Section 3. Tasks for Japanese Foreign Policy


The more interdependent the world gets, the smaller it seems. With the international community at a turning point, new tasks are springing up every day to demand positive action by Japan. As a major pillar in support of the international order, Japan is being called upon to assume responsibility for and to play an active role in maintaining and furthering world peace and prosperity. It is only by contributing to a better world that Japan can secure its own peace and prosperity.


1. Japan's Basic Diplomatic Stance


Japan's foreign policy is predicated on its status as a major industrialized democracy and as an Asia-Pacific nation.


(1) As a Major Industrialized Democracy

Few would deny that it was the hard work and perseverance of the Japanese people that enabled Japan to recover from the horrific devastation of war and become one of the most powerful economies on earth in only a few decades. But this is not the only reason for Japan's present prosperity. Much of the credit must be given to the fact that Japan has consistently aligned its foreign policy with the other industrialized democracies valuing freedom, equality, and individual initiative, has worked for economic development through the maintenance and strengthening of the free-trade system, and has benefited from generous assistance from other countries. Japan must continue to follow policies firmly grounded in its position as an industrialized democracy and work hard to maintain and strengthen the solidarity and unity among the industrialized democracies. Cooperation and coordination with the other industrialized democracies is essential if Japan is to enact specific measures that contribute to world peace and prosperity.

The critical importance of the Japan-U. S. relationship for Japan goes without saying. This relationship is the cornerstone of Japanese foreign policy. In the security area, it is common knowledge that the security arrangements between Japan and the United States have been instrumental in maintaining and promoting Japan's peace and prosperity throughout the postwar decades. On the economic front as well, the United States is Japan's most important economic partner and the economic relationship with the United States has contributed greatly to Japan's economic development. Developments in the Japan-U.S. relationship now have a major impact on the whole world, and both Japan and the U.S. must transcend bilateralism and take a world view in cooperating to solve the problems they face, regardless of whether those problems are bilateral or global.

The West European nations begin to exhibit renewed vitality as they move forward with market unification and political cooperation, and they are now assuming a greater international role and increased responsibilities. A strong and balanced trilateral cooperation among Japan, the U.S. and Europe is becoming more and more essential if Japan is to contribute to world peace and prosperity commensurate with its capabilities. Therefore constructing closer relations with Europe is an important issue for the future.


(2) As an Asia-Pacific Nation

Developments in the Asia-Pacific region have a direct impact on Japan, and ensuring the region's further development and stability is critical to peace and prosperity for the entire region, including Japan.

Aided by a worldwide economic boom, Japanese efforts to expand domestic demand, and other factors, the Asian NIEs and the other countries of the Asia-Pacific region continue to enjoy dynamic growth, and intra-regional trade is accounting for an increasing percentage of the world total. Politically, greater democratization is evident in some of the developing countries, and these countries are becoming more mature.

Japan is very closely linked to the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, not only geographically but economically, culturally, and historically as well. At the same time, however, there are numerous differences. Respecting the independence and autonomy of various members of the Asia-Pacific region, Japan must cooperate with them aiming together at both peace and development in the region. It is imperative that Japan be evermindful of the unfortunate history that transpired between Japan and the other members of the Asia-Pacific region, and it is also essential that Japan remember that developments, particularly economic developments, of Japan have a major impact on the entire region.

As a stabilizing factor in the Asia-Pacific, Japan should do its best to contribute to the further development and greater stability of the region. It is necessary to respect the wishes of other countries in promoting Asia-Pacific cooperation.


2. Tasks for Japanese Foreign Policy


Japanese foreign policy is built upon the two fundamental imperatives of ensuring our security and maintaining our prosperity. In this time of heightened international interdependence, world peace and prosperity is indivisible from Japan's own peace and prosperity. With the enhancement of Japan's position in the international community, the range of international issues that Japan must deal with become broader and more diverse. Now is the time for Japan to act in the international community in full awareness that we can no longer accept the international climate as an external given and that Japan is an important determinant influencing international developments. In cooperating for world peace and prosperity, Japan must not only enhance its cooperation within the existing framework but also offer creative initiatives and wholehearted participation in international efforts to make a better world.

Realizing this, Japan announced its International Cooperation Initiative in May 1988 as a specific policy program to enable Japan to contribute to a better world. It is essential that this International Cooperation Initiative be vigorously fleshed out, enhanced, and developed.


(1) Ensuring Japan's Security

National security is an indispensable prerequisite for any nation that wants to maintain its independence and prosperity and protect the lives and property of its people, and it is thus a fundamental foreign policy task.

World peace and stability today basically rest upon the balance of power and deterrence, and Japan is pursuing the following three policy pillars to ensure its own security. First is to make the positive foreign policy efforts to ensure that the international climate surrounding Japan is one of peace and stability. Second is to ensure the smooth and effective functioning of the security arrangements between Japan and the United States. And third is to ensure that Japan has the sophisticated defense capability compatible with its minimum self-defense requirements.


(2) Contributing to the Sound Development of World Economy

Japan has worked hard to make its economy more internationally harmonious by restructuring away from the traditional export-dependent pattern to a domestic-demand-oriented pattern. The management of economy on the domestic-demand-oriented basis, the improvement of market access, and the expansion of imports have been continued and, combined with recent exchange rate adjustments, resulted in a sharp increase in Japanese imports. There has been a major increase in the import of manufactured goods from the Asian NIEs, the ASEAN countries, and other areas, and Japan's role has become greater for the economic development of this region. Recently there have also been reverse imports of manufactures produced overseas by Japanese corporations, and it is hoped that this will help to alleviate the trade friction. It is necessary that Japan continue its efforts maintaining this basic course of action.

Efforts have also been made continuously on specific trade issues, and 1988 saw settlements of the issue of foreign participation in Japanese public works projects, liberalization of citrus and beef imports, and other issues.

Maintaining and strengthening the free and multilateral trade system is extremely important for the world in general and for Japan in particular. Japan has been making an effort to maintain and strengthen the free and multilateral trade system centering on the GATT regime. Japan must also make a positive contribution in the Uruguay Round of negotiations aiming to build a new framework for trade geared toward the 21st century to enable them to reach a successful conclusion by the end of 1990.

Japan has long been making vigorous efforts to resolve the debt problem. At the Arch Summit in July 1989, Japan announced that its fund recycling scheme to revitalize the flow of capital to the developing countries would be expanded from the present $30 billion over three years starting in 1987 to $65 billion over five years starting in 1987.

Japan must also deal vigorously with the many problems associated with science and technology.


3. The International Cooperation Initiative


Ensuring Japan's own peace and prosperity carries with it an urgent need for Japan to contribute to a better world. It was in awareness of this and based upon efforts to ensure security and to contribute to the sound development of the world economy that Japan, looking for specific ways in which it could contribute to the international community, has proposed and is promoting its International Cooperation Initiative with the three pillars of contribution - cooperating for peace, enhancing ODA, and promoting international cultural exchange. Expanding this Initiative, Japan is also attempting to deal with environmental and other global issues. It is most important policy now that Japan further enhance its international contribution in these areas and respond to the needs of the international community.


(1) Cooperating for Peace

With the recent spectacular growth in Japan's national capabilities, the international community has come to expect more from Japan, not only in the economic and economic cooperation areas but also in such political areas as the maintenance of peace. World peace and prosperity are indispensable to Japanese peace and prosperity, and there is a need for Japan to participate vigorously in the building and maintenance of world peace and stability.

Now Japan intends to contribute actively in this area by making diplomatic efforts to build a solid foundation for peace, strengthening its international cooperation against terrorism, enhancing and diversifying its capital and other cooperation for peacekeeping activities, providing personnel for peacekeeping activities under the United Nations and other international auspices, strengthening its refugee relief, providing post war reconstruction assistance, and other measures.

The contribution in the disarmament field is one way in which diplomatic efforts can contribute to laying the foundations for peace. The United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues proposed by Prime Minister Takeshita in a speech to the June 1988 Third Special Session of General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament was held in Kyoto in April 1989, with the keynote address given by Foreign Minister Uno. Japan attended the Paris Conference on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and is actively participating in the discussions at the Geneva Disarmament Conference.

At the same time, Japan must actively respond in the area of providing personnel in support of peacekeeping activities. In addition to having seconded Foreign Ministry officers to the 1988 United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group, Japan plans to support the United Nations Transition Assistance Group that started work in April 1989 by providing about 30 people to serve as election supervisors for the constituent assembly elections to be held in Namibia early this November.


(2) Enhancing Official Development Assistance (ODA)

The many developing countries striving to advance economically are also important members of the international community. Japan provides assistance based on the basic principles of interdependence and humanitarian concern. As the scale of Japanese ODA has grown in recent years, Japan has helped strengthen the peace and stability in the developing countries through promoting their economic development and social infrastructure building. This needs to be considered as an important aspect in Japanese ODA.

Japan has long sought to contribute through both bilateral and multilateral cooperation, as specifically manifested by the series of medium-term targets that have been set to systematically enhance ODA since 1978. Japan is now in the process of carrying out the Fourth Medium-Term Target announced at the occasion of the Toronto Summit in June 1988, and it is expected that meeting this target will make Japan the largest donor-country in the world.

The international community has high expectations of Japan as a major donor, but this role also entails major responsibilities, and these responsibilities in turn entail numerous difficult questions of implementation. The world has begun to watch closely to see how Japan is going to use this huge ODA budget and what it wants to accomplish. And as the Japanese ODA budget expands, the Japanese people are becoming more interested in having these moneys used efficiently and effectively. The need to respond adequately to these heightened expectations and concerns and to deal wisely with these issues will place a major burden on Japan, but this is also an important opportunity to prove Japan's determination to contribute to a better world. This issue is worth every effort and all of our insights to bear, and the challenge must be met head-on with all of the energies and means at our command.


(3) Strengthening International Cultural Exchanges

International cultural exchanges transcend different political, economic, and value systems to lay the foundation for promoting mutual understanding. Mutual exchange among diverse cultures cultivates an open-minded tolerance toward foreign cultures, leads to a more open international community, and contributes to constructing world peace through increased mutual understanding and trust. At the same time, broad-based international cultural exchanges allow for the cross-stimulation of diverse cultures of the world, lead to the creation of new and richer cultures, raise the overall level of world culture, invigorate the entire international community, and contribute to global prosperity. Likewise, the promotion of international cultural exchanges will increase the opportunities for Japanese to come into contact with different cultures, enhance awareness of the international situation, and help to internationalize Japanese society. Cooperating in the preservation of cultural sites and artifacts - mankind's common heritage - from around the world will greatly contribute to the development of the world's cultures.

With Japan's heightened world status and greater international influence, there has been a rapid increase in interest in Japan. At the same time, misunderstandings have arisen due to cultural and social differences, often leading to friction. It is thus important for Japan to do more to be better known and correctly understood worldwide, and to participate in the efforts to build a more open international community.

Realizing this, the government increased its contribution to the Japan Foundation by \5 billion in March 1989. The "Japan: The Shaping of Daimyo Culture" exhibit was held in the United States from October 1988 to January 1989, and there are plans to hold Europalia '89 Japan in Belgium starting in September 1989.

In May 1989, the Advisory Group on International Cultural Exchange (a non-governmental body reporting directly to Prime Minister Takeshita) chaired by Gaishi Hiraiwa released its final report declaring the strengthening of cultural exchange a national imperative and putting forth a number of specific proposals, including strengthened funding for the Japan Foundation. It is essential that Japan continue to strengthen international cultural exchange in line with these proposals.


(4) Responding to Environmental and Other Global Issues

Over the last year, there has been a heightened awareness of global environmental problems such as the global warming, the destruction of the ozone layer, and the depletion of tropical forests. These problems are not amenable to solution by any single nation or a single region, and their impact affects worldwide. Therefore, international cooperation, including the vigorous use of international institutions, is essential to solving these problems.

In dealing with these problems, it is quite important to take a calm and scientific approach while giving all due consideration to the circumstances in the developing countries as they strive for economic progress. Japan obviously must do its best to help solve these problems, and already has plans to sponsor the Tokyo Conference on the Global Environment and Human Response Toward Sustainable Development in September 1989.

There is also a need to help deal with other problems that are equally difficult for any single nation to deal with on its own, such as overpopulation, food shortages, illiteracy, energy development, and natural disasters.




Coordination and cooperation within the international community is mandatory if its members are to continue to develop and prosper furthermore. As a member of the global community of nations and a mainstay of the international order, Japan must avoid the pitfalls of self-righteousness and self-interest and fulfill its international responsibilities as a responsible nation. Specifically, the most pressing goal for Japan today is that of contributing to a better world while becoming more open to the rest of the world.


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