Chapter II. Striving for a More Secure, Prosperous and Humane World

Section 1. Overview

The end of the Cold War diminished the role of ideology in international politics, lowered the relative importance of military strength in the international community and increased the importance of economic strength and scientific/technological capability. The interdependence of the world economy is further deepening. Today, freedom, democracy, and a market economy are no longer an ideology locked in confrontation with socialism and the planned economy, but these are the universal values and the basis on which the international community jointly tackles the tasks in the post-Cold War era. At the Tokyo Summit, which Japan chaired in July, the leaders of the seven major industrialized countries expressed a firm determination to enhance international cooperation in wide-ranging fields for creating a more secure and humane world, building upon such universal values. They have indicated this view as guidance for building a new world.

Amid such structural changes of the world, the international community aims to construct a new framework for peace and prosperity and is making sustained efforts with three objectives in mind; politically to ensure peace and security; economically to ensure and expand prosperity; and in global-scale dimensions to tackle the issues like the environment and the population growth. While construction of such a new framework will require substantial time, and the international community is still in the process of trial and errors, the efforts to date have begun to make it possible to define, albeit vaguely, which direction is to be taken. Reforming the United Nations and strengthening its function to meet the requirements of the new era, further promoting multilateral coordination under the leadership of the industrialized democratic nations which achieved good results in supporting Russia and the Middle East peace process, and promoting regional cooperation in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region, all of which will form such a framework for an international coordination system. Moreover, from now on, it will become even more important to promote individual international efforts by coordinating and combining them organically.

Today, when interdependence is deepening in all fields, ensuring world peace and prosperity is indispensable for the peace and prosperity of Japan itself. Japan, with its economic strength exceeded only by the European Union (EU) as a whole and the United States, has now become a tremendously influential country not simply on economic issues but on all important issues of the international community, including political and global-scale ones. Particularly, at a time when the international environment itself is changing, Japan should not merely adapt to an international framework as it exists. It is necessary for Japan to lead active and creative diplomacy in cooperation with other major countries by setting forth a direction to be taken toward the creation of a new international framework and to participate in its formation. Moreover, while international cooperation is proceeding to firmly establish freedom, democracy and a market economy as universal values of mankind, there are abundant cases of conflicts and confrontations rooted on ethnic and religious causes. Against such a background, Japan's role as an Asian industrialized democratic country will become increasingly important in ensuring that such conflicts should not undermine the international efforts to construct a new international framework.

In Japan, however, domestic perception seems, in some aspects, to lag behind such expanding expectations placed by the international community on Japan. On the other hand, it should be noted that the cooperation in the Gulf Crisis and in Cambodia has brought about a change in the perception of pacifism, that is to say, support is gradually spreading for a pacifist notion which consists of contributing more actively to ensure peace and prosperity of the entire world, and going beyond the simple pacifism of not becoming a military power and not invading other countries.

1. The Importance of Multilateral Cooperation

In today's international community, as clearly epitomized in the response to the Gulf Crisis, any single country, even the United States, can neither settle international problems nor ensure the peace and prosperity of the international community. Moreover, any task that the international community is faced with, whether it is the recovery of sustainable growth of the world economy, global-scale problems such as the environment or the strengthening of the regimes of non-proliferation, cannot be tackled without multilateral cooperation. On the other hand, a single major country can impede solution of the problems by refusing to cooperate in an international effort. It has therefore, become increasingly important to ensure multilateral coordination led by major countries, in order to sustain and promote peace and prosperity.

(1) Strengthening the Functions of the United Nations

Expectations placed on the United Nations in achieving world peace and prosperity have risen more than ever. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that the number of official meetings of the Security Council reached 171 sessions, exceeding the past record of 133 sessions in 1992. However, the actual capability of the United Nations is not sufficient to meet such expectations of the international community. It is the task of the entire international community to fill this gap between ideal and reality by reforming and strengthening the United Nations into an institution suited to the requirements of the era.

Throughout the postwar era, Japan has attached a great importance to the role of the United Nations in its foreign policy. Japan is, therefore, required to make various contributions both in personnel and finance to the efforts by the United Nations in promoting the peace and security of the world, including participation in the U.N. Peace-keeping Operations. At the same time, it is necessary for Japan to actively participate in the efforts to reform the United Nations in order to strengthen U.N. functions.

With such a recognition, Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa chose the United Nations as the first destination for his official overseas visit in September after setting up his new administration. He expressed in his address to the General Assembly the determination of the new administration to contribute both financially and in terms of personnel to the United Nations, along with the resolution to promote reforms domestically. He also expressed the Administration's view with regard to the four major tasks which face the international community: namely, (1) disarmament and non-proliferation, (2) prevention of conflicts and peaceful settlement of disputes, (3) economic development and (4) global issues. Moreover, he referred to the three reforms which should be tackled by the United Nations: strengthening the functions of Peace-keeping Operations; restructuring the Security Council; and administrative and financial reforms. The Prime Minister also expressed that Japan is prepared to do all it can to discharge its responsibilities in the reformed United Nations.

The U.N. Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, paid his visit to Japan in February 1993 as an official guest of the government, and revisited the country in December to exchange views with government leaders. It is exceptional for the U.N. Secretary-General to visit Japan twice a year, and this reflects the Secretary-General's wish to strengthen the relationship between the United Nations and Japan, a major member of the United Nations.

(2) Trilateral Cooperation among Japan, the United States and Europe

The industrialized democracies of the United States, Europe and Japan, which share common values of freedom, democracy and a market economy, account for approximately 70 percent of the world's GNP and possess the world's most advanced scientific technology. Consequently, the responsibilities and roles of these countries are particularly important in order to maintain and promote world peace and prosperity. Moreover, for Japan to tackle these global tasks, cooperation and coordination with these countries are indispensable.

In the economic field, it is evident that such important tasks as ensuring sustainable growth of the world economy, assistance to Russia and the conclusion of the Uruguay Round trade negotiations cannot be dealt with effectively without a close cooperation among Japan, the United States and Europe. The same is true in the political aspects, as the role of trilateral policy coordination concerning such issues as peace-keeping and non-proliferation is becoming increasingly important.

With the increasing responsibilities and roles of Japan, the United States and Europe, both in the political and economic fields, policy coordination through such fora as the G-7 Summit meetings and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is assuming a vital role in building a new international cooperation system.

2. Progress in Regional Cooperation

Along with the multilateral cooperation mentioned above, moves toward regional cooperation have become increasingly activated both in political and economic fields.

It is in Europe that such moves are most conspicuous. Regional cooperation in Europe is much more outstanding compared with other regions, in the sense that there have developed a multi-layered cooperation structure, composed of various institutional frameworks covering the political, security and economic aspects, such as the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE).

In North America, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), encompassing not only trade of goods and services, but investment, environmental issues and labor affairs as well, came into effect in 1993 among the United States, Canada and Mexico.

In the Asia-Pacific region, while there is no institutional framework like those in Europe or North America, moves for regional cooperation are steadily progressing. Particularly, against the background of spectacular economic development in the region, much attention was drawn to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The Clinton Administration of the United States, which is attaching importance to the economic vitality of this region in order to reconstruct its own domestic economy, has been playing an active role in strengthening APEC, and took an initiative in holding the APEC Leaders Economic Meeting in November. APEC is a forum for loose cooperation, and has begun its full fledged activities only recently. However, in view of the potential economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region, its influence on the world economy is expected to increase in the future. Moreover, while regional cooperation in this region has so far been mainly a vertical one formed through increased bilateral economic cooperation and direct investments, there has also been progress recently in horizontal cooperative relations, such as the Japan-ASEAN countries' initiative toward the development of Indochina. In the political facet, the creation of the "ASEAN Regional Forum" was agreed upon in July 1993 as a forum for multilateral consultations on the security issues of the Asia-Pacific region. China, Russia, Vietnam, Laos and Papua New Guinea will also participate in this forum in addition to the member countries and organizations of the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference.

How to position such regional cooperation within the framework of international cooperation in the future and what kind of roles they should assume are still under consideration and are tasks to be addressed in the years ahead. Such moves of regional cooperation will play a significant role in tackling international tasks, by making the best use of regional features against the respective geographical and historical backgrounds. On the other hand, however, these moves should not become an impediment to relations with countries outside the region. In that sense, it is extremely important in promoting future regional cooperation, to consider how to structure cooperative relations among the respective regions, and how to ensure the compatibility of such regional cooperative schemes with the global systems, such as the United Nations and the GATT.

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