Section 2. Coping with Problems Common to Mankind
1. Global Environment
1-1. Basic Recognition
The global environment issues must be tackled urgently on a global scale as they concern the foundation of human existence. They also encompass a wide spectrum of issues such as poverty, economic development and population problems, and thus are one of the major challenges facing the international community today.
In general, the industrialized countries take the basic stance that environmental considerations must be further taken into account in development policies. In contrast, the developing countries emphasize their "right to development" arguing that a priority should be given to solving poverty. The developing countries also hold the industrialized countries responsible for promoting financial cooperation and technology transfer in advancing environmental conservation.
Confrontations have existed not only between the industrialized and developing countries, but also among the industrialized countries, as demonstrated in issues of global warming between the United States and other countries. There are also differences of opinion, with respect to high-sea fishing, between countries which depend on coastal fishery and those on long-distance fishing. Furthermore, the question of aid to Eastern Europe has emerged in addition to the economic assistance traditionally provided to the developing countries. As these examples demonstrate, interests of these countries are intricately intertwined.
Against this background, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) was held in June 1992 on the theme of "sustainable development." Significantly, consensus was formed through the preparatory discussions that the environment and development are not mutually contradictory and thus should be made compatible.
It is important for Japan to play a leading role in international cooperation on the environment and development, by developing a comprehensive foreign policy centering on the building of a frame-work to address global environmental issues and assistance to developing countries on environmental problems, and by taking the initiative on specific matters as mentioned below.
1-2. International Trends
(1) United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)
(a) Overall Assessment
In June 1992, 20 years after the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment of 1972, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) was held in Rio de Janeiro with the participation of 182 countries, the largest number in the history of the United Nations. With the agreement on an international framework covering a wide range of areas dealing with the environment and development, UNCED was both significant and successful. Yet the true value of UNCED will be determined by the way the agreements reached in Rio will be implemented.
(b) Major Issues and Achievements of UNCED
The major achievements of UNCED were as follows: the adoption of the "Rio Declaration on Environment and Development" comprising 27 points laying down fundamental principles on environment and development; "Agenda 21," an action program covering a wide-range of areas including the atmosphere, ocean, financial resources and institutions with an eye toward the 21st century; and "the Statement of Principles on Forest" stipulating principles concerning the conservation and sustainable management of forests. In addition, two conventions, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity, which had been adopted immediately prior to UNCED, were open for signature, and were signed by more than 150 countries including Japan.
(i) Financial Cooperation and Technology Transfer
At UNCED, financial resources and mechanisms for the implementation of "Agenda 21" became the major issues. The developing countries demanded the establishment of an independent fund to implement the programs in "Agenda 21." Yet, as a result of the discussions, it was decided to make maximum use of existing aid mechanisms, including restructuring governance of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and achieving the Official Development Assistance (ODA) target of 0.7 percent of GNP. In April 1992, the Eminent Persons' Meeting on Financing Global Environment and Development was held in Tokyo, and greatly contributed to reaching the consensus on financial issues at UNCED.
For developing countries to conserve the environment, technology transfer from the industrialized countries is needed. To this end, an establishment of international information network, proper conditions for technology transfer, and capacity-building of developing countries were recommended. Developing countries urged technology transfers on non-commercial terms, but industrialized countries emphasized the importance of protecting intellectual property rights. As a result of intensive debate, the reference was made to the significance of intellectual property rights.
(ii) Organizational Problems
Agenda 21 recommended to set up within the United Nations a high-level advisory board on the environment and development to follow up on UNCED form a Committee on Sustainable Development under the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and hold a special session of U.N. General Assembly on the environment and development by 1997.
(iii) U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change
As a result of increasing energy consumption, the concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that raise the atmospheric temperature, are on the increase. If no measure is taken, the global mean temperature would rise by 3 centigrade degrees by the end of the 21st century. It is also forecast that the global mean sea level will rise by about 65 centimeters on average, or, at the highest, a meter. This may have serious impacts on mankind.
Against this background, negotiations on the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change started in February 1991, which culminated with the adoption on May 9, 1992. The objective of this Convention is to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This convention establishes an international framework of measures to be taken by the Parties to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, and a mechanism to provide financial support for the developing countries. During the negotiations, the United States and other industrialized countries were in disagreement over an establishment of a target to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Also, the developing countries argued that the developed countries are responsible for the increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
One of Japan's contributions to the conclusion of the Convention was to propose a mechanism under which the Parties pledge a target to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. These pledges are to be reviewed specifically in order to ensure its achievement. This proposal was put forth, based on the view that the global participation is indispensable for the convention because the achievement of effective emission control is almost impossible without the global participation.
Japan signed this Convention during the UNCED, considering that it serves a significant and valuable role in tackling the problem of climate change on a global scale. In the Economic Declaration of the Munich Summit, the G-7 requested other countries to seek to conclude this Convention by the end of 1993. Japan, on its part, needs to conclude the Convention at an early stage.
(iv) Convention on Biological Diversity
As a result of habitat destruction and indiscriminate hunting, many wildlife species are on the verge of extinction. If the present pace continues, it is projected that approximately 500,000 to a million species will become extinct by the year 2000. Disappearing wildlife species are a loss of important genetic resources for mankind and adversely affect the stability of the ecosystem.
In order to establish a global framework to promote sustainable use and conserve biological diversity, the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted at the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi in May 1992. This Convention has provisions on such matters as wildlife conservation measures including the creation of protected areas. It also set up a system of technology transfer and financial resources to help the developing countries in their efforts toward wildlife conservation.
This Convention lays down comprehensive measures on conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. Since its contents conform with Japan's basic policy on global environmental issues, Japan signed it during UNCED. As the Convention is extensive in scope and affects a large number of domestic laws and regulations, it is necessary to fully conduct review and make adjustments to implement it faithfully. Therefore, the Government of Japan is proceeding with the necessary coordination to conclude it, with due regard to the developments in other countries.
There was serious disagreement between the developing countries, and the industrialized countries; the developing countries regard forests as important for their economic development and rejected any constraint on their use, while the industrialized countries stressed the important role that forests play in global environmental preservation such as carbon absorption. Yet, a "Statement of Principles" was finally adopted; it calls for the need to conserve and sustainably develop forests, while recognizing national sovereignty on forests. The statement is not legally binding but represents a first global consensus statement on all types of forests.
African countries strongly demanded the establishment of a convention, and consensus was reached to "request the U.N. General Assembly to establish a committee to negotiate the convention with a view to concluding it by June 1994."
In discussing highly migratory fish such as tuna and straddling stock, there was disagreement between the coastal-fishing and high-sea fishing countries. Yet, it was ultimately agreed to consider this issue through a holding of an international conference in the near future along the line of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.
(c) Follow up on UNCED
To follow up on the outcome of UNCED, there is a need for the entire international community to build on the framework established at UNCED through coordination among the participating countries, as well as to faithfully implement the accords. At the 47th Session of the U.N. General Assembly, it was officially agreed to establish a new organization, "Commission on Sustainable Development," to conduct inter-governmental coordination to follow up on UNCED.
This Commission will consist of 53 member countries, which will monitor the progress made by individual countries in implementing Agenda 21, and consider information on activities of governments and the progress toward achieving the U.N. target of 0.7 percent of GNP for ODA.
Agenda 21 stipulates that each country should consider preparing an action plan. The Economic Declaration of the Munich Summit urges the G-7 countries to draw up and publish national action plans by the end of 1993. The Government of Japan is assiduously working on formulating its plan by the end of 1993.
(d) Japan's Response
As Japan achieved stable economic growth by overcoming serious pollution problems and has steadily increased its external economic cooperation in recent years, strong expectations were placed on Japan from all corners of the world in the preparatory process of UNCED. In seeking to achieve a constructive and realistic outcome that could gain the support of many countries, Japan made substantial contributions to guiding realistic and balanced conclusions particularly on problems concerning financial issues and forestry. In the Prime Minister's speech which was officially distributed at the UNCED meeting, Japan enumerated the responsible actions on the environment and development issues it had taken. As a specific target of environment-related economic aid, Japan promised to expand its bilateral and multilateral ODA in the environmental field during the five years beginning fiscal 1992 to around \900 billion to \1 trillion. This was highly appraised by other countries present.
(2) Protection of the Ozone Layer
The stratospheric ozone layer, which absorbs harmful ultraviolet rays, was found out to be in the process of depletion by chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) etc. in the mid-1970s. Consequently, the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer were agreed upon. Under these legal frameworks, international monitoring is made and production and consumption of substances that deplete the ozone layer are controlled.
At the fourth meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in November 1992, discussions were held on tightening control and on the Interim Multilateral Fund established to protect the ozone layer. Agreement was reached on advancing the control schedule and on increasing the number of substances to be controlled as well as on the establishment of a fund to protect the ozone layer.
Japan announced at UNCED its intention to phase out the substances that deplete the ozone layer by 1996 in principle. Japan will further reduce the production of substances that deplete the ozone layer, and place controls on emissions as well as rationalize their use. Japan is the second largest contributor to the Fund to protect the ozone layer, and is participating actively in managing the Fund as one of the 14 executive committee members.
(3) Conservation of Tropical Forests
Tropical forests around the world are disappearing at a rate of 17 million hectares (about 1 percent of the total tropical forest area) annually according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). A sharp decrease in tropical forest adversely affects lives of people and economies of developing countries. Environmentally, it poses such serious problems as depletion of abundant biological diversity and global warming, the latter being due to the fact that forests absorb and reserve carbon dioxide, which generates green-house effects.
According to FAO statistics, about half of the tropical deforestation is caused by slash-and-burn cultivation, the rest being caused by overgrazing, excessive cutting of woods for fuels, and inappropriately managed commercial logging, etc. Against the background of the dwindling tropical forests lie socioeconomic problems such as the rising population and poverty in the developing countries. It is important, therefore, to tackle those fundamental problems by aiming at the conservation and sustainable management of tropical forests. "Statement of Principles on All Types of Forests" adopted at UNCED is the first comprehensive declaration laying down principles for conservation, management and sustainable development of all types of forests. It is extremely important to take specific measures along the lines of the Statement to solve the tropical forest problem.
Japan has been providing both bilateral and multilateral assistance to ensure conservation and sustainable management of tropical forests. Japan's ODA in the field of tropical forests is the second largest after Germany (FAO Secretariat estimate about 1990 figures). In particular, Japan is actively contributing as the largest donor to the important activities of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). The ITTO, whose headquarters is located in Yokohama, is engaged in important activities to ensure sustainable management of tropical forests. Japan is also supporting the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) active in research on conservation of tropical forest and sustainable agricultural development.
(4) Transborder Movement of Wastes
Transborder movement of hazardous wastes has often taken place since the 1970s, conducted mainly by the United States and European countries. In the 1980s, there were cases in which some industrialized European countries dumped hazardous wastes in the developing countries in Africa, causing environmental pollution. Alarm grew when hazardous wastes were transferred across borders without prior consultation or notice, with the personnel in charge being unclear. To address this problem, after consultations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and UNEP the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted in Basel, Switzerland, in March 1989 and entered into force on March 5, 1992. This Convention bans the transborder movement of hazardous wastes in principle and provides the regulatory procedures where such movements occur.
The transboundary movement of hazardous wastes is one of the biggest global environmental problems. In order to contribute positively to the international coordination of regulations, Japan won approval in the 125th Diet session to accede to this Convention.
(5) Environment-related Taxes
In protecting the global environment, it has been recognized at discussions in the OECD and other fora that appropriate economic measures contribute to the efficient distribution of resources in addition to regulatory measures. Environment-related taxes, particularly on carbon, have been suggested as a possible economic measure, and have already been introduced by the Nordic countries. The EC Commission has also decided to introduce this tax, subject to coordination with other industrialized countries, including the United States and Japan.
Discussions are underway in the OECD on economic measures for environmental policies, including the environment-related taxes.
1-3. Japan's Contribution on Global Environmental Problems
In order to actively tackle global environmental problems, Japan should reform its socioeconomic activities, thereby becoming more gentle to the earth. At the same time, it is necessary for Japan to take active part in the activities of international organizations especially in the United Nations, as well as in efforts to build an international framework on global environmental conservation through international instruments such as the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is also necessary for Japan to support environ-mental conservation measures of the developing countries.
As regards assistance to the developing countries, Japan has been actively promoting international cooperation through its ODA and cooperation with local authorities and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Concerning ODA, a cabinet decision was made in June 1992 to adopt the ODA Charter, a comprehensive statement of Japan's basic policy on ODA. This Charter emphasizes environmental conservation as one of the basic philosophies and sets forth the compatibility between environmental conservation and development as a principle to be pursued in implementing assistance. It also places global problems, including the environment, as the priority issues to be tackled in economic assistance. It stipulates the importance of environment-related aid by referring to the best use of Japan's technology and know-how on environmental conservation for effective implementation of aid.
As for cooperation through international organizations, Japan actively assists UNEP which is responsible for comprehensive coordination of environmental activities within U.N. organizations, and ITTO which is active in conserving tropical forest and its sustainable development. Japan contributed approximately $11.28 million to ITTO in FY 1992, the largest among member countries. To promote transfer of environmentally sound technology to developing countries and the countries in economic transition, the UNEP International Environmental Technology Center was established in Japan in October 1992. This Center was proposed by former Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu at the Houston Summit. It consists of a facility in Osaka dealing with environmental management of major cities, and another facility in Shiga which handles environmental management of basins of fresh-water lakes.
Japan has not only been active in offering financial and technical assistance, but has provided support to the holding of international conferences on global environmental problems. In March 1992, Japan hosted in Kyoto a meeting of the conference of the contracting parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (the Washington Convention) to protect wildlife. Approximately 100 countries and more than 1,000 participants attended this meeting, the largest one among such gatherings. In June 1993, a meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (the Ramsar Convention) to protect the wetlands where water birds live is scheduled to be held in Kushiro for the first time in Asia. Although privately sponsored, the Eminent Persons' Meeting on Financing Global Environment and Development was held in Tokyo in April 1992. This Meeting contributed significantly to the consensus-building on the financial issues at UNCED. Japan's hosting of these conferences demonstrates to other countries its active stance toward environmental problems. It also contributes to the promotion of mutual understanding and cooperation in the field of environmental conservation in the international community.
2. Drug Problem
2-1. Current Situation
The drug problem has been so globally prevalent that individual efforts by producing, consuming, or transit countries alone cannot bring about a solution. It must therefore be tackled with concerted efforts by all countries involved and the international community as a whole, on the recognition that the problem is now one of the most serious issues facing mankind.
Major producing centers spread widely over the world. As for heroine, for example, the so-called "Golden Triangle" extending over the border areas of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos, and the "Golden Crescent" covering areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran are recognized as two major producing centers. From these areas, heroine is smuggled mostly into the United States and Europe. Cocaine, on the other hand, is produced in large quantities in such Andean countries as Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia, and other countries of Central and South America. While cocaine is smuggled mainly into the United States and Europe, as is the case with heroine, its illegal inflow into Japan has recently increased rapidly. Besides, marijuana, which is the most widely abused drug, is produced almost all over the world.
In the above producing areas, the drug production has not yet been sufficiently reduced, despite a variety of measures taken and efforts made by the countries concerned to cut the production. On the contrary, drug abuse in producing, or transit countries has been expanding, which further complicates the problem.
2-2. International Cooperation
Countries concerned have been coping with the drug problem mainly through the United Nations. In February 1990, the period between1991 and 2000 was proclaimed the "United Nations Decade against Drug Abuse," at the 17th Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly. On the conviction that the decade is the last chance to drive narcotic drugs away from the earth, active moves are now being taken to eradicate drug abuse worldwide.
The central role in the moves is assumed by the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP). UNDCP was launched in March 1991, integrating three existing U.N. drug-related agencies (the Division of Narcotic Drugs, the Secretariat of the International Narcotics Control Board, and the U.N. Fund for Drug Abuse Control) in order to ensure more comprehensive and effective implementation of counter-narcotic measures within the framework of the United Nations.
Since the Bonn Summit in 1985, the drug problem has been a major topic for discussion at the G-7 Summit meetings. Summit meetings in recent years have established the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to examine desirability or feasibility of preventive measures against money laundering accruing from illicit drug trafficking, as well as the Chemical Action Task Force (CATF) to seek measures to prevent chemicals from being diverted for illegal drug manufacturing. The two task forces are presently engaged in follow-up works on their own recommendations. In addition, cooperation between the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) and trading and transportation industries have been strengthened to check illicit drug traffic. At the 1992 Munich Summit, the participating countries expressed their intention to continue their efforts to achieve broad international cooperation.
The Dublin Group, which was inaugurated in June 1990 and is composed of Japan, the United States, Australia, Canada, Sweden, and the EC member-states, has held regular meetings to deepen mutual understanding on their drug-related assistance policies and to promote policy coordination. Similar meetings (called mini-Dublin group meetings) have also been held at member-states embassies in the drug producing countries. Besides taking the initiative in the mini-Dublin group meetings in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar), Japan has actively participated in the deliberations in those held in Central and South America.
2-3. Japan's Contribution to the Solution of Drug Problem
Confronted with the situation where drugs globally pose a serious social problem, Japan has been positively engaged in the efforts for solution from the viewpoint of participating in international cooperations to seek a solution. Since the amount of drugs illicitly produced in Japan is very little, illegal supplies of drugs are virtually limited to those smuggled from abroad. Crucially important is therefore the reduction of the drug production on the part of producing countries. Japan in particular has put priority on the cooperation within the Asia-Pacific region, where two of the world's three major drug-producing centers as well as Japan are located.
In February 1991, Japan invited 45 countries to Tokyo, including Asia-Pacific countries, major donor countries to UNDCP and relevant international organizations to convene the Meeting of Senior Officials on Drug Abuse Issues in Asia and the Pacific. At this meeting, "the Tokyo Declaration" was adopted, and Japan's proposal to create a center to pursue sub-regional strategy (Note 1) was endorsed by the participants. The center was opened in Bangkok in March 1992 as a Regional Center of UNDCP, and the center has subsequently played an active role as a center to orchestrate sub-regional strategy, which resulted, for example, in the signing of project documents between Thailand and Myanmar and between China and Myanmar in June, regarding joint drug control projects in their border areas. In order to bolster the center's activities, Japan substantially increased its contribution to UNDCP from $0.8 million in FY 1990 to $3 million in FY 1991, followed by further increase of up to $3.7 million in FY 1992.
In June 1992, Japan ratified the U.N. Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the objective of which is to promote international cooperations on prevention and punishment of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
The Convention stipulates punishment of money laundering and overseas criminal acts, confiscation and holding of proceeds derived from illicit trafficking, mutual assistance on confiscation and prevention, and controlled delivery (Note 2). Ratification of the convention thus enabled Japan to broaden the range of its international cooperation.
As for assistance to multilateral organizations, Japan has, since 1973 made sustained financial contribution to UNDCP, which finances counter-narcotic projects. In addition, Japan has made continued financial contribution since 1989 to the Drug Advisory Programmes of the Colombo Plan, the purpose of which is to train personnel to be engaged in counter-narcotic activities in Asia, as well as to the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) in FY 1991 and 1992, which plays a pivotal role in counter-narcotic measures in Central and South America.
On bilateral level, Japan has occasionally sponsored seminars on control of narcotic offenses, the invitation to which has been extended to law enforcement officers in charge of drug control from Asia and Central and South America. Japan sent economic cooperation survey missions covering drug problems to Thailand and Laos in May 1990 and again to Thailand in November 1990. On the basis of the findings of the missions, cooperations like supply of drug detecting kits and promotion of crop substitution are now proceeding. Attaching importance to the tackling of global issues, as is proclaimed in the ODA Charter, Japan will continue to pursue cooperations for the solution of the drug problem.
International terrorism is not only an inhuman act which would take or endanger human lives, but is also a serious threat to world peace and democracy. It is a problem which should be addressed internationally. As Japanese nationals overseas today can be victims of direct or indirect threats of terrorism, Japan for its part, must address this issue seriously. From this viewpoint, Japan resolutely opposes any form of terrorism, irrespective of its motives. In an effort to prevent international terrorism, Japan has taken various measures and actively promoted further international cooperation.
3-2. Recent Trends in International Terrorism
Although there have been few aircraft bombings or large-scale hijackings from the latter half of 1991 to 1992, other forms of international terrorism occurred throughout the world. Some of the examples are the assassination of former Iranian Prime Minister Shahpur Bakhtiar in France in August 1991, the assassination of Israeli diplomats in Turkey, and the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in March 1992. In addition, in Central and Eastern Europe, where there had previously been few incidents, terrorism took place, such as the assassination attempt of the Indian Ambassador in Romania in August 1991.
The terrorism overview by region is as follows. In the Middle East, in addition to continuous terrorist attacks by factions of Palestinian radicals who oppose the Middle East peace talks, the power of Islamic fundamentalists is expanding in certain regions, and some of them are resorting to terrorist actions. In certain countries in Europe and Southwest Asia, the separatist groups carried out terrorist actions. In some countries of South America, anti-government leftwing guerrilla groups are still aggressive and use terrorism.
In some countries of Central America, however, there are some movements to legitimize and disarm anti-government guerrilla organizations. In El Salvador, the government and guerrillas signed a final peace agreement in January 1992, ending a civil war that had lasted for 12 years. Controls against terrorists have had some successes. The top leader of ETA (Basque Fatherland and Liberty) executive committee was arrested in March 1992, as a result of the joint cooperation of Spain and France, and the head of Sendero Luminoso was captured in Peru in September 1992.
There was successful effort concerning the European and American hostage problem in Lebanon: as a result of the negotiations by the concerned countries, led by the then U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, 10 hostages were released during the second half of 1991 and the last two in June 1992.
3-3. International Cooperation
In order to prevent international terrorism effectively, it is essential that the international community counter it through unanimous cooperation. At present, international cooperation is promoted on multilateral and bilateral levels in many fields, such as arranging the legal framework concerning terrorist crimes, examining and implementing effective measures against terrorism and exchanging information and opinions. Japan is actively participating in these endeavors.
One of the notable developments since the latter half of 1991 to 1992 has been international cooperation and determination to find the truth of terrorist affairs. In January 1992, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 731, demanding that Libya immediately respond to the requests by the United Kingdom, United States and France concerning the bombing of the Pan American aircraft in 1988 and of the UTA France aircraft in 1989. Since Libya did not provide a full and effective response to this resolution, the Security Council adopted Resolution 748, imposing sanctions against Libya in March. Many countries including Japan, joined in enforcing sanctions based on the resolution in search for the truth of the incidents.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has made technical studies for the implementation of the Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection (adopted in March 1991) which requires each state to introduce certain marking chemicals into plastic explosives, often used for aircraft bombings, during the manufacturing process in order to enhance the detectability of explosives. ICAO also has proceeded with the revision of the provisions in Annex 17 to the ICAO Convention, which stipulates the unification and standardization of methods on items required for the safety of international civil aviation.
The Chairman's statement of the Munich Summit in July 1992 reaffirmed the resolution of all of the Summit member countries to cooperate in their fight against terrorism. It also called upon all countries to renounce support for terrorism, emphasized the need for Libya to comply with the U.N. Security Council resolutions and expressed support for ICAO aiming to upgrade safety of civil aviation.
Bilateral cooperation to prevent international terrorism is also underway. In January 1992 when the then U.S. President George Bush visited Japan, the United States and Japan announced in their action plan for global partnership that the two countries continue to cooperate to prevent terrorism within the bilateral framework and international fora including the U.N. Security Council and the G-7 Summit.
3-4. International Terrorism and Japan's Position
International terrorism is a problem which Japan must address. In recent years, with the rapid increase in the number of Japanese people traveling overseas and Japanese companies operating abroad, the number of Japanese nationals, who become the victims of terrorism abroad is on the increase. In August 1991, two Japanese on a business trip were kidnapped in Colombia (released safely in December 1991). In January 1992, a Japanese president of the local electric works company was kidnapped in Colombia (released safely in February 1992), and in April, 20 Japanese staff of Japanese banks in London were injured in the successive bombing incidents in the City.
In the event that Japanese nationals are taken hostage by terrorists who make unlawful demands to the Government of Japan, the Government of Japan will, of course, make its utmost efforts to rescue the hostages safely in cooperation with the foreign government which has the primary responsibility. At the same time, the Government needs to take a firm stand based on the principle of making no concessions to terrorists, a resolve which has been confirmed repeatedly by the G-7 Summits. Further public understanding and cooperation are essential in securing this basic policy of the Government.
3-5. Activities of the Japanese Red Army
Since August 1988, there have been no apparent signs of the involvement of the Japanese Red Army in terrorist incidents. However, the Red Army still adheres to the line of armed struggle against the so-called "imperialism" and the Imperial Family. On the other hand, with the changing Middle East situation caused by the Gulf Crisis, the Japanese Red Army is believed to have a consider-able sense of crisis, which may concern its very existence. Under the circumstances, a possibility that the Japanese Red Army may resort to some action cannot be ruled out. In particular, there is a view that the Japanese Red Army is recently seeking to turn the Asian region into a main theater for its struggle. Therefore, sufficient precaution against their moves continues to be required.
4. Humanitarian Problem
4-1. Japan's Response to the Global Issue of Refugees and Displaced Persons
(1) Global Issue of Refugees and Displaced Persons
Large numbers of refugees and displaced persons have existed in many parts of the world such as Africa, Afghanistan, Palestine, Latin America and Indochina. Since the latter half of 1991 however, new problems concerning refugees and displaced persons have emerged in such countries as the former Yugoslavia and Myanmar. These problems can be seen as the consequences of region al conflicts which have emerged in the post-Cold War era. As a matter of fact, with the end of the Cold War, destabilizing factors like ethnic and religious confrontations as well as moves to pursue regional hegemony, which had previously been contained in the East-West confrontation, have surfaced in the form of regional conflicts.
World Trend in Number of Refugees
The United Nations has played a central role in dealing with the refugees and displaced persons problem. But the emergence of those new refugee problems bas intensified demands for the strengthening of the U.N. system in the humanitarian field.
In this context, a resolution for strengthening the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations was adopted by consensus at the General Assembly in December 1991. Based upon this resolution, the United Nations is actively involved in the humanitarian assistance problems with the appointment of an emergency relief coordinator and the establishment of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs.
In order to tackle the refugees and displaced persons problems, it is imperative for both the United Nations and the countries concerned to make efforts to prevent the conflicts which lead to producing refugees, as well as to strengthen diplomatic efforts to settle conflicts peacefully. At the same time, it is also important to provide relief assistance to the large number of refugees and displaced persons as well as to provide assistance to their repatriation and reintegration once the danger of conflicts or the oppression in their home countries is subsided. The refugees and displaced persons problems might affect the peace and stability of the regions concerned and, eventually, of the international community. Therefore, n the medium-and long-term, it is quite important to address these problems successfully in order to preserve not only the regional political stability, but also the global peace.
It is a humanitarian responsibility for the international community to make unified efforts to assist refugees and displaced persons. It is also imperative for Japan, as a member of the international community, to take active part in such efforts.
From this point of view, Japan has been involved actively in international efforts to solve the refugee and displaced persons problems around the world. Specifically, it actively participates in discussions in international conferences concerning refugees organized by the United Nations. (For example, in July 1992, Mr. Kunihiko Saito, Deputy Foreign Minister, represented Japan at the International Meeting on Humanitarian Aid for Victims of the Conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.) Japan has also made financial contributions to assist refugees and displaced persons through international organizations, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as well as to provide food aid to affected countries on the bilateral basis. Japan made a total of about $119 million contribution to the UNHCR and about $18 million to UNRWA in 1992. (See the chart on page 132 for Japan's contributions to UNHCR and UNRWA).
In January 1991, Professor Sadako Ogata assumed the post of the eighth United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (for a term of three years), and has played a leading role in the international efforts to solve refugee problems around the world, including the Kurdish refugees, the repatriation of the Cambodian refugees and displaced persons, and displaced persons in the former Yugoslavia. It is imperative for Japan to support these efforts and to make further contributions to the international efforts to solve these problems.
In recent years, the contribution in the field of assistance to refugees and displaced persons through dispatching personnel has been given growing international importance. In Western countries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which have sufficient experience in emergency situations dispatch their personnel to provide relief assistance. Also, if necessary, their governments have been sending military forces to provide humanitarian assistance.
Japan, for its part, did not have sufficient experience in these fields, and its humanitarian assistance through using human resources has so far been limited. However, in June 1992, the International Peace Cooperation Law was passed, which paves the way for Japan to participate in international humanitarian relief operations by dispatching personnel. Within the framework of this legislation, it is important for Japan to make contributions in the humanitarian field through human resources, in addition to making cooperation to the U.N. Peace-keeping Operations. It is also expected that, Japanese NGOs will accumulate more experience and be able to be involved actively in humanitarian activities not only in Asia, but in other regions as well.
(2) Assistance to Cambodian Refugees and Displaced Persons
Since 1979, Japan has been providing assistance, both on a bilateral basis and through international organizations, to about 360,000 Cambodian refugees and displaced persons in camps in Thailand. In 1991, Japan contributed a total of $26 million in financial assistance and food aid to the United Nations Border Relief Operations (UNBRO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). In 1992, Japan contributed a total of about $28 million, the largest among donor countries.
In October 1991, the Paris Agreements were reached on the Cambodian problem. A tripartite agreement on the U.N. program for repatriation of Cambodian refugees and displaced persons was also signed among the Thai Government, the Cambodia Supreme National Council and the UNHCR.
The United Nations revised a plan formulated in autumn 1990 on the repatriation of Cambodian refugees and displaced persons who are presently in camps. The U.N. Secretary-General revealed in March 1992 the repatriation program, including the preoperational phase that had already started in autumn 1991. He also appealed to the international community for voluntary contributions of about $116 million (including the budget for the preparatory stage of $33 million). In response to this appeal, Japan contributed $27 million in March 1992. In addition to the contribution (about $8 million) made in March 1991 for the repatriation plan, the total sum of Japan's contribution amounts to approximately $35 million, the largest of all the countries concerned. Japan was also the first, among others, to make a contribution to the program. Combined with its size, the timing of its contribution has prompted other donors' contributions. Consequently, Japan won applause from the UNHCR and the entire international community for its efforts.
At the end of 1992, approximately 210,000 Cambodian refugees and displaced persons have been repatriated, and the UNHCR and other agencies are supporting their reintegration.
(3) Assistance to Indochinese Refugees
Seventeen years have passed since the Indochinese refugee problem began with the collapse of South Vietnam in 1975. Although out flow of boat people continued throughout 1992, the number of Vietnamese boat people leaving their country declined sharply since October 1991 (See the chart below). Nevertheless, they continue to pose major economic, social and even political problems for Hong Kong and the ASEAN countries which provide first asylum for about 150,000 boat people.
In recent years, the countries concerned have begun a process of screening the boat people, to differentiate genuine refugees from the so-called "economic refugees," who fled from the country in a hope of seeking a better life outside. It is said that approximately 70,000 people who were screened out are still staying in Hong Kong and the ASEAN countries (in addition to them about 40,000 are still under the screening procedure). Among them, approximately 30,000 returned to Vietnam voluntarily by the end of August 1992. Although some progress has been made, implementation and promotion of the repatriation of the remaining 40,000 is the greatest pending issue involving the Indochinese refugees.
In October 1991, the United Kingdom (which handles the issue of boat people in Hong Kong) and Vietnam agreed on the return of all the boat people who are determined not to be genuine refugees. Based on this agreement, 279 Vietnamese returned to Vietnam by the end of October 1992.
In order to alleviate the burden on Hong Kong and the ASEAN countries which shelter the Indochinese refugees, and to promote the Comprehensive Plan of Action adopted at the International Conference on Indochinese Refugees in 1989, Japan has been making largest financial contributions through the UNHCR (approximately $24 million in 1991 and $26.8 million in 1992).
According to its official pledge made at the above Conference, Japan accepted 1,179 Vietnamese refugees who stayed in the ASEAN countries, Hong Kong and Japan for a long period of time, which exceeded the 1,000 target set for the three years until the end of June 1992.
(4) Assistance to Displaced Persons of the Former Yugoslavia
The conflict in the former Yugoslavia that began in 1991 continued into 1992. In particular, as of December 1992, there was no prospect for end in sight to the armed conflicts among the ethnic groups of Muslims, Serbians and Croatians in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The UNCHR, in cooperation with other U.N. organizations [United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), WPF, the World Health Organization (WHO), etc.], is undertaking relief activities in the conflicting areas in the former Yugoslavia, despite the persistent conflict. Moreover, the U.N. Protection Force (UNPROFOR) is supporting their humanitarian assistance activities ,such as protecting the transportation of humanitarian relief materials. European organizations are cooperating in airlifting relief materials to Sarajevo.
Recognizing that the situation in the former Yugoslavia is not merely a regional problem in Europe, but a political and humanitarian problem related to peace and stability of the post-Cold War world, Japan supports the efforts made by the UNHCR and in 1992 contributed approximately $24.51 million to the UNHCR, the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), U.N. Volunteers (UNV) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) which are engaged in humanitarian assistance activities in the former Yugoslavia in its efforts to support their activities.
(5) Assistance to the Myanmar Muslim Refugees
At the end of December 1992, there were approximately 250,000 Muslim refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh. The movement has been seen since the end of 1991. Japan, in response to UNHCR's appeal, contributed approximately $1 million in March 1992.
Although an agreement was reached in May 1992 between Myanmar and Bangladesh on the repatriation of refugees, the process has been delayed because of the strong resistance from the refugees who are concerned about their safety after repatriation. The actual repatriation began only in September 1992. By December 1992, a total of 5,891 refugees had returned to Myanmar.
(6) Humanitarian Assistance to Africa
(a) Assistance to Refugees
In Africa, an increase in refugees in countries in the "Horn of Africa" including Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Kenya, West African countries like Liberia and East African countries like Mozambique has become a major problem as a result of such factors as internal strife in Somalia, and the civil war in Ethiopia. It is estimated that the number of refugees in Africa reached approximately 6 million in 1992.
In order to provide relief assistance to refugees and afflicted persons in Africa, Japan contributed $25.6 million to the UNHCR in 1991, and $14.52 million in 1992.
The conflict in Somalia, in particular, brought about a worsened refugee situation, forcing more than 1 million people to flee to such neighboring countries as Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen and Djibouti. Japan directed $5.9 million of its contribution to the UNHCR in 1992 to the Somali Refugees related programs. Also, Japan provided $1.55 million in food aid through the WFP, $200,000 to UNICEF and $ 136,000 of goods in bilateral assistance to help the Somali refugees in the neighboring countries. In addition, to provide relief assistance to the victims within Somalia, who are said to exceed 2 million, Japan in 1992 contributed $3.002 million in food aid through the WFP and $12.3 million for financial contribution to the WFP's airlift operations, and $1.2 million, $2.35 million and $500,000 to UNICEF, ICRC and UNV respectively to support their activities in Somalia.
(b) Assistance to Repatriation of African Refugees
As for South Africa, the UNHCR announced in October 1991 a repatriation plan for exiled black South Africans totaling about 30,000. Japan contributed approximately $3.2 million for this plan, under which 12,000 people were repatriated by the end of October 1992.
In addition, the UNHCR announced in June 1992 a repatriation plan for Angolan refugees of approximately 300,000 and Japan contributed $2 million in September to this plan.
As for Mozambique, a peace agreement was reached in October 1992 and about 1.5 million refugees are expected to repatriate to their home country.
(c) Assistance for the Drought in Southern Africa
Southern African countries in 1992 were hit by the most severe drought in 50 years. Since January 1992 in the latter half of the rainy season, the rainfall decreased to one-third of the average yearly precipitation. Production of maize (corn), the main staple, fell to 50 percent of the average yearly production. With the serious shortage of food, living conditions of residents and refugees in southern Africa are becoming increasingly tragic. In view of this situation, Japan, in cooperation with international organizations and other donor countries, provided drought relief assistance totaling \15.8 billion (equivalent to $120 million) including food aid during 1992.
(7) Assistance to the Palestine Refugees
Regarding the relief assistance to the Palestine refugees, whose number is said to be about 2.59 million as of the end of 1991, Japan recognizes that assistance to these refugees contributes to the peace and stability of the Middle East region, and has made large financial contributions as well as food aid through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). In 1992, Japan implemented a food grant equivalent to about $6.98 million as well as a financial contribution of $11 million.
(8) Assistance to the Afghan Refugees
Even after the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, a large number of refugees stayed in Pakistan and Iran (a refugee population of more than 5.8 million in both countries). However ,since the latter half of 1991, some Afghans have returned home from Pakistan. Particularly after the collapse of the Kabul Government in April 1992, the pace of repatriation has accelerated. By the end of December 1992, approximately 1.5 million Afghan refugees returned home from Pakistan. In addition, since April 1992, repatriation also seems to have begun, albeit on a small scale, from Iran. At the same time, as a result of the armed conflict which began in Kabul in July 1992, some of the refugees are said to be fleeing again.
Japan, through the UNHCR, contributed approximately $5 million in 1991 and $4.6 million in 1992 to support Afghan refugees. In addition, it provided food aid equivalent to $12.6 million in 1991 and $11.6 million in 1992 through the WFP.
4-2. Disaster Relief Assistance
When major disasters occur, particularly in the developing world, cooperation transcending national borders occasionally becomes necessary. From the humanitarian point of view, Japan has offered its cooperation in times of such disasters, including the dispatch of Japan Disaster Relief Teams (JDR), the provision of emergency relief materials, such as medicines and emergency aid.
The first step toward making such efforts was the organization of the Japan Medical Team for Disaster Relief in 1982. However, with the experience of providing disaster aid in 1985 in the wake of the Mexican earthquake and the volcanic eruption in Colombia, it was increasingly recognized that there is a need to improve an aid system comprehensively which encompasses rescue functions. From this point of view, efforts were made to improve the emergency relief system. Furthermore, the Law Concerning Dispatch of Japan Disaster Relief Teams was enacted in August and took effect in September 1987.
JDR, composed of a rescue team, a medical team and an expert team, is dispatched at the request of the affected country, or international organizations, when a disaster of major proportions occurs or is about to occur mainly in the developing world. 'The records of JDR show that since the enactment of the law until December 1992, the teams were dispatched 23 times, involving 301 personnel in total, to disaster-affected regions.
As an example of its most recent activities, in addition to emergency aid, Japan dispatched its medical team to Nicaragua to rescue the victims of the tidal wave disaster caused by an earthquake that occurred off the coast in September 1992. Japan received high marks for its quick response to the disaster. In fact, the Minister of the Nicaraguan Presidential Office expressed the government's appreciation to the medical team. In addition, Japan sent its expert teams to the earthquake victims in Egypt in October 1992, and in Indonesia in December 1992, respectively, to give advice to their governments on disaster preventive measures and were lauded for this action by the respective governments and the public.
The experiences of past relief activities have provided the following lessons. In some cases, large-scale teams need to be dispatched; in others, there is a need that the teams be self-sufficient. There is also a need to improve transportation systems. To meet these needs, it is appropriate for Japan to make efficient use of the capabilities of the existing administrative organizations to improve the disaster relief system. It was for this reason that the Government worked on amending the abovementioned law to enable the participation of the Self-Defense Forces in JDR. The law was duly amended in June 1992.
The revision of the law enables the overseas dispatch of units or other organs of the Self-Defense Forces in consultation with the State Minister and Director-General of the Defense Agency in order to engage in disaster relief activities and transport JDR and materials necessary for those activities when the Foreign Minister deems it particularly necessary. As regards transport, it was stipulated that, ships and aircrafts of the Maritime Safety Agency can be used, after the consultation with the Director-General of the Agency.
While the revision of the law allows the participation of the Self-Defense Forces in JDR, its objective does not lie in enabling dispatch of teams in more dangerous cases. In fact, JDR has not been dispatched to disasters directly resulting from armed strife. In addition, in view of the characteristics of humanitarian assistance, it is not anticipated that weapons will be carried by the dispatched personnel. In submitting the bill, a cabinet decision was made to clarify this thinking. According to this decision, the Government will not dispatch JDR where there is danger relating to local security situation where the use of weapons is deemed necessary to protect the lives and equipment required for the relief activity of JDR. Therefore, no weapons will be carried to protect the lives and equipment related to the relief activity of JDR or the personnel involved in the transport of JDR in the countries concerned.
When the Law Concerning Dispatch of JDR was amended, the International Peace Cooperation Law was also enacted. Consequently, the Law Concerning Dispatch of JDR applies only in cases of natural disasters and disasters stemming from human accidents, such as gas explosions. Those disasters caused by armed conflicts will be covered by the International Peace Cooperation Law.
In addition to the dispatch of JDR and as part of the effort to improve the disaster relief system, Japan has established reserve depots both at home and abroad to enable swift provision of emergency relief goods. These depots are established, at Narita in Japan, and abroad in Singapore, Mexico, Italy and the United States.
In view of the growing interest among Japanese people regarding emergency relief, and to coordinate public and private efforts in this field, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) started an operation in FY 1992 to collect relief goods from local authorities, private organizations and individuals and to transport them to emergency areas. Such relief goods are given as donations from the Japanese people to the disaster-hit people through their governments by the Japanese Embassy in those countries. For example, in November 1992, goods, such as blankets and soap donated from the private sector of Japan, were sent through JICA to the victims who were forced to evacuate due to the rain storm in the Pinatubo mountain area in the Philippines.
Emergency aid is financial aid in form of grant paid out in case of emergencies to the affected countries and the Office of the U.N. Disaster Relief Coordinator (UNDRO) and other international organizations concerned. These funds are used effectively in the recipient countries. Examples included $1.8 million for flood disaster relief in China in August 1991, $800,000 after the typhoon in the Philippines in November the same year, $800,000 for flood disaster relief in Pakistan in September 1992, and $1 million for the earthquake disaster in Indonesia in December the same year.
In order to prepare JDR to respond flexibly to the ever-changing variety of disasters, while combining such types of emergency relief as human resources, material and financial assistance in an effective and swift way, it is necessary for Japan to continue improving the emergency relief aid system. As part of such efforts, the Government of Japan, in April 1992, set up the Overseas Disaster Assistance Division under the Aid Policy Division of the Economic Cooperation Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recognizing the need to establish an independent section and suitable personnel in order to conduct emergency relief comprehensively. In addition, the Secretariat of Japan Disaster Relief Team was established in JICA. Through these measures, the systems of disaster relief implementation has further been strengthened.
5. The Population Issue
The world population, which reached 5 billion in July 1987, is now estimated at 5.5 billion (as of October 1992). It is expected to reach 6.4 billion by the end of this century, 8.5 billion by the year 2025, and 10 billion by the year 2050. The population growth is taking place mostly in developing countries, serving to cause such problems as food shortages, unemployment and expansion of slums due to urban migration. Such a rapid increase in population is hampering economic and social development. Moreover, it may help exacerbate global environmental problems such as desertification and global warming. At the same time, the industrialized countries, including Japan, are facing new types of population issues, such as aging and migration from developing countries.
In an effort to address the problem, the "International Forum on the Population in the 21st Century" was held in Amsterdam in November 1989, with 79 participating countries, under the auspices of the U.N. Population Fund and the Government of the Nether-lands. It set forth a target to increase funds available for family planning from $4.5 billion to $9 billion by the year 2000.
In addition, in the "Development Cooperation in the 1990s" declaration adopted at the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) High-level Meeting, in December 1989, it was agreed that slowing down the excessively high population growth rates in many countries is indispensable to achieve sustainable growth. At the DAC Meeting on Population and Development in April 1990, an agreement was reached on the need to take strong domestic and international initiatives to reduce the pace of population growth and to strengthen coordination between the international aid agencies and donor countries. Moreover, in the high-level DAC meeting of that year, the conclusion of the Meeting on Population and Development was given full support. In Agenda 21 (Chapter 5) adopted at the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992, the population problem was highlighted, with attention given to the close correlation between population growth and sustainable development, and the global environment. Policy-makers were urged to deepen their awareness of this correlation and to give proper consideration to the population perspective when drawing up their policies on development and the environment.
The population problem is also closely related to economic policies, religion and human rights. In principle, the self-help efforts by the developing countries are essential in tackling the population problem. In particular, the population problem is closely related to the improvements of the status of women, of the standards of health care for mothers and children and of the poverty situation. For this reason, it is essential that family planning should be formulated and implemented, having a bearing on economic and social development plans of the respective countries.
In September 1994, the International Conference on Population and Development is scheduled to be held in Egypt. Both developing and donor countries are expected to endeavor to make this conference fruitful. "The Independent Commission on Population and Quality of Life" proposed by the former World Bank President Robert S. McNamara will be established to prepare the groundwork for this conference. (The chairperson will be the former Prime Minister of Portugal Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo).
Japan, which overcame its postwar population growth through economic development, has been actively involved in the international cooperation in the field of population mainly through the United Nations and other fora. In FY 1992 it contributed $59.3 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), out of which $15.9 mil lion was contributed to the International Parenthood Planning Federation (IPPF), the world's largest contribution, respectively. In addition, Japan extended bilateral technical assistance regarding family planning to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, Peru, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt and Kenya. The Government of Japan, in collaboration with the UNFPA and the United Nations University, plans to hold a meeting of the world's eminent persons on demographic issues sometime by the end of July 1994, and actively contribute toward the International Conference on Population and Development in September 1994.
6. Ethnic Problem
The ethnic problems have captured attention as one of the destabilizing factors in the post-Cold War international community. A variety of developments was seen in the past year or so, especially in the countries of the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia. These problems have their own historic background, with their political, economic, social and cultural aspects. Therefore, it may not be appropriate to generalize their prospects. Nevertheless, it can be noted that conflicts originating from ethnic problems have surfaced and increased in number since the end of the Cold War.
The international community and the countries concerned are making sustained efforts to settle or alleviate the ethnic confrontation and disputes. In this context, the need for international cooperation was emphasized at the Munich Summit in July 1992. As for the former Yugoslavia, in particular, the international community led by the United Nations and the European Community (EC) have taken various measures to resolve the dispute, but the situation is complex and a solution is not in sight. Many ethnic disputes in the countries of the former Soviet Union also remain unsolved despite negotiation efforts for settlements. Such difficulty of resolving ethnic problems is attributable not only to the intricacy of the ethnic problems themselves, but also to the fact that effective means to solve such problems do not necessarily exist in the international community today except for the cases where the agreement is reached among the parties concerned.
Today, with the end of the Cold War, there is a concern that the international community as a whole may pay less attention to ethnic problems. Since the countries concerned and their neighboring countries have limited capability to solve their ethnic problems, the loss of interest on the part of the international community would make it all the more difficult to solve ethnic problems, especially those of tragic magnitude with a large number of human casualties. In that sense, it has become important for the international community, including Japan, to promote international cooperation toward their solution of these ethnic problems, with great concern over them.
Below are some of the recent developments in the several ethnic problems that have surfaced in various parts of the world.
6-2. Recent Developments of Major Ethnic Problems in the World
(1) Ethnic Problems in the Former Soviet Union
The collapse of the Soviet Union has helped arouse ethnic conscious-ness in the countries of the former Soviet Union and contributed to intensifying ethnic conflicts. Although solutions are being sought by the countries concerned, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), the United Nations and so on, there are little prospects for solution. Ethnic conflicts in the countries of the former Soviet Union can be categorized as follows: 1) the problems of minority ethnic groups which were oppressed under the Soviet rule and now attempt to become independent of the republics they belong to; 2) the problems over Russians residing in republics other than Russia; 3) the problems of regions which wish to be placed under the jurisdiction of a republic other than the republics they presently belong to. In addition to these ethnic conflicts, there are other cases where political power struggles are accompanied by ethnic conflicts and the republics are disputing over border demarcation. In total, the former Soviet Union is now witnessing the substantial number of conflicts.
Major conflicts which have surfaced are as below:
(a) The problem of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast
This conflict emerged around 1988 when the autonomous oblast (80 percent of the inhabitants are Armenians) in the Azerbaijan Republic began to demand that the jurisdiction over the oblast be transferred to the Armenian Republic. As of the end of 1992, intense armed clashes continue. In spite of peace-making efforts, there are no prospects for settlement.
(b) The Problem of Russians and Other Ethnic Groups in the Moldova Republic
Conflict broke out in 1990 when Russians living in Moldova, feeling threatened by the announcement of the Moldova Republic's intention to merge with Romania, declared the creation of a "Pri-Dnestr Republic" within the Moldova Republic. The dispute escalated into armed conflict between the Moldova Republic and "Pri-Dnester Republic." Despite peace-making efforts, there seems little prospect for a final solution. In addition, there is a move by the Gagauzi people to become independent of the Moldova Republic.
(c) Conflicts in the Republic of Georgia
(i) The Abkhazian Problem
This problem surfaced when the Abkhaz Autonomous Republic demanded independence from the Georgian Republic in 1990. The conflict intensified when the autonomous republic reiterated its demand for independence in 1992. This dispute has been further complicated as Caucasus ethnic groups related to the Abkhaz (such as those residing in Russia's Chechen Republic) dispatched troops to assist the Abkhaz. The situation became more serious after Russian involvement in the conflict.
(ii) South Ossetia Problem
This is a conflict in which the South Ossetia Autonomous Oblast of the Georgian Republic is demanding unification with the North Ossetia Autonomous Republic in Russia. The struggle between the autonomous oblast and the Georgian Republic has turned into armed conflict, and so far there seems to be no prospect for a fundamental solution.
(d) Tadzhikistan Republic
Since September 1991, the Islamic and democratic forces have stepped up their campaign against the Communist Party. A coalition government with the opposition party was established in May 1992. However, demands for President Rakhmon Nabiev's resignation continued, and the armed conflict in the South has intensified and has persisted even after the President was forced to resign in September 1992.
(2) Ethnic Problems in Central and Eastern Europe, Particularly in the Former Yugoslavia
(a) Central and Eastern Europe in General
As the Western European countries are moving toward integration centering economically on the European Community (EC) based on their shared Western culture as a spiritual foundation, in Central and Eastern Europe, confrontations among ethnic groups have surfaced. Historically, the region was invaded by ethnic groups from the North, West and East, and then dominated for a long time by major powers such as Germany, Austria, Russia and Turkey. Ethnic problems of many countries in Central and Eastern Europe today stem primarily from their failure to form nation states based on ethnicity, despite the fact that they attained independence after World War I. Although all the countries in the region presently rely on the EC's support in achieving transition to market economies, there seems to be a limit to the ability of the EC to mediate on ethnic questions.
(b) Former Yugoslavia
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, armed conflicts over territorial domination have continued since April 1992 among Serbs, Croats and Muslims. Ethnic problems in the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia are also becoming serious.
Problems of the former Yugoslavia have three international dimensions. First, more than 500,000 refugees have fled from Bosnia-Herzegovina and the other republics, causing a heavy burden and social problems to the Western European countries which accept the refugees. Second, the poor living condition of citizens and evacuees particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina bas become acute, prompting international relief operations coordinated mainly by the United Nations. Japan is making due contributions to such efforts. Third, the entire Balkan Peninsula could be destabilized if the conflicts spread to the Kosovo area of the Republic of Serbia and to the Republic of Macedonia. Islamic countries are being concerned over the plight of the Muslims particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Since September 1992, comprehensive mediation efforts on former Yugoslavia have been made in Geneva, co-chaired by the United Nations and the EC. However, the armed conflicts continue among the parties concerned. An early political solution is not foreseeable because of their extreme distrust and hostilities against each other.
(c) Other Central and Eastern European Countries
In Czechoslovakia, the demands on the part of the Slovakian Republic for sovereignty and increased republic's authority grew after the general election of June 1992. This move prompted the Czechs and Slovaks to agree to peacefully dissolve their federal system as of January 1, 1993. Yet, the dissolution of the federation may impose heavy economic burden on the Slovakian Republic.
In Bulgaria, several tens of thousands of Turkish residents have begun to emigrate to Turkey, due to the hardships they went through as a result of the confusion surrounding economic reforms. However, this has not led to conflict, and has not yet become an urgent issue between Bulgaria and Turkey.
In Romania, there has been ethnic confrontation between the Hungarian minority living in Transylvania and Romanians. Even after democratization in Romania, there has not been much improvement in its relations with Hungary.
(3) Ethnic Problems in Asia
In Sri Lanka, fighting persists between government forces and Tamil extremist groups in the northern and eastern regions against the background of ethnic problems between the Singhalese majority and the Tamil minority.
In Myanmar, where the Burmese are running the political, economic and social affairs of the country, there are problems of the minority ethnic groups such as the Karens and Kachins.
In other parts of Asia, there are also many countries where potential conflicts among ethnic groups exist, because of religious elements and various historical factors, such as ethnic conflicts and ethnic migrations since ancient times and colonial borders.
(4) Ethnic Problems in the Middle East
In the Middle East, the peace process for the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict is now underway (for details see Chapter 3, Section 6 on the Middle East). In Sudan, government forces are stepping up their offensive against the anti-government groups in the South which are mainly composed of Christians. In Northern Iraq, there were moves by the Kurds to set up an autonomous government.
(5) Ethnic Problems in Africa
In Africa, internal struggles based on tribal and clan rivalries persist in such countries as Somalia and Liberia. In Ethiopia, the provisional government and the Oromos, the largest tribe, are still in the state of confrontation. In South Africa, multi-party negotiations were suspended after the outbreak of violence in June 1992. But in September, Mr. Nelson Mandela, President of the African National Congress (ANC) and President Frederik W. de Klerk had a meeting and decided to resume bilateral negotiations.
(6) Ethnic Problems in the American Continent
In Canada, an outline for the Constitutional amendments (the Charlottetown Accord) was concluded in August 1992. The Accord included, among others, the recognition as a "distinct society" of the Province of Quebec, where the majority of the population is francophone, the recognition of the inherent right of self-government of the aboriginal peoples. A national referendum was held in the following October in order to seek national opinions for this Accord, but the result showed that those rejecting the Accord outnumbered those supporting it. The issue of the Constitutional amendments has been shelved since then. Nevertheless, the failure to amend the Constitution has not yet resulted in further activation of Quebec's independence movement.
In Guatemala, Ms. Rigoberta Menchu, who has been involved in human rights activities for the indigenous people received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1992.
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Note 1: Counter-narcotic measures jointly undertaken by neighboring countries located in the same drug producing area.
Note 2: A technique of investigation by allowing drugs to pass out of, through or into the territory of a given country, with the knowledge and under supervision of its competent authorities with a view to identifying persons involved in the illicit traffic of drugs.