Sectoral Analysis of the International Situation
and Japan's Foreign Policy
Global Issues and International Exchanges and Assistance
Addressing Global Problems
a) The Environment, Population and AIDS
i) The Environment
Global environmental problems threatens the very survival of the human race. To solve this problem, regional and global efforts are essential - it is not enough for individual countries to merely take measures on their own. The destruction of the global environment, though it may not be readily apparent at the present time, will, unless dealt with from a long term perspective, pose an imminent threat in several decades, or within the next 100 years. Also, because steps taken in addressing global environmental problems could seriously affect the economic development of individual countries, each country has to coordinate its economic policies with environmental protection measures. It is not easy for well over 100 countries in the world, each at a different stage of development, and with different economic conditions, to take coordinated actions. For this reason, tremendous diplomatic efforts are required to rectify differences in awareness and conflicts of interest among various countries, and to take effective environmental measures for the present and future generations throughout the entire world.
Concerns over global environmental problems were strongly expressed at the United Nations Conference on Environmental Development (UNCED) - the so-called Earth Summit - which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Conference adopted the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21, which have formed the basis for discussion and actions being undertaken by the international community. Since then, the international community has been making efforts, both within individual countries and through such bodies as the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), to implement the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21.
In 1997, a Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly on the Environment is scheduled to be held to conduct a comprehensive assessment of actions taken since the Earth Summit. Efforts have been continued to further promote the achievements of the Earth Summit, and the Special Session is expected to provide the momentum to further this process.
For example, in April 1995, the First Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) decided to start international discussions on how to curb emissions of greenhouse gases beyond 2000, a question which had not been adequately addressed by the FCCC. In the area of forest conservation, the third CSD Meeting, also held in April 1995, led to establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests, which is to define, by 1997, what international actions will be needed to address the decline in forest cover. Other achievements include the adoption, in November 1995, of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities, and the plan to begin the negotiations on legal frameworks with regard to chemical substances. In addition, as a part of the growing movement to reform the United Nations, international bodies such as the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) are increasingly involved in discussions on how to link and coordinate their efforts so that environmental issues can be tackled in a more effective and efficient manner.
In tandem with such energetic efforts of the international community, which have been advancing in various areas, Japan has been making its utmost effort, placing the issue of the global environment as one of the top priorities of its foreign policy.
First of all, in order to strengthen international legal frameworks to tackle the global environmental problems, Japan has been playing an essential role in coordinating the positions of developing and industrialized countries during the formulation of environment-related conventions, and in providing financial assistance so as to encourage the participation of developing countries in negotiations. Secondly, Japan announced at the Earth Summit an increase in its environment-related ODA from 900 billion yen to 1 trillion yen for the five-year period beginning in FY1992, and has already disbursed about 700 billion yen in the first three years up to FY1994. Thirdly, in order to develop technologies to promote environmental protection and economic growth in a harmonious way, and to transfer such technologies to developing countries, the Japanese Government invited the UNEP International Environmental Technology Center (UNEP/IETC) to Japan, subsidized expenses for environmental projects, and provided ODA for the establishment of environmental conservation centers in a number of countries, including China, Thailand and Indonesia. Fourthly, Japan has been supporting the Global Environment Facility (GEF) since its inception. The GEF is a funding mechanism that supports developing countries as they tackle global environmental problems. Japan has contributed roughly 45 billion yen to the GEF Trust Fund, approximately 20% of the total amount of the first replenishment scheduled for a three-year period beginning in July 1994.
In addition to participating in global environmental efforts, Japan has also been promoting regional cooperation such as APEC and cooperating in the East Asian region, in light of the possibility that environmental degradation will worsen in the East Asian region, which is experiencing rapid economic growth. Japan has also been exchanging views and coordinating policies through bilateral policy dialogues with the United States, the EU, China and other countries. Japan will further strengthen such efforts in the future.
With the world's population now exceeding 5.75 billion, overpopulation is one of the most urgent issues facing humankind today. In developing countries, in particular, tremendous population increase hinders economic and social development. Over population also affects the global environment, by exacerbating desertification and global warming.
The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in September 1994, adopted a Programme of Action which offers guidelines on dealing with population problems over the following two decades. In February 1994, prior to the Conference, Japan announced, as part of its Global Issues Initiative (GII), a pledge of US$3 billion in ODA over the seven-year period from FY1994 to FY2000, to help developing countries address population issues and AIDS.
The ICPD Programme of Action stresses the importance of education, development and improvement of the status of women in coping with population issues. Through its Global Issues Initiative, Japan offers assistance for projects directly related to population problems (such as family planning and maternal and infant healthcare). Moreover, in light of the fact that population growth is closely related to social and economic development as a whole, Japan also takes a comprehensive approach which includes projects indirectly related to population growth (such as basic health care, improved elementary school education for girls, and vocational training).
Japan has been actively participating in multilateral efforts to address population issues, and has been the largest contributor to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) since 1986.
The spread of AIDS is a serious problem affecting the entire world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that an accumulated total of about 20 million people had been infected with the HIV virus by the end of June 1995. The WHO has also reported that some 6,000 people are becoming infected each day. With the number of infected persons increasing so quickly in Asia, WHO forecasts indicate that the number of newly infected people in the region could one day surpass that seen in Africa.
AIDS, in addition to being a source of great distress to the human race, also hinders the economic development of many developing countries. AIDS is a common issue for all humanity, to be dealt with urgently worldwide. This recognition was shared both at the Tenth International Conference on AIDS, held in Yokohama in August 1994, and at the AIDS Summit, held in Paris in December of the same year. As part of the growing international efforts, six United Nations organizations combating AIDS launched the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in January 1996, with a view to initiating more effective joint measures against AIDS.
b) Human Rights, Social Development, and Women
i) Human Rights Issues
- Efforts by the International Community
Human rights issues have increasingly gained international attention in recent years, and various measures have been taken in accordance with the Vienna Declaration and Plan of Action, which was adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights in June 1993.
The United Nations has been adopting resolutions in such fora as the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights, urging States which committed serious violations of human rights to improve their human rights situations, and has also been adopting international human rights standards, including human rights conventions. Moreover, in recent years, 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 the human rights situation. For example, the U.N. Center for Human Rights supports the human rights activities of the countries concerned at the requests by sending experts to promote advisory services and holding seminars for training public service personnel.
The U.N. Decade for Human Rights Education, which proclaimed the ten-year period beginning on 1 January 1995, is devoted to activities for universal protection and promotion of human rights. Through the ten-year period until 2004, progress should be achieved towards this goal in every part of the world, with educational programs being promoted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as the focal point and other U.N. organizations, human rights institutions in different parts of the world, national and local governments, and other organizations. As part of these efforts, in December 1995, the Government of Japan established the Headquarters for the Promotion of the Plan of Action of the U.N. Decade for Human Rights Education, chaired by the Prime Minister.
- Japan's Human Rights Diplomacy
Guided by the belief that human rights are universal and that respect for human rights serves as a foundation for world peace and prosperity, Japan has seized opportunities to convey its concerns to countries that have problems in regard to human rights, calling on them to improve their situations. Also, in implementing its ODA programs, Japan reviews its aid policies toward countries in which serious human rights violations are found, in light of its ODA Charter.
In terms of cooperation with the United Nations, Japan has been a member of the U.N. Commission for Human Rights ever since 1982, and has most willingly contributed to the strengthening of U.N. human rights activities.
In July 1995, Japan and the United Nations University jointly sponsored the "Symposium on Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region" to study the possibility of international cooperation to protect and promote human rights in the Asia-Pacific region. As the cultural heritages of various parts of the region exhibit tremendous diversity, perhaps more than in other parts of the world, countries in the region interpret human rights in different ways. Gatherings such as the Seminar thus offer opportunities to develop a common awareness of human rights.
On 15 December 1995, Japan concluded the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. This development was significant, as it showed Japan's will to eliminate racial discrimination toward people at home and abroad and also contributed to the international community's drive to foster universal respect for human rights.
ii) Social Development
Issues such as poverty, unemployment and alienation of the socially disadvantaged have not been dealt with in depth in international fora, though those issues are evident not only in the developing countries but also in the industrialized countries. Since the end of the Cold War, international awareness that the international community should combine efforts to address such social problems has been heightened. The World Summit for Social Development was held in Copenhagen, Denmark on 11-12 March 1995, in accordance with a General Assembly resolution, in order to express a political determination in this regard at the highest level. The Summit was attended by Heads of State and Government from 118 countries, including Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama of Japan. In adopting the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and Programme of Action, the leaders demonstrated their posture to enhance international efforts for social development. Japan's contributions to the Summit were significant; Japan advocated, since the preparatory stages of the Summit, that the issue of the realization of social justice as a prerequisite for social development should be taken up as a major subject of the Summit. Prime Minister Murayama stated that Japan would place special emphasis on social development projects in its ODA programs, promoting technical assistance in such areas as education and vocational training, and increasing assistance for women in developing countries.
The Fourth World Conference on Women was held in Beijing, China in September 1995, ten years after the World Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The Conference adopted the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action. The Platform for Action identified 12 critical areas of concern, including poverty, education, health, human rights and violence, and indicated measures and actions to be taken by governments, the United Nations and other bodies towards the year 2000. The Conference thus provided great momentum for international and national efforts to advance the status of women.
Japan was represented by Chief Cabinet Secretary and Minister for Women's Affairs Koken Nosaka. His statement stressed three points: the importance of the empowerment of women, respect for the human rights of women, and the promotion of partnership between women and men, between NGOs and governments, and across international borders. He also announced Japan's intention to promote the Initiative on Women in Development (WID), as Japan's international contribution to the empowerment of women.
With the belief that violence against women must be addressed by the international community as a whole, and as a follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and the Platform for Action, Japan proposed to the Third Committee of the 50th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations the Resolution on the Role of the United Nations Development Fund for Women in Eliminating Violence Against Women, which was adopted by consensus.
c) Narcotics, International Crime, and Terrorism
The world's major drug-producing areas are scattered across different parts of the globe. Heroin is produced in the so-called Golden Triangle, located in parts of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, and in the so-called Golden Crescent, located in parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. In recent years, heroin has also been produced in Peru, Columbia and other parts of Latin America. Cocaine is produced in Peru, Bolivia, Columbia and other countries, and is smuggled into Europe, North America and Japan in increasing amounts.
In response to this international problem, Japan has been active in its contributions to the United Nations, particularly to its International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), placing emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region.
In March 1992, a proposal by Japan led to the opening of a UNDCP regional center for Southeast Asia in Bangkok. The center has vigorously promoted the formulation of joint projects in the Golden Triangle and other border areas. Meanwhile, the Governments of Thailand and other countries where drugs are produced have started to tackle the problem in earnest. Japan has increased its assistance for the activities of the UNDCP, including those of the regional center in Bangkok, with a contribution of US$6 million for FY1995. Japan has also enhanced its cooperation with the Dublin Group, which confers on such matters as the assistance policies which industrialized countries employ in pursuit of the fight against drugs; Japan chaired the Group during 1995.
Japan also provides financial assistance to the Colombo Plan for its training of people who will join the fight against drugs in Asia, and to the Inter-American Commission for Drug Abuse Control (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS), which plays a pivotal role in combating drugs in Latin America.
At the bilateral level, during 1995 Japan provided training in methods to fight the spread of drugs, and assisted Myanmar and other countries in their efforts to increase production of food crops as a replacement for plants used to produce narcotics. Also in 1995, the Narcotics Working Group was held as part of Common Agenda activities within the Japan-U.S. Framework Talks, to discuss Japan-U.S. global cooperation in the fight against drugs.
ii) International Crime
The last few years have seen a rise in organized crime, white collar crime and other forms of criminal activity on the international stage, and the international community now recognizes that it must join forces in addressing the problem.
Japan has consistently been chosen as a member of the U.N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice since its inception in 1992, and has been actively participating in the Commission's decision-making process. Also, taking into consideration that the extent to which a country controls firearms within its own borders can greatly affect the situation in other countries, Japan presented to the Ninth U.N. Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held in Cairo in the spring of 1995, a resolution entitled Firearms Regulation for the Purposes of Crime Prevention and Public Safety. Adoption of this resolution resulted in the conducting of a research project on firearms regulation under United Nations auspices, to study the situation regarding firearms regulations, crime using firearms, and their distribution in various countries. Japan has been contributing to this project, including the contribution of about US$160,000 to cover part of the research expenses and the dispatch of experts to assist in the planning of research activities.
The June 1995 Halifax Summit Chairman's Statement encouraged the Governments of G-7 countries and Russia to cooperate in fighting transnational organized crime. Japan has actively participated in discussions at two expert meetings which were held in 1995 as a follow-up to the Summit.
Gaining inspiration from discussions of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), many countries have taken measures to prevent the laundering of illegal proceeds obtained through trade in narcotics and other nefarious means. Japan, too, has been active in its support for this process, and contributed to the holding of the Third Money Laundering Symposium in Asia in Tokyo in December 1995.
Terrorism is an extremely serious international problem, impeding development of a new post-Cold War framework for peace and prosperity and posing a direct threat to public safety. Among the many terrible terrorist incidents which occurred during 1995 were the Tokyo subway sarin gas incident (March), the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building in the United States (April), a number of bombing incidents in France (July-October), and other terrorist acts threatening the peace process in the Middle East, including the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel (November). These terrorist incidents underscored the importance of international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
In accordance with an agreement reached at the Halifax G-7 Summit, ministers in charge of public security and other government representatives from the G-7 countries and Russia gathered at the Ministerial Meeting on Terrorism in Ottawa in December 1995. Delegates adopted the Ottawa Ministerial Declaration on Countering Terrorism, and agreed to strengthen cooperative measures. Takashi Fukaya, Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, who represented Japan at the meeting, drew upon the experience of the subway sarin gas incident in Tokyo, and proposed to strengthen measures against terrorism using chemical or biological weapons. This proposal obtained broad support from the participants.
The basic principles confirmed repeatedly at annual G-7 Summit meetings are to firmly condemn and combat all forms of terrorism, to make no concessions to terrorists, and to apply the rule of law so that terrorists will be brought to justice. These principles form the basis of Japan's firm stand against terrorism.
International procedures have been taken for the arrest of more than ten members of the Japanese Red Army. In March, one prominent member was discovered in hiding in Romania, and was arrested in that country with the cooperation of the Romanian Government.
Though the Cold War has come to an end, the frequent outbreak of regional conflicts, which are mainly attributable to ethnic or religious antagonism in many parts of the world, has been producing huge numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons for years. As of the end of 1994, the world's refugee population was estimated at about 30 million.
The refugee problem is not just a humanitarian concern. It is also one of the global issues which may have a great influence not only on the peace and stability of the countries of refugees' origin and of the regions where they stay, but also eventually on the peace and stability of the entire world. Therefore, the international community must make concerted efforts towards the solution of the problem. Concerning assistance for refugees and displaced persons, the scheme of bilateral assistance has limitations due to the political, ethnic or religious background of the particular situation, and relevant international organizations, such as the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), are playing an active role in this field on a neutral and impartial ground.
Although there was no new major migration of refugees during 1995, the attention of the world has still been drawn to the plight of the approximately two million Burundian/Rwandan refugees, as well as that of three and a half million refugees and internally displaced persons of the former Yugoslavia. As far as the Burundian/Rwandan refugees are concerned, the UNHCR has continued to energetically engage in dialogue with asylum countries such as Zaire and Tanzania, in order to start repatriating refugees. Nevertheless, the slow progress of their repatriation requires further efforts by the international community. As for the refugees of the former Yugoslavia, with the conclusion of a peace agreement in December 1995, full-scale repatriation through the efforts of the international community is slated to begin from the spring of 1996. The current situation, however, offers no optimistic prospect, since the problem of rehabilitating and reconstructing an entire society destroyed by conflict remains.
Japan regards the humanitarian assistance for refugees and displaced persons as one of the pillars of Japan's contribution to world peace and prosperity, and has therefore been playing an active role as a major donor for the UNHCR and other international organizations relating to humanitarian aid for refugees. In 1995, Japan, together with the UNHCR, constructed a refugee center in the Republic of Croatia of the former Yugoslavia. Currently this center is being managed by a Japanese staff. In addition, Japan also provides strong support for the activities of Japanese NGOs which are increasing their role in the field today.
a) The Importance of International Cultural Exchanges and Cooperation
Now that the international community is searching for a new international order in the post-Cold War era, it is becoming increasingly important to deepen understanding of different cultures and to foster mutual respect for these differences. Furthermore, to create a new world society which is fair and affluent, it is necessary to promote the further development of a world culture through amiable contacts among different cultures.
On Japan's part, it is important to accurately deliver, through its cultural activities, the viewpoints and ways of thinking of the Japanese people, thus promoting a balanced understanding of Japan, a country that has long tended to be recognized mainly for its economy. Further enrichment and fostering of cultures in the world enriches and benefits Japanese society. In this regard, too, Japan must be active in its contributions in the cultural field to the international community.
It has been with these points in mind that Japan has been promoting various forms of international cultural exchange and cooperation. One recent example is the October 1995 inauguration of the Japan Foundation Asia Center, which is dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and cultural cooperation among the countries of Asia. This project was implemented as part of Japan's Peace, Friendship and Exchange Initiative, which was announced in commemoration of the 50th year since the end of the war.
b) Promoting Mutual Understanding
i) Introducing Cultures to One Another
The Japanese Government assists programs which offer opportunities for people overseas to learn about Japanese culture, and for Japanese people to learn about the cultures of other countries. For example, Japanese embassies sponsor demonstrations of Japanese martial arts, Japanese doll exhibitions and many other events, and, mainly through the Japan Foundation, sponsor performances of Japanese performing arts and exhibitions, and promote the showing of Japanese films and television programs. During 1995, the Japanese Government supported events presenting many aspects of Japanese culture, some of the most notable of which were "Japan in Italy 1995-1996," a series of events in commemoration of the "Centenary of Friendship between Japan and Brazil," "Today's Japan Harbour Front Festival" (in Canada), and "Japan-Indonesia Friendship Festival 1995," to introduce various Japanese cultural forms.
ii) Assistance for Japanese-language Education and Japanese Studies
A survey conducted in 1993 showed that about 1.62 million people in 99 countries and regions outside Japan were studying the Japanese language. In order to further encourage the learning of Japanese abroad, the Japanese Government has been engaged in dispatching experts in Japanese-language education, in providing training in Japan to people teaching Japanese language overseas, and in donating teaching materials. The effectiveness of these programs will be raised through the establishment of the Japan Foundation Japanese Language Institute in Kansai, now under construction and due to be completed at the end of 1996, which will offer advanced Japanese-language training, and through further improvements to Japanese-language Centers (currently, such Centers are located in six places overseas).
Japanese Studies abroad generally concentrated in the past on fields such as literature and history, but students now pursue other fields including the study of modern Japan, such as economics. The Japanese Government assists these efforts, mindful that it will help promote understanding of Japan, by sending visiting professors and lecturers to universities and research institutions overseas, and inviting young researchers to Japan.
iii) Personal Contacts and Exchanges
Personal contacts and exchanges are the basis of mutual understanding between nations. Various personal contacts and exchanges, from young people to intellectuals who represent their countries, have been promoted.
More than 50,000 foreign students were studying in Japan at the time covered by a survey done in 1995. The Japanese Government encourages this in a number of ways, recognizing that accepting students to Japan will contribute to mutual understanding and friendship, thereby fostering a better understanding of Japan abroad. Under the Japan Study Tour Program for Youth, Japan invites groups of promising young people from all over the world with a view to promoting mutual understanding. Under the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, more than 17,000 young people from foreign countries have come to Japan during the decade since the program's inception. JET participants are involved primarily in teaching foreign languages at junior and senior high schools throughout Japan, and have been greatly facilitating international exchanges at the local level.
Exchanges among intellectual leaders, such as scholars, researchers and cultural figures, not only help foster mutual understanding, but also could provide an important basis for fashioning a new international order. In this light, Japan promotes these exchanges in a variety of ways. It also encourages sports exchanges, sending experts in the sporting field overseas and inviting others to Japan, and supporting major international sporting events, including the Olympics. In this regard, on 21 February 1995, the Cabinet gave its approval to the invitation extended by the Football Association of Japan to hold the FIFA World Cup Tournament in Japan in the year 2002.
c) International Cooperation in the Cultural Field
i) Preservation of Cultural Heritage
In all too many cases throughout the world, rapid economic growth and social changes threaten the existence of ancient monuments, cultural assets and traditional culture. Mindful of the need to conserve these tangible and intangible cultural assets for future generations, the Japanese Government provides assistance through the Japanese Trust Fund for the Preservation of the World Cultural Heritage (established within UNESCO in 1989) for efforts to preserve the Angkor monuments in Cambodia, the Hanyuan Hall of the Daming Palace in China, and other monuments located mainly in Asia. Emphasizing the importance of human resource developments, particularly for the preservation of the Angkor monuments, Japanese specialists in such fields as architecture and archaeology are working with Cambodian specialists to preserve the Angkor monuments.
Since 1993, Japan has also been contributing financially to the UNESCO Japanese Trust Fund for the Preservation and Promotion of Intangible Cultural Heritage, thereby helping to preserve intangible cultural heritage mainly in Asian countries, such as traditional dance, music, and the making of lacquer ware and ceramics. As part of such efforts, the Government sponsored the International Conference on the Preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia and the Pacific Region, in Tokyo in September 1995.
ii) Assistance for Cultural Development in Developing Regions
The Japanese Government provides developing countries with cultural grants for the purchase of materials needed to promote cultural and educational activities. During FY1994, grants totaling 2.5 billion yen were awarded for 58 projects. The Government also dispatches Japanese specialists to developing countries and offers training programs for their specialists, cooperating to foster human resources in many different cultural fields in developing countries.
a) International Assistance for Nuclear Safety
The Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in 1986 indicated the urgent need to ensure the safety of nuclear reactors in what was then the Soviet Union and in Central and Eastern Europe. This became a preoccupation of the G-7 in the post-Cold War era. Subsequent to Ukrainian President Kuchma's announcement in April 1995 that the Chernobyl reactors would be closed by the year 2000, the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Governments of the G-7 Countries and the Commission of European Countries and the Government of Ukraine (MOU) was signed in December. The G-7 countries, international financial institutions, and Ukraine are holding consultations to follow up the Memorandum of Understanding to support the closure of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant by the year 2000.
Japan has also been participating in an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) program to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants in countries of the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe, and in missions to assess the safety of nuclear power plants. In another development, the Summit on Nuclear Safety and Security is to be held in April 1996 in Moscow, as proposed by President Yeltsin of Russia at the Halifax Summit in June 1995.
One action calling out for attention is the early entry into force of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the first international agreement on nuclear power plant safety, which Japan acceded to in May 1995. (The Convention was adopted in 1994, but has not yet come into effect.) Japan is also an active participant in work being done within the IAEA, in order to formulate the Convention on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management and on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management.
Another matter of concern was Russia's dumping of radioactive wastes in the Sea of Japan. Negotiations between Japan and Russia led to agreement on Japan's cooperation with Russia in the construction of a facility to process low-level radioactive liquid waste in Russia's Far Eastern Region (the contract was signed in January 1996). Construction of the facility is expected to prevent a future recurrence of the problem.
b) Japan's Nuclear Fuel Recycling Policy
Spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants contains such substances as plutonium that can be reused as nuclear fuel. With a view to using natural resources effectively and ensuring a stable supply of energy by nuclear power generation, Japan plans to establish a nuclear fuel recycling system to reprocess spent fuel and recover plutonium. In pursuing this policy, it is important that Japan obtains from other countries the understanding that nuclear fuel recycling has important international benefits, and that Japan's use of nuclear power is safe and for peaceful purposes only.
Much international concern was shown during the period from February to April 1995, when vitrified high-level radioactive waste was first returned to Japan. During this period, Japan remained in contact with countries concerned, and made every effort to obtain their understanding by explaining its nuclear fuel recycling policy and the measures being taken to ensure safe transport of the waste. Japan recognizes the need to continue to make further efforts in this regard.
a) Science and Technology for the International Community
The importance of international cooperation in scientific and technological fields has long been recognized. The international community has regarded these fields even more highly in recent years because of the potential they offer in solving environmental problems and other global issues, and because the end of the Cold War presents new opportunities for cooperation between the nations of the former Eastern and Western blocs.
The military establishment of the former Soviet Union accumulated enormous human and material resources in the field of science and technology. One important issue requiring the international community's immediate attention is the peaceful use of these human and material resources. On another front, the United States, the postwar world leader in the scientific field, is working with industrialized countries and other nations to promote international cooperation on large-scale scientific projects, through discussions in such fora as the OECD.
Parallel to the above-mentioned cooperation between countries of the former Eastern and Western blocs and among industrialized countries is the growing momentum in recent years to promote scientific and technological cooperation between developed and developing countries. At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers' Conference on Regional Science and Technology Cooperation, held in Beijing in October 1995, the focus was on each country's scientific and technological policies, identification of priority areas for cooperation and joint projects to be promoted within the APEC region. Conclusions reached through discussion were embodied in a Joint Communiqué.
For Japan, which has attained the world's highest standards in the field of science and technology, the circumstances described above represent an excellent opportunity to play a major international role. Other countries expect this of Japan, too.
b) International Cooperation in Science and Technology
i) Bilateral Cooperation
At present, Japan has agreements on scientific and technological cooperation with more than 20 countries, and regularly holds bilateral meetings with these and other countries to discuss policy measures regarding science and technology, to select areas suitable for joint research, and to determine ways to promote cooperation. These meetings are held at various times throughout the year. The first meeting of Japan-United Kingdom Joint Committee on Cooperation in Science and Technology was held in December 1995, to follow up on an agreement concluded by Japan and the U.K. in June 1994.
ii) Multilateral Cooperation
Japan, the United States, the European Union and Russia established the International Science and Technology Center in March 1994, with a view to supporting research projects for peaceful purposes for scientists and engineers who had been involved in programs for weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. The Center's projects are being operated smoothly, with assistance worth the equivalent of about US$34 million having been pledged in 1995 for more than 100 projects. Cooperation among Japan, the U.S., the EU and Russia is evident elsewhere as well, in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project.
The Space Station Program is a cooperative project for peaceful purposes being pursued by Japan, the United States, Member States of the European Space Agency, and Canada. In response to Russia's 1993 announcement of its acceptance of the joint invitation to join this program, all five parties are presently studying the conditions that should be set for Russia's participation.
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