Chapter II. The International Situation and Japan's Foreign Policy
Part 3: Global Issues and International Exchanges
(1) The Environment
(a) The Efforts of the International Community
Global environmental problems are among the most serious issues facing humanity, since they transcend national borders and threaten the very foundations of human survival. Thus, in order to solve environmental problems, it is not enough for each country to make its own individual efforts; regional and international efforts are indispensable. At the same time, environmental problems are inseparable from social and economic development, and due to differences in domestic industrial structures, there are differences in awareness and conflicts of interests with regard to environmental problems among people in different countries.
Therefore, it is necessary to rectify such differences and conflicts through diplomatic efforts in order to achieve international cooperation. At present, countries throughout the world are putting into effect the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21, both of which arose out of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)--the so-called Earth Summit--which was held in 1992. Reviews of the progress made in implementing Agenda 21 and exchanges of views on the matter have been held on an annual basis, chiefly by the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), which was established in the autumn of 1992 under the authority of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. In May 1994 the CSD convened its second meeting and discussed issues ranging over a wide spectrum of areas, including financial resources and technology transfers as well as sustainable patterns of consumption, and also discussed such problems as fresh water and hazardous waste. The Commission's third meeting is expected to focus on such cross-sectional issues as problems with financial resources and technology transfers and also on sectoral issues, including the problems of forests.
In recent years solid improvements have been made in building international legal frameworks for environmental conservation. In response to the problem of desertification, the text of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification was completed in June 1994, and in October the Convention was signed by over 80 countries, including Japan. The Convention is expected to be enacted in the future. With regard to the problem of global warming, pursuant to the Framework Convention on Climate Change that took effect in March 1994, the developed countries, including Japan, have compiled information on their own policies and the measures they employ to prevent global warming, as well as on their numerical forecasts for the future. This information, which will be reviewed, has been presented to the secretariat for the Convention. The conservation of ecosystems and genetic resources has also been addressed. The first conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which took effect in December 1993, was held in November 1994.
This sort of international cooperation on environmental problems has taken place not only within the United Nations but also in the G-7 and the OECD. A G-7 Environmental Ministers Meeting was held in March 1994, where an exchange of views took place on a wide range of issues, including global environmental problems, population and the environment, environmental policies and employment, financial resources, and trade and the environment. As global environmental problems are transnational in nature, such organizations as the OECD and the GATT are studying the establishment of rules to address the issue of trade and the environment, including the question of the propriety of employing trade measures as a means of responding to environmental problems outside a country's own jurisdiction (by prohibiting imports, for example, of goods for which the production process or method causes global environmental problems).
Progress has also been made in promoting cooperation under regional frameworks, including in the Asia-Pacific region. In consideration of the economic growth and expanding energy consumption that has been taking place in the Asia-Pacific region, environmental problems will soon pose a serious challenge. With this in mind, environmental ministers' meetings have been held and studies are proceeding within the APEC on cooperation to simultaneously accomplish the "three Es"--energy security, economic growth, and environmental protection.
(b) Japan's Contribution
While international cooperation on the environment has proceeded, Japan has regarded environmental problems as one of the top priorities for Japan's foreign policy and has actively worked to respond to the problems. During the period of its postwar economic growth, Japan experienced serious pollution problems and retains the experience of having overcome them. There are strong expectations for Japan to lead an international initiative by making use of the knowledge and technology that it acquired through this experience.
To begin with, Japan has attached great importance to strengthening international legal frameworks for protecting the global environment and has played an active role by getting involved in the process of formulating various conventions on environmental issues, including the Convention to Combat Desertification, by helping to coordinate the positions of developing and developed countries and by making contributions to help cover the expenses of the developing countries participating in the convention negotiations. Furthermore, Japan announced in the UNCED that it would increase its environment-related ODA from 900 billion yen to1 trillion yen for the five-year period beginning in FY 1992 and is currently striving to achieve this goal. Progress so far has been satisfactory, because Japan's environment-related ODA for FY 1992 and FY 1993 combined amounted to 510 billion yen, accomplishing more than half of the target within these two years alone. It is important that environment-related ODA works to promote self-reliance efforts by developing countries, strengthen each country's social infrastructure, and help to cultivate human resources. For countries making the transition to democracy and market economy, it is a high-priority task to overcome the environmental damage that occurred under communism, and these countries need the cooperation of the international community. Accordingly, in February 1994 Japan announced that it would provide up to $1 billion to fund environmental assistance to Central and Eastern Europe.
One particularly important task for cooperation with developing countries is the development of relevant technology for the purpose of promoting compatibility between environmental protection and economic growth, as well as the transfer of such technology to developing countries. At the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Environmental Technology Center, established at Japan's invitation in Osaka and Shiga, a variety of activities designed mainly to transfer technology to developing countries are starting up, including the dissemination of environmental technology and information to developing countries, the dispatch of experts, and the acceptance of trainees in environmental fields from developing countries. In addition, Japan's environment-related ODA has been used to establish and operate environmental research and training centers in Indonesia, China, and Thailand.
The Global Environmental Facility (GEF), a multilateral funding mechanism established to support the efforts of developing countries to tackle global environmental problems, was launched in 1991. The Facility provides a system for integrating the knowledge of environmental problems possessed by the UNEP, the capacity for transferring technology possessed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the capacity for project implementation possessed by the World Bank, and each country's ability to contribute to the funding mechanism. To promote the GEF as a major international funding mechanism, Japan has actively supported the GEF since its establishment and has announced a contribution of roughly 45 billion yen to the GEF Trust Fund, which is approximately 20% of the its first replenishment, over a three-year period beginning in July 1994. Japan has also engaged in exchanges of views and policy coordination on environmental problems in bilateral frameworks with developed countries including the United States and the countries of the European Union, as well as with developing countries, including China.
While close international cooperation has been steadily carried on in discussions among experts from various fields and in various individual projects, the most important tasks for the future will be to maintain and strengthen the political will to act and to preserve the interests of the general public. It is therefore necessary for each government to make the utmost effort to this effect, with renewed recognition of the importance of increasing the awareness and the efforts of individual citizens on environmental issues.
(2) Population and AIDS
The world's population currently stands at roughly 5.7 billion and has been increasing at the rate of over 90 million per year. Over 90% of this population increase takes place in developing countries, which causes food shortages in these countries, employment problems, and migrations to urban areas that result in the expansion of slums, thereby hindering economic and social development. Such population increases also have a negative effect on global environmental problems, such as desertification of verdant lands and global warming. Moreover, new population problems, such as the aging of populations and mass immigration from developing countries confront developed countries, including Japan.
From September 5 to September 13, 1994, the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which meets every 10 years under the aegis of the United Nations, took place in Cairo, Egypt, for the purpose of responding to the worsening and increasingly complicated population problem. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono attended the conference as the head of Japan's delegation. The Japanese delegation was made up of 55 members, including representatives from the National Diet and three members associated with NGOs that have been active both within the country and abroad, reflecting the importance of recent NGO activities. At the conference there were conflicting views from developed countries and developing countries on opposition to abortion arising from religious reasons, as well as on such topics as the environment and development, human rights, and funding problems, but as a result of negotiations taking place in unofficial consultations, the conference eventually closed with the adoption of a new "plan of action" that looks ahead to the next two decades. The adoption of the plan of action, which includes such new facets as the relationship between population and the environment and the improvement of the status and rights of women, can be considered as a major step forward in strengthening international efforts to resolve the population problem.
Japan has been actively taking part in international cooperation in the field of population. This is particularly obvious in the area of multilateral cooperation. Japan has been the largest contributor to the United Nations Population Fund since 1986. In February 1994 Japan announced its Global Issues Initiative (GII), under which it will provide a total of nearly $3 billion in ODA over the seven-year period from FY 1994 to FY 2000 to assist developing countries in the areas of AIDS and population. The GII, which will be coupled with efforts by the United States in these areas, has become an important component in the Common Agenda being advanced by both countries. The GII is being implemented to incorporate cooperation in areas directly related to the population problem, such as family planning and maternal and infant health. Furthermore, since the population problem is deeply connected to overall social and economic development, a comprehensive approach that includes improving basic health and medical care, improving basic education, and raising the status of women is being taken.
While the spread of AIDS is a serious situation all over the world, the problem is especially serious in developing countries. The situation is particularly severe in Asia, which according to some estimates is expected to surpass the African region as the world's largest infection zone in the latter half of the 1990s.
Given the seriousness of the situation, the problem of AIDS is clearly a common issue for humanity that the entire world must promptly and earnestly cope with, and cooperative efforts by the international community are indeed being reinforced; Japan has played an active role in these efforts. As noted above, in February 1994 Japan announced its Global Issues Initiative, including initiatives to assist developing countries in the areas of AIDS and population. In addition, Japan hosted the Tenth International Conference on AIDS, drawing 13,000 participants from countries all over the world, in August 1994.
In December 1994 an AIDS summit meeting was held in Paris under the co-sponsorship of the Government of France and the World Health Organization (WHO). The Government of Japan was represented by former Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Nakayama. The participants at the meeting issued a declaration regarding measures to combat AIDS and, in an act of great significance, announced a governmental commitment to undertake global measures against AIDS, making use of cooperation and coordination among aid donor countries, recipient countries, NGOs, and the various agencies of the United Nations. Japan presented an explanation of the GII to the summit meeting, with the result that France, Britain, and other countries announced their financial support for measures to fight AIDS in response to Japan's initiative.
(3) Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues
(a) Human Rights Issues
(i) Efforts by the International Community
Human rights issues have increasingly gained the attention of the international community in recent years, and have been actively addressed in a variety of ways.
In 1994, particularly significant steps were taken, because this was the first year of follow-up activities to the World Conference on Human Rights held in June 1993, which had successfully reached agreement that human rights are universal and are a legitimate international concern. Discussions concerning human rights in 1994 at the United Nations and other forums were based on the Vienna Declaration and Plan of Action adopted at the Conference. Symbolically enough, in February 1994 Jose Ayala Lasso, the Ecuadorian Ambassador to the U.N., was appointed the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, an office established by the U.N. General Assembly in autumn of 1993 in accordance with the Vienna Declaration and the Plan of Action.
The major human rights activities of the United Nations used to be the adoption of resolutions in such forums as the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights, requesting that states improve their human rights conditions when they committed particularly glaring violations of human rights, as well as the adoption of international human rights standards, including human rights conventions.
In recent years, however, the United Nations has been expanding the scope of its human rights activities by increasingly engaging in technical assistance, through which the U.N. itself assists in each country's efforts to improve human rights. For example, the U.N. Center for Human Rights, which acts as the U.N.'s secretariat for human rights affairs, sends experts to countries to give advice and hold seminars to help train civil servants, based on relevant U.N. resolutions and the requests of the countries concerned. Furthermore, the newly established U.N. Human Rights Center in Cambodia has been in full swing, conducting activities to improve human rights in Cambodia since 1994.
The human rights field operation in Rwanda conducted by the U.N. Center for Human Rights is noteworthy as part of the United Nations' technical assistance activities. In this project, an initiative undertaken by U.N. Human Rights High Commissioner Ayala Lasso, field officers have been dispatched to the conflict areas to monitor the human rights situation and engage in activities to create an environment that will enable refugees to return.
Meanwhile, gaps in perceptions of human rights between developed countries and developing countries remain wide. The developed countries stress the importance of the promoting and protecting fundamental freedoms, and developing countries emphasize the importance of economic and social rights and the right to development. At the U.N. Commission for Human Rights, deliberations on draft resolutions regarding human rights often result in heated debate. In bilateral relations between developed countries and developing countries as well, human rights issues tend to be a source of diplomatic tension.
(ii) Japan's Human Rights Diplomacy
Based on the belief that human rights are a universal value shared by all humanity and provide a foundation for world peace and prosperity, Japan conveys its concerns to countries that have human rights problems, taking appropriate opportunities to encourage them to improve conditions. Japan also takes such measures as reviewing its aid policies toward countries that commit egregious human rights violations, based on its ODA Charter, under which the Government pays full attention to the degree of the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the recipient country.
It should be stressed that Japan believes it should take a pragmatic approach that is truly effective in improving human rights in the country concerned, rather than a confrontational approach which simply points out human rights violations by that state. For example, in the deliberations regarding human rights conditions in Myanmar in the 49th session of the U.N. General Assembly, Japan took the position that, in order to encourage efforts by the Government of Myanmar to improve human rights conditions, it would be most effective to adopt a resolution which properly recognizes the efforts made so far and encourages further efforts, and which the Government of Myanmar itself could accept. In this way, Japan played a central role with other countries in the process of drafting the resolution and contributed to the adoption of the resolution by consensus.
Japan has continuously been a member of the U.N. Commission for Human Rights since 1982 (serving as the vice-chair in 1994), and has actively contributed to the strengthening of the human rights activities of the United Nations. In July 1994 Japan invited U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Ayala Lasso to Tokyo. During his visit, the High Commissioner exchanged views with Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama and others regarding U.N. human rights activities and the role of the High Commissioner and deepened his understanding of Japan's human rights diplomacy and human rights conditions in Japan.
(b) Humanitarian Problems
(i) The Response of the International Community
After the end of the Cold War, the proper direction for the international community to pursue is toward the achievement of world peace and prosperity, based on universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and market economy. However, the outbreak of regional conflicts in the world, including those in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, has produced huge numbers of refugees, internally displaced persons, and victims of war (as of January 1994 the world's refugee population was estimated to be 20 million). Moreover, every year large-scale natural disasters, starvation, and poverty have created new victims, and enormous numbers of people live under severe conditions that deny them even the basic requirements for survival. This is a big problem that the international community must tackle cooperatively.
On issues pertaining to refugees and displaced persons, international organizations including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have played a major role in tackling the issues. This is because in many cases it is difficult to help refugees and displaced persons through bilateral assistance to the country affected, for political, ethnic, or religious reasons. In 1992 the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) was established in order to strengthen cooperation and coordination among humanitarian assistance organizations both inside and outside the United Nations.
Furthermore, with international concern over humanitarian issues growing, various efforts to tackle the problem have been intensified. For instance, an International Conference for the Protection of Victims of War held in Switzerland in August 1993 called in its final declaration for efforts to study the means to ensure full respect for international humanitarian laws. Other efforts have also been made to improve the humanitarian situation in various fields, including emergency assistance, the preservation of cultural heritage, international criminal law, refugees and internally displaced persons, peace-keeping forces, treaties restricting conventional weapons, landmines, and protection for women and children. (For details on the humanitarian issues involved in regional conflicts, see Part 1, Section 2 of this chapter.)
(ii) Japan's Role
Japan has been actively involved in the international efforts described above by participating in international conferences on refugee problems, as well as by making both financial and material contributions through various international organizations such as the UNHCR, providing food aid to various countries, and dispatching its International Peace Cooperation Force to help provide relief for Rwandan refugees.
In addition, Japan has accepted Indochinese refugees as permanent residents, both from a humanitarian standpoint and with a view to contributing to peace and stability in Southeast Asia.
When large-scale natural disasters have occurred in developing countries and regions, Japan has provided financial assistance, dispatched the Japan Disaster Teams, and provided emergency supplies such as medicines, while also contributed financially to international organizations. When a disastrous volcanic eruption occurred in Indonesia in November 1994, Japan provided supplies and dispatched Japan Disaster Teams consisting of doctors and nurses.
Japan needs to continue to provide comprehensive cooperation, including material and financial assistance as well as personnel, to help resolve the humanitarian problems existing in various parts of the world.
(4) Drugs and Terrorism
(a) The Drug Problem
(i) The Current Situation
The major drug-producing regions are spread out all over the world. Heroin is produced in the so-called Golden Triangle--Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar--and in the so-called Golden Crescent--Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. In recent years heroin has also come to be produced in Latin America, in such countries as Peru and Colombia. Cocaine is produced in large volume in Latin American countries such as Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia. As a result, the amount of cocaine being smuggled into Europe and the United States, as well as into Japan, has increased. As for efforts to reduce the production of drugs in these areas, Thailand, for instance, has succeeded in reducing production effectively through the application of a variety of measures and efforts, but the overall situation continues to be very serious.
In recent years, such matters as the rapid increase in drug abuse in countries where drugs are produced or transported and money laundering by criminal organizations have also become serious problems.
(ii) The International Response to the Drug Problem
For some time, various countries have been making efforts to cope with the international drug problem, chiefly through the United Nations. The United Nations' "Global Plan of Action" to promote international cooperation to eradicate drugs, which was adopted in 1990, is mainly supported by the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP).
International attempts to tackle the drug problem other than through the United Nations include the active efforts of such organizations as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which was formed to investigate countermeasures to prevent the laundering of illegal drug money, and the Dublin Group, which discusses the drug-related aid policies of developed countries. So-called mini-Dublin Group meetings take place at the local level among embassy officials from Dublin Group member countries in countries where drugs are produced or transported. The group has been intensifying its activities, with Japan taking the initiative at its meetings in the Southeast Asia region.
(iii) Japan's Contribution to Resolving the Drug Problem
While the drug problem has become a grave social problem of global dimensions, Japan is contributing to the solution, mainly by concentrating its efforts on strengthening cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
In March 1992, based on a concept originally proposed by Japan, a UNDCP regional center for Southeast Asia was opened in Bangkok. The center has actively promoted the establishment of joint countermeasure projects along national border areas, including those of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and China. In response to this development, the countries where drugs are produced, such as Thailand, have begun coping with the drug problem in earnest, providing a good example of a regional anti-drug campaign. Japan has actively supported the activities of the UNDCP, including those of the center in Bangkok, by contributing $5.5 million to the UNDCP in FY 1994.
In addition to its financial assistance to the UNDCP, Japan supports other multilateral organizations as well. It has provided financial assistance for the Colombo Plan drug advisory project for the purpose of training those who address the drug problem in Asia, and also provides financial support for the Inter-American Commission for Drug Abuse Control (CICAD), a group within the Organization of American States (OAS) that plays a major role in the fight against drugs in Latin America.
Japan is also tackling the drug problem through bilateral cooperation. Japan assisted the development of human resources in 1994 by inviting a large number of leading officials responsible for the fight against drugs from Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere to seminars held in Japan. Japan has also provided assistance for increased production of food crops in Thailand and Laos to help promote crop production to replace drug cultivation there. In addition, since 1994 the drug problem has been taken up as a common task for the Common Agenda in the Japan-U.S. Framework Talks, and deliberations have started on how cooperation between the two countries on the drug problem should proceed.
(b) The Problem of Terrorism
(i) The Current Situation
While a limited number of favorable developments were observed in 1994, such as the onset of preparatory negotiations between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Government of the United Kingdom following the IRA's declaration in August renouncing terrorism, incidents of international terrorism, including the bombing of a mutual aid center for Israeli immigrants in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July, and other terrorist acts of various sorts, including bombings, kidnappings, murders, and airplane hijackings took place in various areas of the world. In the Middle East, terrorist incidents recurred, targeting Israelis and Palestinians while the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government between Israel and the PLO was being implemented; in Algeria, attacks on foreigners were made by Islamic fundamentalist groups, with murders continuing to occur; and in Turkey, armed guerrilla and terrorist activity by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) continued. In Asia as well, there were murders and kidnappings of foreigners by terrorists in some countries of southwest Asia and Indochina. In Latin America, however, while terrorism by leftist extremists continued to occur as in the past, renewed crackdowns and efforts to maintain peace helped create a reduction in terrorism.
(ii) International Cooperation
Japan also actively takes part in international cooperative efforts to effectively prevent terrorism. At the Naples Summit in July, criticism of terrorism and of state-sponsored terrorism was expressed in the Chairman's Statement, along with an appeal to all countries to renounce support for terrorism. In November, the U.N. General Assembly's Sixth Committee adopted a declaration on eradicating international terrorism.
(iii) Terrorism and Japan's Point of View
In the event that Japanese nationals are taken hostage by terrorists who make unlawful demands to the Government of Japan, the Government, of course, makes the utmost efforts for the release of the hostages in cooperation with the foreign government which has the primary responsibility. At the same time, in order to prevent analogous incidents in the future, it is necessary to take a firm stand based on the principle of making no concessions to terrorists, which has been confirmed repeatedly at the G-7 Summit meetings. In securing this basic policy of the Government, further public understanding and cooperation are indispensable.
According to certain information, the Japanese Red Army is groping about for future courses of action and is seeking a new base of operations, considering that the progress in the Middle East peace process and other changes in the world undermine the group's existence. The Government of Japan continues to obtain information on any moves by the Japanese Red Army in cooperation with countries concerned.
(5) International Cultural Exchanges
With the end of the Cold War and the growth of mutual interdependence, cooperation has been amassed for the construction of a new world founded on common values, such as freedom and democracy. At the same time, with ideological confrontations fading, differences in ways of thinking or in social systems arising from ethnic, religious, and historical differences have surfaced, leading some people to argue against the very existence of common values. Under these circumstances, the need is growing for international cultural exchanges, which provide a vital means of promoting mutual understanding among people in different countries and of fostering mutual respect for cultural differences. For Japan, a country that has long tended to be recognized mainly for its economy, there is a need to redouble its efforts to promote a proper and balanced understanding of Japan around the world. Furthermore, in order for the new world now being built to be a more affluent and humane one, it is important to promote deeper mutual exchanges among different cultures and to cooperate for a more advanced world culture. From this standpoint, it is necessary for Japan to make further efforts in the field of cultural exchanges and cultural cooperation.
(a) Promoting Mutual Understanding
In advancing cultural exchanges, it is essential to foster a balanced understanding of Japan and its people. With this in mind and in order to support Japanese language education and Japanese studies abroad, the Government has been actively engaged in dispatching experts in Japanese language education, in providing training in Japan, in donating teaching materials and books, and in conducting the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test. The Government of Japan has also lent its cooperation to cultural exhibitions and performances abroad. In 1994 it provided support for the 1994 Japanese Cultural Envoys (who perform musicals in Japanese and stage other exhibitions Japanese) in the Republic of Korea, for a special series devoted to Japan at the Avignon Drama Festival in France, for an exhibition in Spain entitled "Momoyama--The Golden Age of Japanese Art" and for performances of the three classical Japanese dramatic arts (noh, kabuki, and bunraku) in Europe.
With the growing interdependence in the international community, the customs and institutions of Japanese society have had an increasing impact on international society in a variety of ways, and there is a growing need to make systems within Japanese society and the minds of its members more open to the outside world. Thus, the Government of Japan has supported various domestic activities organized by local governments and private groups related to foreign cultures and has worked to increase the understanding of foreign cultures and customs within Japan.
Exchanges of persons, which are one of the most effective means of promoting mutual understanding, are a basic component of international exchanges, and it is particularly effective to give emphasis to exchanges of young people, who will be the main actors in the new era. For these reasons the Government of Japan invites young people to Japan under such programs as the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme (see note 19) and the Japan Study Tour Program for Youth (see note 20). In addition, various measures have been taken to increase the number of students coming from abroad to study in Japan to 100,000 by the beginning of the next century (The current figure as of May 1994 is approximately 54,000). Moreover, efforts have been made to enhance programs to invite and dispatch prominent cultural figures and intellectuals from various areas such as academia, the arts, and journalism. In recent years steps have been taken to promote intellectual exchanges, in order to provide support for dialogues among influential people from various countries, as well as for regional grassroots exchanges. Furthermore, by cooperating in the holding of various international sporting events such as the Olympic Games, the Government of Japan has contributed to strengthening exchanges in the field of athletics.
(b) Promotion of International Cultural Cooperation
To enrich world culture is one of the important goals of international cultural exchanges. Not a few cultural monuments, heritages, and traditions which have been handed down through generations, however, are in danger of being lost because of inadequate preservation or restoration, as a result of rapid economic growth and social changes.
Japan has contributed in various ways to the preservation of the world's cultural heritage. Financially, in addition to bilateral assistance, Japan has provided funds to the Japanese Trust Fund for the Preservation of the World Cultural Heritage, which was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1989 (accumulated contributions amounted to $1.6 million as of the end of 1994). Japan is also engaged in various other activities, such as the dispatch and invitation of experts in the preservation of cultural heritage.
A project to preserve the remains at Angkor in Cambodia is a good example of Japan's contributions in this field. Japan had dispatched survey teams four times as of the summer of 1994 and has planned a four-year preservation project for the Angkor monuments. Along with France, Japan also co-chairs the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor, coordinating the activities of various countries and international organizations.
In recent years intensified efforts have been made to preserve and promote such intangible cultural resources as traditional music, dance, art, and crafts. The Government of Japan has supported such efforts by dispatching and inviting experts and sending out survey teams and has also contributed to the UNESCO Japanese Trust Fund for the Preservation and Promotion of Intangible Cultural Heritage (contributing $250,000 in FY 1993 and 1994), thereby supporting projects to preserve the traditional cultures of various ethnic groups in Asia, and assisting in the holding of international symposiums and conferences of experts.
In addition, Japan has also provided developing countries and former socialist countries with human and intellectual support for cultural activities, as well as grants aimed at promoting education and culture (totaling 2.4 billion yen in FY 1993), with a view to facilitating a smooth transition toward democracy.
(c) Roundtable Discussions on International Cultural Exchanges
A series of Roundtable Discussions on International Cultural Exchanges, chaired by Akito Arima, was set up in October 1993, and a report on these discussions was presented to then Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata in June 1994. The report suggested that an important goal for the future would be to promote exchanges with the Asia-Pacific countries, which have achieved remarkable economic development in recent years. It further stated that Japan's principal organizations for international cultural exchanges remained inadequate in scale and called for doubling the scale of the central organizations involved in international cultural exchanges, including the Japan Foundation, by the beginning of the next century (see note 21).
The Government, having received these recommendations, has worked to enhance its systems for the implementation of cultural exchanges, including the Japan Foundation, with regard to both budgets and personnel. In addition, it is also working through the Foundation to expand projects aimed at promoting exchanges with the Asia-Pacific countries, including projects to be implemented under a "Peace, Friendship and Exchange initiative" (see Chapter 1, Section 1).
(6) Cooperation in Science and Technology
(a) International Relations and Science and Technology
International cooperation in the fields of science and technology holds major significance, as science and technology is part of the basis for the economic and social development of the international community. In tackling the issues that face humanity, such as preserving the environment and overcoming AIDS, international cooperation in science and technology is vitally important.
Since the Cold War ended, growing importance has been attached to the issue of preventing the proliferation of the enormous intellectual and material resources related to science and technology that accumulated in the military organizations of the former Soviet Union during the Cold War and ensuring that these resources are put to peaceful uses. At the same time, due to domestic changes and other factors, the United States, which has long been the postwar leader of the scientific world, is increasingly seeking international cooperation on large-scale scientific projects involving various countries. Thus, there have been discussions in the OECD and other forums on how to proceed with large-scale projects among developed countries, and there have also been cases of cooperation between the former Western countries and the countries of the former Soviet Union, including Russia. Moreover, the developed countries have come to attach importance to competing and cooperating in fields of science and technology that are relevant to industry, in addition to the field of basic science--their traditional field of priority--in recognition of the importance of science and technology for enhancing economic competitiveness.
For Japan, which has attained the world's highest standards in many areas of science and technology, particularly in research applicable to the development of new products, the present situation represents an excellent opportunity to play a major international role. In addition, actively taking part in international cooperation is likely to enable Japan to make progress toward even richer domestic scientific and technological resources.
(b) Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation in Science and Technology
(i) Bilateral Cooperation
Japan has concluded agreements with about 20 countries on cooperation in science and technology and regularly holds conferences on such cooperation, primarily with these countries, and discussions to select subjects for joint research and promote scientific and technical cooperation. In 1994 a new agreement on scientific and technical cooperation was concluded with the United Kingdom to create a systematic framework for managing the cooperative activities that have taken place thus far and promote further cooperation. Discussions have also progressed in the science and technology working groups established under the Common Agenda for Cooperation in Global Perspective of the Japan-U.S. Framework Talks. In June the first Forum on Science and Technology was held in Tokyo, providing a new framework for cooperation with the European Union.
(ii) Multilateral Cooperation
The new International Science and Technology Center was officially launched in March by Japan, the United States, the European Union, and Russia, for the purpose of preventing the proliferation of scientists and technicians connected with the former Soviet Union's weapons of mass destruction. These three countries and the European Union have also agreed to take part in an international engineering design project to develop an experimental thermonuclear reactor.
An example of Japan taking the initiative in promoting international cooperation in science and technology is the Human Frontier Science Program, which comprises basic research aimed at shedding light on the superior functions involved in such capacities as the workings of the brain. The program, which has been highly praised by researchers from around the world, is proceeding smoothly.
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