Chapter III. Situation in Each Region and Japan's Relations with Respective Regions


Section 1. Japan's Major Diplomatic Activities


Japan's diplomacy is based on two basic standpoints, one as a major industrialized democracy and the other as a nation of the Asia-Pacific region. These two standpoints were consistently upheld by the Takeshita Cabinet (from November 1987 to June 1989: Prime Minister Takeshita, Foreign Minister Uno) and the Uno Cabinet which was inaugurated on June 3, 1989, (Prime Minister Uno, Foreign Minister Mitsuzuka) with a view to maintaining the consistency and continuity of diplomacy and contributing to the maintenance and furtherance of peace and prosperity of Japan.

Having grown to be one of the major responsible members of the international community, Japan has exerted efforts in the field of diplomacy to realize a "Japan Contributing to a Better World" over the past year. Particularly, the "International Cooperation Initiative" is put positively into practice. (For details, refer to Chapter I Section 3, Item 3 International Cooperation Initiative.)


1. Diplomacy as a Major Industrialized Democracy


The so-called Summit Meeting where the leaders of the principal countries of the West meet once a year to exchange frank views on major political and economic problems of the world is vital to Japan's diplomatic activities. Japan actively takes part in discussions on diverse subjects at the Summit Meetings in an effort to achieve fruitful results, and as the only country participating in the Summit Meetings from Asia, endeavors to have the American and European leaders deepen their understanding of Asia.

The first of the third round of Summit Meetings was held from July 14 to 16, 1989, in France, which was in a festive mood celebrating the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. Prime Minister Uno, Foreign Minister Mitsuzuka, Finance Minister Murayama, and Minister of International Trade and Industry Kajiyama took part in this meeting called the Arch Summit, where discussions were made with regard to international developments arising since the Toronto Summit held the previous year. In the economic area, views were exchanged on ensuring sustained economic growth without inflation, maintaining and reinforcing the multilateral free trade system, and the accumulated debt problem. Because of mounting international concern, the global environmental problem became an important subject of discussions. An economic declaration on these problems was issued. In the area of politics, four declarations on human rights, East-West relations, China and terrorism were issued. It was particularly significant that the leaders of the industrialized democracies unanimously agreed on the importance of the value of freedom and democracy.

Prime Minister Uno and Foreign Minister Mitsuzuka took the opportunity to talk with the leaders and ministers of the summit member countries and those of many developing countries who attended the bicentenary celebrations of the French Revolution, and exchanged valuable views on the international situation and bilateral problems.

Close Japan-U.S. relations are an important factor which has secured the peace and prosperity of Japan for more than 40 years after World War II. In fact, Japan-U.S. relations are the most important of all bilateral relations for Japan. With this recognition, efforts were made to promote and strengthen satisfactory relations between the two countries through a series of talks between their chief executives and Foreign Ministers in the past year.

At the top level, Prime Minister Takeshita visited the United States in February 1989, and talked with President Bush who had just taken over from President Reagan. On the occasion of the Funeral Ceremony of Emperor Showa, the second meeting between the leaders of Japan and the United States was held. Through these talks, the importance that the new U.S. Administration attaches to Japan and the importance of Japan-U.S. cooperation on a global scale was confirmed. The Arch Summit of July 1989, provided another occasion for talks between Prime Minister Uno and President Bush.

Japan-U.S. talks at the Foreign Minister level were also conducted. Foreign Minister Uno visited the United States in November 1988, and Foreign Minister Mitsuzuka visited the United States in June 1989, both meeting with Secretary of State Baker. At these talks, the two sides confirmed the importance of Japan-U.S. relations and agreed that close consultations should be held in dealing with the problems between the two countries.

Great efforts were exerted to resolve pending problems between Japan and the United States. In 1989, the FS-X problem and the problem of U.S. access to the telecommunications equipment market were resolved in succession.

The West European countries share the same sense of values as Japan and the United States. Strengthening relations between Japan and Europe being one of its important diplomatic objectives, Japan has been striving to make the relations closer.

In January 1989, Foreign Minister Uno who visited Paris to attend the Internationl Conference on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons paid a visit to France, Italy, the Vatican and the United Kingdom, and exchanged valuable views with leaders there. In April 1989, Prime Minister De Mita of Italy visited Japan and talked with Prime Minister Takeshita on not only Japan-Italian relations but also major international problems. Foreign Minister Uno visited France in June to attend the IEA and OECD ministerial council meetings. Prime Minister Uno and Foreign Minister Mitsuzuka visited France in July to take part in the Arch Summit, and Foreign Minister Mitsuzuka visited France again in July to attend the International Conference on Cambodia.


2. Diplomacy as a Nation of the Asia-Pacific Region


Japan's diplomacy was carried on in the past year with the basic stand that Japan is a member of the Asia-Pacific region, which has shown new vitality with amazing economic growth.

In an atmosphere of extremely good relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea, Prime Minister Takeshita visited that country in September 1988, to attend the opening ceremony of the Seoul Olympics. In view of a special statement by ROK President Roh Tae Woo made in July 1988, manifesting a more flexible approach to North Korea, the Japanese Government called for official government-to-government talks with North Korea for the first time, and just before the opening of the Seoul Olympics, lifted the sanctions imposed on North Korea as a result of the Korean Airline incident of November 1987, in a serious effort to improve relations between Japan and North Korea.

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty, Prime Minister Takeshita visited China in August 1988, to exchange views with the Chinese leaders, thus strengthening the basis for further development of relations between the two countries. Prime Minister Takeshita witnessed the signing of the Japan-China Investment Protection Agreement, and stated that Japan would cooperate in the preservation of the Dun Huang remains. Prime Minister Li Peng of China visited Japan in April 1989.

With the death of former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Hu Yaobang, demonstrations by students and citizens intensified, and the Chinese Government suppressed them by force of arms on June 4. In this situation of internal disorder, the Japanese Government recommended that Japanese citizens in Beijing leave the city, and evacuated nearly 5,000 Japanese safely. The problem was taken up at the Arch Summit in July 1989, which issued a declaration concerning China. While criticizing the oppression by the Chinese Government, the declaration carried a message hoping that China would resume its reforms and open-door policy, thereby avoiding isolation and creating conditions for the restoration of cooperative relations. Japan strived to make the declaration a fair and balanced one.

In May 1989, Foreign Minister Uno visited Mongolia as the first Japanese minister to visit that country, and was warmly received. Thus, a new start was made in relations between Japan and Mongolia.

Japan attaches importance to relations with the ASEAN countries. In April to May 1989, Prime Minister Takeshita made a visit to the five ASEAN countries except Brunei, and talked with the leaders of these countries to deepen mutual understanding. In his policy speeches delivered during his visit, Prime Minister Takeshita emphasized the "continuity and consistency" of Japan's basic diplomatic policy toward the ASEAN countries. In July 1989, Foreign Minister Mitsuzuka attended the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference, in which he served to reinforce friendly and cooperative relations in the Asia-Pacific region, advocated a political package solution to the Cambodian problem, and proposed that the International Committee on the Reconstruction of Cambodia be set up, thereby demonstrating the positive cooperative attitude of Japan toward the problem. In July, Foreign Minister Mitsuzuka attended a ministerial meeting of the International Conference on Cambodia in Paris.

President Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan was killed in an airplane accident in August 1988. Foreign Minister Uno, then visiting Mexico, changed his schedule and visited Pakistan to attend the funeral ceremony and offer his condolences.

At the 10th Japan-Australian Ministerial Committee Meeting held in January 1989, an agreement was reached on building a "constructive partnership" between Japan and Australia. In July 1989, Japan had a dialogue with the South Pacific Forum (SPF) in an effort to strengthen relations with that region.


3. Diplomatic Developments in Other Regions


(1) Japan-USSR Relations

Foreign Minister Shevardnadze visited Japan in December 1988, and talked with Foreign Minister Uno in the Japanese-Soviet regular Foreign Ministerial Consultations and peace treaty negotiations for the first time in 2 years and 7 months. Discussions on the Northern Territories issue with reference to historical facts were held, but the Soviet Union persisted in repeating its assertions as before. At the talks, the two countries confirmed the course of increasing political dialogue between Japan and the Soviet Union and agreed on forming a working group for a peace treaty. The Japanese and Soviet Foreign Ministers also talked together on the occasion of the International Conference on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons held in January 1989, where the Japanese Foreign Minister expressed Japan's basic idea to the Soviet Union. In March, Japan-Soviet secretarial level talks and the peace treaty working group's meeting were held in Tokyo, followed by another meeting of the peace treaty working group in Moscow in April. In May 1989, Foreign Minister Uno visited the Soviet Union to attend the Japan-Soviet regular Foreign Ministerial Consultations and hold talks on a peace treaty. It was significant that, through the discussions, both Japan and the Soviet Union confirmed the course of striving to improve relations between the two countries. It was also agreed that a specific date for a visit to Japan by General Secretary Gorbachev should be studied in early 1990.


(2) Relations with Eastern Europe

Various developments were observed in the relations between Japan and the countries of Eastern Europe. In August 1988, Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Hamada made a visit to Hungary, Albania and Bulgaria. It was the first visit of a high-level Japanese official to Albania. With growing exchange of VIP visits between East European countries, and the U.S. and other countries of the West which have a strong interest in the changes that are taking place in Eastern Europe, the Arch Summit concentrated on the subject of Eastern Europe and announced a declaration on East-West relations. The declaration welcomed the developments tending toward reforms in Poland and Hungary, in particular, and expressed the willingness of the West to positively cooperate in their reforms. Japan intends to make appropriate contributions to that end.


(3) Relations with Central and South America

Japan's relations with Central and South America continued favorably this year. Reflecting rising interest in Japan, many VIPs visited Japan from that region. In August 1988, Foreign Minister Uno visited Mexico to attend the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Japan-Mexico Amity and Commerce Treaty, and exchanged views on the problem of Mexico's accumulated debt.


(4) Relations with the Middle East and Africa 

Japan's relations with the Middle East and Africa also continued to be satisfactory. African countries place high expectations on Japan for the $600 million of grant assistance for economic structual adjustment support that this country promised to provide at the Arch Summit Meeting.


to table of contents