Chapter I.
General Overview-The International Community and Japan's Foreign Policy in 1997

A. Overview

1. The international community in 1997

Only three years remain of the 20th century, a century of upheavals and dramatic changes. With the collapse of the Cold War structure which dominated the international community for almost 40 years in the latter half of the century, and the new century just a step ahead, the critical task engaging the international community in the 1990s has been the construction of a new and stable international order to replace the Cold War structure.

Soon after the international community celebrated the end of the Cold War and looked forward to a rosy future, we found that the post-Cold War world brought with it post-Cold War issues, among them the frequent outbreak of regional conflicts-previously suppressed by the Cold War structure-based on ethnic, religious and other grounds, as well as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which could be described as by-products of the East-West arms race. While we need to overcome these and the various other issues facing the international community, we also need to engage more actively in the task of building an international order, going beyond such concepts as "after the Cold War" and "the post-Cold War era"-ways of thinking that have the Cold War as their baseline-as eight years have already elapsed since the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and six since the collapse of the former Soviet Union. This will mean positioning the new international order as the foundation for the human activities of the human race toward our further advancement in the 21st century, and working steadily toward the establishment of that order.

We have yet to perceive the whole picture of an international order that could promise us a peaceful and prosperous 21st century. However, through the multi-tiered development of cooperative relations on a bilateral, intraregional, interregional and global scale, the members of the international community continue to move forward toward the construction of a stable international order.

2. Toward the construction of a new order

Surveying international developments during 1997 with this course of events in mind, a number of noteworthy trends emerge. As a whole, the developments described below would seem to suggest that the world is entering into a new phase in the construction of a new order.

Looking first to the Asia-Pacific region, the presence of the United States continues to be a critical factor in ensuring the peace and prosperity of the region, with no change at all in this situation. At the same time, special note should be made of the unprecedented vigor of diplomatic activity in 1997 among the region's four main players, namely Japan, the United States, China and Russia. In addition to the string of visits among leaders, dialogue and exchange proceeded in a wide range of areas and at various levels, further strengthening the bilateral ties among them. All four countries play a key role in the stability and prosperity of the region, and stable relations among them serve as a vital foundation for the security, stability and prosperity of the entire region. In 1997, as each of these players pursued its respective foreign policy goals, they also remained mindful of their respective roles in the creation of a new order in the Asia-Pacific region and worked to ensure stable mutual relations. Naturally, development of a new order in the Asia-Pacific region does not depend solely on these four countries; all of the countries in the region continued to engage in this effort both independently and jointly. The first Four-Party Meeting on the Korean Peninsula, the decision to allow Russia and a few other countries to join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the expansion of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) are all worthy of particular mention as moves contributing to the new order mentioned above.

Looking to Europe, a protocol was signed on the accession of three Central and Eastern European countries to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), marking major progress in the process of NATO enlargement. The accession of former Communist bloc countries to NATO marks a change in the nature of NATO, which had in the past functioned as a military alliance in opposition to the Communist bloc, and is a definite step toward the creation of a security framework for the new era. There were also a number of significant events that helped determine the shape of further deepening and enlargement of the European Union (EU), including the selection of candidates for accession negotiations (among them Central and Eastern European countries) and conclusion of the Amsterdam Treaty, widening the scope of common policies of the EU. In this sense, Europe, too, saw fundamental change in 1997 in a framework formerly premised upon the Cold War.

3. Utilizing new opportunities and responding to challenges

While the search for a new international order continues, two major tides have emerged in the international community today: deepening interdependence and accelerating globalization. Against such a backdrop, new challenges were posed for the international community in 1997, raising the question of how to respond appropriately.

As noted in the Communique issued at the Denver Summit of the Eight in June, further integration of the global economy will provide the international community with opportunities for increased prosperity, through such factors as the promotion of competition and the spread of technological innovations. Moreover, deepening economic interdependence through trade and investment will draw countries more strongly toward a stable international order, thus having a positive impact on the security environment. On the other hand, the rapid progress of globalization in recent years has created a situation in which a problem arising in one country can spread more easily and more swiftly to other countries, the surrounding region and even across the globe. Ensuring prosperity in the 21st century will hinge upon how the international community responds on a regional and global basis to each specific event which could have transborder repercussions, and whether the international community as a whole can successfully ride the wave of globalization to fully exploit opportunities for development.

The most striking example of a new challenge was the economic crisis in Asia. The plunge of the Thai baht in July affected the currency and financial markets of the Republic of Korea, Indonesia and other Asian economies, forcing each government to undertake difficult economic management. The effects of this economic crisis were not confined to Asia; a wave of uncertainty swept across the globe, causing temporary drops in stock prices on major stock markets such as New York and London.

The high level of economic growth achieved by the East Asian countries-once described as the "Asian miracle"-was both the fruit of the efforts of the countries involved and also the product of an increasingly integrated world market which has facilitated free and vigorous trade and investment. Amidst increasing globalization, the East Asian countries all reaped maximum benefits from this situation. On the other hand, the instantaneous transmission of information and the integration of financial markets brought about by globalization undoubtedly amplified the extent of the crisis. The quick response, for example, by European and North American stock markets points to the increasingly common perception that economic confusion in a certain country or region will eventually arrive on one's own doorstep, a perception based on a strong awareness of the economic interdependence among the countries of the world. With regard to the current crisis, Japan, as Asia's largest economic power, as well as those European and North American countries with close economic ties to Asia, are endeavoring to find a solution. A joint response by the international community, as seen in this case, is vital in coping with such new challenges stemming from globalization, and lessons must be drawn from this experience. Moreover, while fully exploiting the opportunities provided by globalization, we will also need to engage actively in, for example, creating international cooperative mechanisms to prevent contagion from this kind of crisis. "A New Framework for Enhanced Asian Regional Cooperation To Promote Financial Stability" (the Manila Framework) is one such new mechanism that contributes to creating the stable international order referred to earlier.

4. Multiplying global issues

At the same time, there is a growing number of transborder issues which demand a response from the international community as a whole. These are also closely linked with the conclusion of the Cold War and the tide of globalization.

Important progress was made in 1997 in relation to the global environment, which has come to epitomize global issues. The Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Environment and Development in June and the Third Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Kyoto Conference on Global Warming) in December, as a result, mapped out an outline of the efforts to be made by the international community on this issue.

The incidents of terrorism which have been occurring frequently around the world are to some extent a post-Cold War issue, and need to be addressed by the united efforts of the international community. In 1997, large-scale terrorist incidents took place in countries such as Peru, Israel, Sri Lanka and Egypt; at the same time, counter-terrorism efforts by the international community also made progress, including discussions among Heads of State at the Denver Summit and the adoption of the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings.

Interest also increased in transnational crime prevention and crackdowns. This issue has become increasingly complex in recent years as a result of factors such as the increasing technological sophistication of criminal acts and a rise in organized crime, and resolution will hinge on coordinated international efforts. The issue has been designated as one of the central themes for the 1998 Summit, where Heads of State should demonstrate leadership on this issue based on the results of discussion among experts from the G-8 countries throughout 1997.

Furthermore, in the area of arms control and non-proliferation, international opinion in 1997 became stronger than ever in calling for a total ban on anti-personnel land mines. This led to the adoption of the so-called Total Ban Treaty on Anti-Personnel Land Mines (Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling and Production of Anti-Personnel Mines and of Their Destruction), signed by more than 120 countries, including Japan. Progress was also made with regard to population and food supply, refugees and other such issues.

5. Japan's foreign policy in 1997

This section will survey developments in Japan's foreign policy during 1997, based on the international situation outlined above, preceded by a brief explanation of the goals of Japan's foreign policy.

As the distance between the states making up the international community diminishes in a number of senses, and interdependence deepens, the security and prosperity of individual countries has become closely tied to the stability and prosperity of the world as a whole. A stable international environment has always been of crucial significance to Japan from a geopolitical and economic perspective; even today, with Japan's prodigious development in the arenas of international politics and the international economy, a peaceful and stable international environment is no less important for Japan. Moreover, Japan now wields a great deal of influence and responsibility as a major player in the international community. As such, Japan cannot be content simply to enjoy prosperity under the aegis of the system that orders the international community and to take this as a given. Japan must, and indeed, is being called upon to make efforts in many ways to engage actively in the construction of a desirable international order for Japan and the international community as a whole.

Given that the security and prosperity of Japan are closely linked to the stability and prosperity of the international community, the kind of international order sought by Japan and that sought by the international community have essentially the same orientation; moreover, it is Japan's duty to work to ensure consistency between these constructs. Keeping this point in sight, Japan must continue to develop a multi-faceted, multi-tiered foreign policy, the skeleton of which is as follows: (1) further deepening and strengthening of Japan-U.S. relations and other bilateral ties as the foundation for building a stable international order in the Asia-Pacific region; (2) contribution to the promotion of various regional cooperation frameworks which supplement these bilateral ties; and (3) active participation in global efforts to respond to challenges shared by the international community.

Looking back at Japan's foreign policy in the light of the international developments during 1997 that were described earlier, in terms of building a new international order toward the 21st century, steady progress has been made toward maintaining and strengthening stable relations with the various countries on the North Pacific Rim, which are of crucial importance to Japan's security. From Japan's point of view, the vigorous diplomatic activity referred to earlier among Japan, the United States, Russia and China has produced more striking results than ever before, including three Summits with the United States and two Summits each with China and Russia, as well as foreign ministers' meetings and security dialogues. Looking first at relations with the United States, the axis of Japan's foreign policy, Japan-U.S. cooperative relations were strengthened still further through, for example, the new "Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation" issued in September. Japan also succeeded in further developing friendly relations with China, with whom Japan celebrated the 25th anniversary of the normalization of relations through mutual visits by top leaders and steady progress on a working level, including the signing of a new fisheries agreement. Important steps were also made toward full normalization of relations between Japan and Russia, with agreement at the November Summit in Krasnoyarsk that both countries would do their utmost toward conclusion of a peace treaty by the year 2000 based on the Tokyo Declaration.

In addition, a new concept in Japan's foreign policy was announced by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto in July-"Eurasian diplomacy." This concept is based on recognition of the need to greatly expand the horizons of Japan's foreign policy by introducing "Eurasian diplomacy from a Pacific perspective," as befits a country at the far eastern reaches of the Eurasian continent. (By contrast, Europe's moves toward developing a new economic and security order around the EU and NATO have been characterized by "Eurasian diplomacy from an Atlantic perspective.") Eurasian diplomacy will add new dynamism, as well, in terms of building closer ties with countries such as China, the Republic of Korea and Russia, and improving relations with North Korea. It will also be important as a basis for working toward stronger relations with the countries along the Silk Road, which have been attracting attention since the end of the Cold War both for their geopolitical importance and their potential in terms of energy supply.

Next, in the context of new challenges, the Asian economic situation has become one of the most crucial tasks in Japan's foreign policy. Since this problem arose, Japan has continued to convey to the Asian countries directly concerned as well as to the rest of the international community the clear message that the economic fundamentals of the region remain firm and that the potential for economic growth can be realized through measures such as economic restructuring and improved transparency. Moreover, Japan has announced assistance measures for the Asian countries, and has also participated actively in the creation of an international assistance framework.

This new challenge has demanded a quick and unerring response from Japan as the largest economic power in Asia, and Japan, given the root cause of the crisis, the way in which it spread, and the severity of the ensuing turmoil, has acted with maximum energy and responsibility. At the same time, Japan has been made keenly aware of the need not to treat the crisis as a temporary phenomenon, but rather to analyze accurately the causes of the crisis, thereby making use of the lessons learned. From this perspective, as the largest economic entity in Asia and the third largest economic power in the world, Japan will bear a heavy responsibility for making use of the new opportunities and responding to the new challenges of globalization toward the further development of the world economy.

Japan has also made various contributions to efforts by the international community to address global environmental issues, as a responsible member of that community. In this particular area, Japan hosted the Third Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto and, as Chair, led the meeting to a successful conclusion, which was one of the most significant achievements of Japan's diplomacy in 1997. The seizure of the Japanese Ambassador's Residence in Peru, a prolonged disturbance which started in December 1996 and was not resolved until April 1997, pressed Japan to make some extremely difficult choices. However, this experience is being put to use in international efforts to prevent terrorism. In the area of arms control and disarmament, Japan signed the Total Ban Treaty on Anti-Personnel Land Mines in December, and also elected to offer around 10 billion yen over five years for demining efforts and the support of land mine victims. Japan also made proactive efforts such as deciding not to apply the three principles on arms exports and their collateral policy guidelines, to clear the way for export of the equipment needed for humanitarian demining activities.

In this section, international developments and Japan's foreign policy in 1997 have been surveyed with an eye to characteristic trends. Main trends in 1997 are further elaborated in the rest of Chapter I, with the remainder of the Diplomatic Bluebook devoted to a detailed analysis of international developments and Japan's foreign policy.

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