the return of all four islands and island groups in the Northern Territories in line with its unshakable policy of seeking to establish stable relations with the Soviet Union based upon true mutual understanding through resolving the Northern Territories issue and concluding a peace treaty.
Relations with the East and North European Countries
The fact that Prime Minister Nakasone recently became the first Japanese Prime Minister to pay official visits to Finland, German Democratic Republic, Yugoslavia, and Poland for candid exchanges of views with the leaders of these countries was most significant both in providing new momentum to Japan's relations with these countries and in contributing to the promotion of East-West political dialogue and mutual understanding.
Relations with the Middle Eastern Countries
Conflict continues in the Middle East along national and ethnic lines, and the situation there remains in flux. On the issue of peace in the Middle East, and especially the pivotal Palestinian issue, Japan very much hopes that new progress will be seen in the moves for peace that have been stalled since last year and intends to continue to call upon the parties concerned to make further efforts for the early realization of peace in the Middle East.
In consultation with the United Nations and the countries concerned, Japan intends to continue its untiring efforts to create a climate for peace in the Iran-Iraq conflict.
It is most regrettable that more than seven years have already passed since the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan, and Japan intends to work for a political solution there including a total withdrawal of all Soviet military forces.
Relations with the Latin American Countries
While there have been signs that democracy was advancing and becoming better established in Latin America in recent years, the countries of the region continue to be faced with accumulated external debts and other economic difficulties. Japan has contributed to resolving these countries' debt problems, including active cooperation for Mexico's economic reconstruction, and it intends to continue to do everything possible to support these countries' efforts. President Alfonsin of Argentina and President de la Madrid of Mexico both visited Japan last year, and these visits were very successful in promoting stronger relations between Japan and the countries of Latin America. On the issue of the conflict in Central America, Japan, while strongly supporting the Contadora Group and other forces for peace in the region, intends to cooperate for the economic and social development of Central America and the Caribbean.
Relations with the Countries of Africa
Africa continues to be faced with structural food shortages, ballooning external debts, and other grave economic difficulties. While supporting the bootstrap efforts of the African countries, Japan intends to work for the realization of the "Green Revolution for Africa" that it has proposed, with a view of solving these countries' food and agricultural problems.
The situation in South Africa is increasingly deteriorating, and developments there are of grave concern. Resolutely maintaining its longstanding opposition to apartheid, Japan intends to continue, in cooperation with the rest of the international community, to strengthen its support for the victims of apartheid and to call upon all parties concerned to work for apartheid's abolition and a peaceful resolution of the issued involved.
Contributing to the Sound Development of the World Economy
Japan's current account surplus continues to run at high level. Yet these continuing external imbalances are in no way desirable either for harmonious international economic and social development or for the Japanese economy's own long-term management, and we must continue to make every effort for the steady reduction of this surplus.
Specifically, Japan must, while working for further market opening in line with the Action Program for Improved Market Access and other programs, promote economic structural adjustment. While this process may engender various domestic difficulties, we must accept this as a trial to be passed to ensure Japan's continued prosperity and overcome these difficulties one by one. The expansion of domestic demand and the resultant creation of new employment opportunities are indispensable in promoting the smoothest possible structural adjustment.
On the international trade front, the start of the Uruguay Round with the concerted efforts by Japan and the other countries concerned at last September's GATT Ministerial Meeting marked major progress in stemming protectionism and assuring the future of free trade system. The important thing now is to enter into substantive negotiations as soon as possible, and Japan, while contributing to a prompt conclusion of negotiating structure and plan now under way among the countries concerned, is resolved to do its fair share to ensure that these Uruguay Round negotiations are successful.
Cooperating for Stability and Growth in the Developing Countries
Stability and growth in the developing countries are prerequisite to world peace and prosperity, and Japan regards the cooperation with these countries an important international responsibility, and intends to further promote it with a stress on heart-to-heart contacts.
Realizing this, Japan has set forth its third Medium-Term Target and is working to enhance its official development assistance (ODA). Along with proposing a fiscal 1987 ODA budget that is 5.8% more than in the previous year and in the efforts to ensure effective and efficient implementation of assistance through reforming Japan International Cooperation Agency operations, improving the preparedness of its international disaster relief scheme and seeking to make qualitative improvements in Japanese assistance such as by lowering interest rates on ODA loan, Japan intends to continue to work to be able to respond flexibly to meet the developing countries' diverse requirements.
Believing that accumulated external debt problem is one of the most important problems facing the developing countries, I intend to continue to cooperate actively for this issue's resolution. In addition, it is also important to facilitate the developing countries, nation-building efforts through cooperating in trade, investment, finance, technology transfer, and other fields. Looking ahead to the convening of the seventh United Nations Conference on Trade and Development this July, Japan also intends to cooperate positively for the promotion of constructive North-South dialogue.
Likewise, Japan intends to continue to do its best, in financial and foodstuff assistance and in accepting Indochinese refugees, to alleviate the world's continuingly serious conditions of refugees questions.
Cooperation with the Work of the United Nations
Japan intends to fulfill its important international responsibilities for world peace and stability as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the next two years.
There is an urgent need to vitalize United Nations functions in order to make the United Nations a truly effective forum for international cooperation, and Japan thus has the highest regard for the resolution endorsing administrative and fiscal reform that was passed by the United Nations General Assembly last December. As one of the original sponsors of this Resolution to establish the Group of High-level Intergovernmental Experts to make the United Nations function more efficiently, Japan intends to continue to spare no effort in cooperating with these reforms.
Stemming International Terrorism
There have been frequent outbreaks of violent international terrorism in recent years, and such terrorism is both a challenge to the international society and an issue that Japan cannot overlook in light of the security of Japanese living overseas. In line with its resolute opposition to international terrorism in any form as clearly stated at the Tokyo Summit, Japan intends to further strengthen and promote international cooperation to prevent terrorism.
Promoting Mutual Understanding with Other Countries
Because the friction between Japan and other countries stems partly from deficiencies or inaccuracies in the mutual understanding between Japanese and other peoples, it is very important to enhance accurate awareness of each other's national situations and policies and true understanding of different cultures, and the government of Japan therefore intends, with the understanding and cooperation of local governments and the private sector, to strengthen and expand its research on international issues, to enhance a wide range of public information activities, and to work for exchanges across a broad spectrum of fields such as youth and student exchanges as well as programs in culture, education, sports, and other areas.
As I have stated, there are many important-yet-difficult issues facing Japanese foreign policy. If we are to deal with these issues forcefully and effectively, there is, I believe, an urgent need to strengthen the foreign policy executing structure, meaning especially the establishment of sophisticated information-processing and communication systems, so as to be able to quickly and accurately discern international developments as they affect Japan and to formulate anticipatory responses to the situation as it develops. Along with this, Japan intends to pay even greater heed than before to protecting the steadily increasing number of Japanese traveling and living overseas, with special attention to their protection in times of emergency, and to providing improved educational opportunities for Japanese children overseas.
As we move forward toward the twenty-first century, I am determined anew to do what I can to enable Japan to continue to enjoy the benefits of peace and prosperity and to contribute positively to making the world better, and I pledge that this task will have my resolute and unflagging efforts.
Yet no foreign policy can succeed without the understanding of the people. I would therefore like to close by appealing both to my fellow Diet members and to the public at large for your continued support.
to table of contents