General Overview -
The International Community in 1995
Overview of Japan's Foreign Policy and Events in 1995
The International Situation
a) Working Toward the Creation of a New International Order
The international community is making great efforts to create a new international order in the post-Cold War era. However, there remain many uncertain factors, and more time is necessary before a new order is firmly in place. Still, 1995 was a year in which a certain degree of progress was seen in the germination of this new order. Specifically, great advances were made in certain long-standing regional issues - including the progress in resolution of the nuclear development issue in North Korea, the conclusion of the peace agreement in the former Yugoslavia, and the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - though many difficulties are foreseen in their implementation. Moreover, while the danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction still exists, a decision was taken for the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), along with the adoption of two decisions: "Strengthening the Review Process for the Treaty" and the "Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament," showing the way to nuclear disarmament aiming for a world free of nuclear weapons.
In the economic realm, with the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in January, we are witnessing the countries of the world strengthening their engagement with the open multilateral trading system. Although the struggle against poverty continues in many developing countries, in some, there are signs that dramatic economic takeoff is on its way. Also, steady efforts are being made in the international community to seek solutions for global issues, including environment, refugee and population issues - which were not always sufficiently addressed under the Cold War structure - and to provide assistance for countries in transition to democracy and market-oriented economic systems, as well as to prevent terrorism.
Taking a look at the Asia-Pacific region, we face elements of instability such as the situations in North Korea and in the South China Sea. Moreover, with population increase and economic development, medium- and long-term issues such as the environment, energy and food have emerged.
However, on the whole, there is an increasing level of political stability in the Asia-Pacific region, as evidenced by Viet Nam joining the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the normalization of relations between the United States and Viet Nam. In the economic field, the pattern of development in this region is what is known as the "flying geese" pattern, in which economic development in industrialized nations such as Japan and the United States first propelled the development of the newly industrialized economies (NIEs), which subsequently fueled the development of the countries of ASEAN. In the process of this wave of economic development, mutual interdependence has been deepened within the region, which as a whole, is becoming a growth center for the entire world. Furthermore, we are seeing the creation of a positive and beneficial cycle in which economic development brings about further political stability.
b) The New International Order: A Multi-tiered Architecture
From amidst these movements of the international community in 1995, the outlines of an architecture for a new era began to come into view.
The first tier is the global framework, comprised mainly of the United Nations, the WTO, and cooperation among Japan, the United States and Europe through the G-7 and other fora. The United Nations is playing important roles for the maintenance of peace in the international community through various measures including United Nations peace-keeping operations (PKOs) and humanitarian assistance, which is implemented in order to prevent or resolve regional conflicts. In 1995, the United Nations also encouraged international efforts in the economic and social fields by sponsoring the World Summit on Social Development and the World Conference on Women. In the economic field, the WTO, which was established in January, is expected to play a leading role in maintaining and strengthening the open multilateral trading system. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and other international financial organizations are expected to continue to play a major role in maintaining and enhancing the international financial system, and in assisting development in developing countries. At the same time, there is increasing recognition that, in order for such global organizations to fulfill a role appropriate for this era, it is essential that their systems be strengthened. Accordingly, as the United Nations commemorated the 50th anniversary of its establishment, there has been intense discussion regarding reform of the Security Council, financial reform, and reform in the economic and social areas. Moreover, at the Halifax G-7 Summit held in June, reform of international organizations was discussed as one of the central themes, and agreement was reached that concrete work was to be advanced on reviewing the international financial system in light of the lessons learned from the Mexican peso crisis, and on reforming the organizations of the United Nations.
Secondly, there are increasingly strong trends toward the enhancement of regional cooperation, which complements and enhances global cooperation. As a result, the roles played by regional organizations and fora are gaining in importance. As will be explained in greater detail, cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region has been progressing both in the economic and political dimensions, through Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). In the former Yugoslavia, in order to ensure the implementation of the peace agreement reached in November, the Implementation Force (IFOR), mainly consisting of North Atlantic Treaty Organization member forces, was established under the authorization of a United Nations Security Council resolution, and election supervising led by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) was introduced. In Europe, efforts were made to explore a new security architecture, including the enlargement of NATO, and deepening of integration in political and economic areas as well as integration of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe were both pursued by the European Union. In Africa, the strengthening of a conflict-prevention system, particularly that of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), is underway.
Regional cooperation by countries which share common regional interests and concerns is indeed beneficial. However, it is essential that such regional frameworks be complementary to and supportive of the global frameworks. From this point of view, these regional initiatives should not only be supported by the United Nations, or be consistent with the WTO Agreement, but also lead to enhancement of the functions of the United Nations, or to strengthening of the open multilateral trading system. In this regard, it was of great significance that the Osaka APEC Meetings confirmed that liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment in APEC would be consistent with the WTO Agreement, and that APEC would take the lead in world-wide liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment. Today, it is becoming increasingly important that the regions of the world not become inward-looking, but turn their attention to the issues of other regions while maintaining a global perspective, and work to advance inter-regional understanding and cooperation. In this context, it is noteworthy that there has been an increasing level of exchange and cooperation across regions, such as Japan's participation in the reconstruction of the former Yugoslavia, prospective cooperation of the European Union on the issue of nuclear weapons development in North Korea, and the holding of the first Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) at which leaders from Europe and Asia are to gather in March 1996.
Thirdly, bilateral cooperation among nations, which is a foundation of the global and regional frameworks, will continue to play an irreplaceable role. Good, overall bilateral relations between individual countries have been the indispensable bases for success in a number of multilateral endeavors such as: cooperation among Japan, the United States and Europe for the reform of the United Nations and the operation of the WTO; the joint efforts of Japan, the United States and the Republic of Korea in dealing with the issue of nuclear weapons development in North Korea; and the cooperation in APEC and the ARF among the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
Specific Approaches in Japan's Foreign Policy and Issues to be Addressed in the Future
This section outlines the specific issues to be dealt with in Japan's foreign policy in light of the current international and regional situation.
First of all, we must recognize that, as there is a deepening degree of interdependence among countries, the security and prosperity of Japan can only be assured by achieving peace and prosperity for the entire world. Furthermore, as Japan's national strength has increased to the extent that now approximately 18% of the world's GDP is Japanese, Japan has come to hold both a high stake in and a significant responsibility for the peace and stability of the world. For these reasons, it is essential that Japan play a creative role in the building of a new international order in the post-Cold War era.
In that process, befitting the architecture for this new era, Japan must strengthen each of the three tiers of cooperation: global frameworks such as the United Nations, the WTO and cooperation among Japan, the United States and Europe; regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region; and bilateral cooperation with the United States, the countries of Asia, and the countries of Europe and elsewhere. It is also vital that this three-tiered structure of cooperation be developed in a comprehensive manner such that cooperative efforts in these tiers be mutually complemented and reinforced.
In fulfilling such an international role, Japan should squarely face its past while making active efforts to promote mutual understanding and build trust with all countries for the future. The year 1995 marked the 50th year since the end of the War, and as will be explained in detail later on, Japan made sincere efforts at this important juncture. It is essential that Japan carry through with such efforts.
a) Global Cooperation
The United Nations is an important pillar of Japan's cooperation toward the global framework mentioned earlier. Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama and Foreign Minister Yohei Kono delivered statements respectively at the Special Commemorative Meeting of the General Assembly on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations and at the 50th Session of its General Assembly, and enunciated Japan's views on the United Nations reform and other challenges the United Nations faces, and reiterated Japan's resolve to further strengthen cooperation with the United Nations. Furthermore, in the statement by Foreign Minister Kono, the need to formulate a more comprehensive development strategy was stressed. Also, in that speech, he once again stated that Japan, with the endorsement of many countries, was prepared to discharge its responsibilities as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, in accordance with its basic philosophy regarding international contributions, including the non-resort to the use of force prohibited by its Constitution. It is essential that Japan utilize the momentum created on this 50th anniversary of the United Nations to continue efforts toward advancing United Nations reform.
In the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, Japan plays a positive and active role. Japan has displayed initiative in submitting to the United Nations General Assembly a draft resolution on nuclear disarmament with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, and a draft resolution calling for the immediate cessation of nuclear testing. Both of these resolutions were adopted with the support of the majority of the Member States of the United Nations. Japan, as the only country ever to have experienced atomic devastation, will continue to strongly call upon all nuclear weapon States to redouble their efforts for nuclear disarmament towards a world free of nuclear weapons and, in particular, will urge all countries to realize the signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) during 1996.
With regard to regional conflicts, even if areas in conflict are geographically far from Japan, such as the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East, Japan has made appropriate contributions, recognizing that such conflicts are not of concern merely for those regions, but are relevant to the creation of a framework for peace and stability in the international community in the post-Cold War era. In the Middle East peace process, Japan has played significant roles through a variety of means of cooperation, including assistance to the Palestinians, contribution to multilateral talks and dispatch of Self-Defense Forces' personnel to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). In dealing with the issues of the former Yugoslavia as well, Japan has contributed actively by providing humanitarian assistance for refugees and other aid, and promoting the peace implementation process as a member of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board.
In the economic realm, Japan is expected to play a major role at the WTO, as one pillar of the Quad - along with the United States, the European Union and Canada. In 1995, the year of establishment of the WTO, significant achievements were attained, such as conclusion of the negotiations on financial services, resolution of trade disputes and strengthening of the organization of the WTO. Japan has made an important contribution in all of these achievements. Japan should continue to take active initiative in promoting further liberalization of trade and addressing the so-called post-Uruguay Round new issues, as it looks toward the first WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Singapore in December 1996.
b) Regional Cooperation
Securing the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region is vital for the security and prosperity of Japan. The region is characterized by diversity in both the political systems and development stages of its countries. Considering the complex historical relations interwoven throughout the region, it is essential that Japan strengthen its cooperation with the countries of Asia, while maintaining the presence and involvement of the United States. The good and steadfast relations between Japan and the United States serve as a foundation supporting cooperation between Japan and the countries of Asia. In some quarters, one hears such extreme questions as, "Will Japan opt for Asia, or will it go with the United States?" Given the realities outlined above, it is evident that such an either/or approach is completely inappropriate. Moreover, we must work to ensure that the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region fosters the peace and prosperity of the entire world. For these reasons, Japan must proceed with regional cooperation in a manner which further strengthens the interdependence existing in the Asia-Pacific region through region-wide cooperation, while simultaneously respecting the diversity of this vast region and ensuring that such regional cooperation be open to countries outside the region.
It is under this basic recognition that Japan is working to enhance such region-wide frameworks as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
At the Osaka APEC Meetings held in November 1995, the member economies adopted the Osaka Action Agenda which charted a comprehensive road map for achieving the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment and promoting economic and technical cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. As a result, APEC advanced from the stage of "vision" to that of "action." As the APEC Chair in 1995, Japan displayed initiative in the formulation of the Osaka Action Agenda. It is essential that Japan continue to contribute positively with a firm commitment to the further development of APEC through various avenues, including submitting a substantive and positive Action Plan to the APEC Ministerial Meeting in the Republic of the Philippines in November, so that the Osaka Action Agenda be steadily implemented.
The ARF had its Second Ministerial Meeting in Brunei in August 1995. In that meeting, the Ministers confirmed that the ARF should take a gradual and evolutionary approach with an immediate emphasis on Confidence-Building Measures. The Ministers also agreed on concrete Confidence-Building Measures such as encouraging the submission of defense policy papers. These developments indicate that the ARF, which was started as a forum for dialogue, has been evolving into a forum for cooperation. In January 1996, Japan co-hosted the first meeting of the Inter-sessional Support Group on Confidence-Building Measures with the Republic of Indonesia, and it intends to make continued efforts to promote the development of the ARF.
c) Bilateral Relations
Building good bilateral relations with other nations is a fundamental premise in Japan's foreign policy. Good bilateral relations are also essential in advancing the global cooperation and regional cooperation outlined above. The relationship between these efforts is mutually complementary, in that progress in global cooperation and regional cooperation also influences bilateral relationships between countries.
The Japan-United States relationship continues to be the cornerstone of Japan's foreign policy in the post-Cold War era. Close cooperation and coordination between the two countries across the broad spectrum of relations serves as the foundation for advancing frameworks for regional and global cooperation. It is vital that efforts continue to be focused on strengthening this important bilateral relationship.
The Japan-U.S. security arrangements are a cornerstone of Japan's security policy, together with diplomatic efforts and improvement of defense capabilities, and at the same time are a political foundation for the cooperative relations between Japan and the United States. Furthermore, the U.S. presence based on the Japan-U.S. security arrangements is a stabilizing factor and contributes to the building of a more stable security environment in the Asia-Pacific region. Thus, it is necessary to firmly maintain the security arrangements and continue to work for their smooth and effective implementation. To achieve this objective, it is essential that the understanding and support of the peoples of Japan and the United States be gained for the role and the significance of the security arrangements in the post-Cold War era. In regard to the issues related to the U.S. forces facilities and areas in Okinawa, a solution must be sought in such a way as to give greatest consideration to the burden and sentiments of the people of Okinawa over many years, and Japan must continue to make efforts together with the United States to reach a solution, consistent with the objectives of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. In Japan-U.S. economic relations, frictions tend to rise to the foreground, particularly in the commercial sector. However, given the importance of managing the overall bilateral relationship, it is important that any matter of friction not be unduly politicized, and that solutions be sought in conformity with international rules.
Cooperation with the countries of Asia is another important pillar of Japan's bilateral relations and is also a basis for regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan's friendly and cooperative relationship with the Republic of Korea, with which it shares common values and security interests, is important not only for the two nations, but also for the peace and stability of Northeast Asia. Continued efforts must be made to further promote mutual understanding between the two countries and to strengthen their cooperation on issues related to the Asia-Pacific region as well as on global issues. The People's Republic of China is gaining importance in the international community through rapid economic development. Japan should strengthen its cooperative relations with China in such a way as to assist China's reform and open policies, and to encourage China to play an even more constructive role in the international community as well as in the Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, Japan should continue to encourage the parties concerned to seek a peaceful solution of the Taiwan question for the peace and stability of East Asia. Continued effort is also needed in order to persuade China to cease its nuclear testing with a view to promoting nuclear disarmament. The countries of ASEAN are, with the dramatic development of their economies, increasing the level of regional integration among themselves, as well as with the three countries of Indochina. The ASEAN countries play an increasingly important role in Asia-Pacific cooperation through such efforts as taking initiative for the development of the Mekong River Basin. It is important to further enhance cooperative relations with the ASEAN countries.
Of course, cooperation with the countries outside of Asia is also important. Japan must continue to promote dialogue and cooperation across a broad spectrum with the countries of Europe, with which it shares common values. As regards Japan's relations with the Russian Federation, 1996 marks the 40th anniversary since the resumption of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Russian Federation with the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration. While steadily moving ahead in the working relations between the two countries in various fields, it is necessary for Japan to devote even greater effort to realizing the solution of the Northern Territories issue based on the Tokyo Declaration and to achieving full normalization of the relations between the two countries.
The frameworks of cooperation on the three tiers - global, regional and bilateral - are correlated, and the interaction among the three tiers exerts a positive influence on all three. For example, advancing APEC greatly contributes to maintaining the involvement of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region and advancing the participation of China in international frameworks. Similarly, the establishment of the WTO promotes the resolution of bilateral economic issues in a manner consistent with the open multilateral trading system, as seen in the process of concluding the Japan-U.S. Autos and Auto Parts Consultations. The fact that bilateral economic issues have been resolved in that way has further reinforced the credibility of the WTO system.
d) The 50th Year since the End of the War
In order to fulfill its role as a responsible member of the international community, it is extremely important for Japan to foster relations of mutual trust with all other countries. To mark the 50th year since the end of the War, on 15 August 1995 the Government of Japan issued a Statement by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, in which it stated that it regarded, in a spirit of humility, the fact that during a certain period in the past, Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, and expressed its feelings of deep remorse and stated its heartfelt apology. In this Statement, the Government laid forth its thoughts on the path that Japan should pursue in the future and also announced that it had launched the Peace, Friendship and Exchange Initiative consisting of two parts: support for research into historical relations in the modern era between Japan and the neighboring countries of Asia and elsewhere; and expansion of exchanges with those countries. The Government also confirmed its intent to continue its utmost efforts on issues arisen from the war in all sincerity. On 9 June, the Lower House of the National Diet adopted the Resolution to Renew Japan's Determination for Peace Based on the Lessons of History. In July, the Asian Women's Fund was established. It is intended to undertake, through the cooperation of the Japanese people and the Government, projects to express the Japanese people's atonement to the former "comfort women" and projects addressing issues related to the honor and dignity of women.
It is vital that Japan move forward positively with these projects and that it squarely face its past history with the neighboring countries of Asia and others, so that it can build future-oriented relations of mutual understanding and mutual trust with those countries.
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