This publication is the English translation of the Gaiko Seisho 1997 (1997 Diplomatic Bluebook), originally published in Japanese.
The Diplomatic Bluebook is an annual report on Japan's foreign policy and activities published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. The period covered by the 1997 Diplomatic Bluebook is, in principle, from 1 January 1996 to 31 December 1996.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hopes that this publication will help readers both in Japan and abroad who are interested in Japan's foreign policy and diplomatic activities.

On Publishing the 1997 Diplomatic Bluebook

Only a few years from the 21st century, the international community continues to work steadily toward realizing a more secure and more prosperous world. The end of the Cold War has greatly reduced the likelihood of large-scale warfare between the East and West, but, at the same time, with the international community facing a host of new issues such as regional conflict, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, refugees and environmental problems, the road to the 21st century is far from smooth.
While it is often said that the international community of the post-Cold War era is in flux and that its future bears many uncertainties, the most basic characteristic of today's international community is the deepening of interdependent relations. It was from this perspective that this year's Diplomatic Bluebook was subtitled "Japan's Foreign Policy in a World of Deepening Interdependence." Through this publication, I hope that readers will gain an understanding of Japan's foreign policy, and the thinking behind it, toward Japan's major goals of realizing the peace and prosperity of both the world and of itself in an increasingly interdependent world.
The Diplomatic Bluebook has been published annually since 1957, with this year marking the 40th publication. As domestic and foreign policy become increasingly intertwined, I believe it is the obligation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain Japan's foreign policy activities as clearly and objectively as possible to the people. It would be most rewarding if this Diplomatic Bluebook helps to deepen your understanding of the international situation and Japan's diplomatic activities.

Yukihiko Ikeda
Minister for Foreign Affairs

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