Sectoral Analysis of the International Situation and Japan's Foreign Policy
C. Efforts toward the realization of a better global society
a) Strengthening international cooperation
The year 1997 witnessed such incidents as the seizure of the Japanese Ambassador's Residence in Peru, which dragged on for 127 days from the outbreak in December 1996 to the resolution in April through a rescue operation by Peruvian Special Forces (refer to Chapter I, Part D and Chapter III, Part C); a series of bombings in Israel in March, July and September; a bombing incident in Colombo, Sri Lanka in October; and an attack on tourists in Luxor, Egypt in November. The Luxor incident in particular led to about 60 deaths among foreign tourists and others, and more than 20 injured. (Of these, 10 Japanese citizens died and one was injured.)
These serious terrorist incidents highlighted more than ever the importance of international cooperation in combating terrorism. The eight Summit countries endeavored to implement the 25 practical measures to combat terrorism which were adopted at the Ministerial Conference on Terrorism in Paris in July 1996, and also took advantage of a number of occasions to call upon all the states of the international community to implement these measures. At the Denver Summit, leaders added six further measures, including strengthening the capability of hostage negotiation experts and counter-terrorism response units, etc.
The Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly began work in February to formulate a Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, which was set forth as one of the aforementioned 25 practical measures adopted at the Paris Ministerial Conference. The resulting Convention was adopted at the General Assembly plenary session in December.
b) Japan's efforts
The basic principles confirmed repeatedly at the annual G-7 Summits and other occasions 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. Japan views terrorism as a global issue, and is actively participating in international cooperation in counter-terrorism. The Peru and Luxor incidents also underlined for Japan that this cooperation is a serious matter directly related to Japan's own interests.
At the Denver Summit, Japan proposed the following measures based on the lessons of the Peru incident: cooperation in strengthening the capacity to respond to hostage incidents; closer exchange of information; promotion of regional cooperation; and a meeting of experts to look primarily at handling hostage incidents. Japan has since been making efforts to implement these measures.
In January, when Prime Minister Hashimoto visited the ASEAN countries, he proposed the establishment of a network between Japan and the ASEAN countries for the exchange of information and views on terrorism. The ASEAN countries agreed to this proposal, with the network launched in June. In part of Japan's efforts to promote regional cooperation in this area in the Asia-Pacific region, moreover, Japan held the Japan-ASEAN Counterterrorism Conference in Tokyo in October, inviting experts from the nine ASEAN member countries. Participants concurred as to the importance of strengthening cooperative systems for exchange of information, mechanisms for contact and cooperation when an incident actually occurred, etc.
Drawing on the lessons of the Peru incident, Japan itself has been working to strengthen Ministry of Foreign Affairs mechanisms for gathering and analyzing information on terrorism. Further, in light of the Luxor incident, etc., Japan has also been improving the provision of information to the general public on the high-risk areas of the world through, for example, issuance of "Travel Advice and Warning," containing information on crisis areas abroad, introduced in December after a review of the information previously supplied on foreign travel. (Refer to Chapter V, Part B, Section 1.)
Five members of the Japanese Red Army for whom international procedures had been taken were taken into custody in Lebanon in February. The first ruling in July sentenced all five to three years' imprisonment, after which they are to be deported. Japan is requesting that the Lebanon authorities transfer these five persons to the Japanese authorities as soon as Lebanon's legal procedures are completed. Another Japanese Red Army member for whom international procedures had been taken was taken into custody in Bolivia in November, deported, and subsequently arrested by Japanese police authorities.
Seven Japanese Red Army members for whom international procedures have been taken are still at large, as well as five suspected of having been involved in the hijacking of Flight Yodo.
a) Transnational organized crime
Transborder crimes committed by organized criminal groups have become an increasingly severe problem for the international community in recent years, bringing a corresponding importance to the strengthening of international cooperation mechanisms.
After the 1996 Lyon Summit, the Senior Experts' Group on Transnational Organized Crime of the Eight had considered measures to combat activities such as illicit trafficking in firearms and high-tech crimes, and reported on the results at the Denver Summit. At the Summit itself, leaders announced that they would further strengthen efforts to combat transnational organized crime, while the United Kingdom, chair of the 1998 Birmingham Summit, stated that this issue would rank alongside employment as a main item on the agenda. In view of this course of events, the Meeting of Justice and Interior Ministers of the Eight was held in Washington in December, focusing primarily on crime utilizing computer networks, the front line of the shift toward borderlessness, as well as transnational high-tech crime targeting such networks. The outcome of discussion was the adoption of a communique which includes a 10-point action plan of measures such as stipulating 24-hour contact points in the Eight in order to cooperate in responding in a timely manner to such crimes. This communique conveyed a strong political message from the Eight to private citizens of each country who should be protected from criminal organizations and crime, and also to members of the international community, which will engage in further cooperation in this area. It also provided guidelines toward the Birmingham Summit. In this process, Japan chairs a group on illicit trafficking in firearms, and has also engaged actively in formulation of joint counter-measures by the Eight against various crimes.
The United Nations, particularly the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), is dealing actively with drugs and other narcotics issues, which are posing an increasingly severe problem worldwide.
More specifically, a political declaration and the Global Programme of Action were adopted at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drug Abuse in 1990, advocating enhanced international cooperation on the prevention of illegal traffic in narcotics. At the subsequent Special Meeting held in 1993, Member States reaffirmed the high priority they placed on strengthening efforts to eradicate drugs, adopting a resolution aimed at strengthening fulfillment of the Global Programm of Action.
Another United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs is scheduled to be held 8-10 June 1998 to formulate a new narcotics strategy, with preparations continuing primarily through the Commission on Narcotic Drugs under the Economic and Social Council.
Based on these international efforts against drugs, Japan has actively supported the activities of the UNDCP and has also contributed millions of dollars annually since 1991, despite the strained domestic fiscal situation. Japan also contributes funds to and supports the activities of the Inter-American Commission for Drug Abuse Control (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS).
In addition, Japan is a member of the Dublin Group, a forum for consultations among developed countries on narcotics issues. Group meetings allow active information exchanges and consultations among these countries.
In October 1997, the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency was designated to conduct a maritime narcotics traffic seminar, one of the UNDCP programs on measures against narcotics. Around 20 personnel with maritime police authority were invited to Yokohama from the Asian countries and other areas.
a) Efforts by the international community and Japan
The protection of human rights and the promotion of democratization have become widely recognized as the foundation for world peace and prosperity among the international community. Various activities were witnessed in this area in 1997, with the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights just a year away.
The United Nations is engaged in a wide range of activities in order to improve the human rights situation in the world. In September, Mary Robinson (former President of Ireland) was appointed the second United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the functions of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights were strengthened as part of United Nations reforms in the fall. Democracy and human rights were dealt with as one of the issues at the Denver Summit.
To improve the state of human rights situations around the world, Japan actively participates in and supports United Nations human rights activities, as well as conveying its concerns through the Commission on Human Rights to countries where human rights problems are thought to exist. Japan also engages in dialogues on human rights and support for democratization.
Japan is active in support of United Nations human rights activities and supports the reform of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to make it more efficient. As for the financial side, Japan contributed approximately US$1.1 million dollars in 1997 to the various funds, including the Voluntary Fund for Advisory Service and Technical Cooperation, which the United Nations has set up to support countries' efforts to improve their respective human rights situations. Japan has been a member of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights since 1982, and participated actively in the discussions and considerations of resolutions at the fifty-third session as well, held over March and April 1997.
In 1997, Japan discussed human rights issues with other countries, taking the opportunity of consultations at various levels, and initiated the first Japan-China human rights dialogue in October. In addition, to raise awareness of human rights and promote regional dialogue, Japan has worked with the United Nations University since 1995 to hold the annual Symposium on Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region in Tokyo. (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson delivered the keynote speech at the third Symposium in January 1998.) Japan also engaged in efforts such as the creation of a National Plan of Action in regard to the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, which was subsequently submitted to the United Nations.
In regard to existing cooperation in democratization and the protection and promotion of human rights in developing countries, Japan has promoted the Partnership for Democratic Development (PDD) initiative, which includes support for establishing legal, judicial and electoral systems and the training of judicial and police officials.
b) Women and children
In terms of efforts to advance the status of women, Japan is actively participating in discussions and adoption of resolutions in the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women, at the forty-first session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, held in March. Japan also assists the women of the world through, for example, a contribution of approximately US$54 million in 1997 to such funds as the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the UNIFEM Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women, the latter of which was established by a Japanese initiative.
In addition, Japan contributed to cooperation toward protection of the rights of the world's children, promotion of child health care and education, and emergency aid, etc., through fora such as the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and UNICEF, with a total of approximately US$29 million contributed to UNICEF in 1997.
c) Social development
Japan has been a member of the United Nations Commission for Social Development since 1996. At the thirty-fifth session in February 1997, Japan worked for the promotion of employment, cooperating with other member states to follow up on the 1995 World Summit for Social Development. Moreover, Japan attaches importance to Social Development Assistance Programmes in ODA in such fields as medical treatment, health and education. The share of this area in bilateral ODA is increasing, with the level of 12.3 percent in 1991 growing to 20.9 percent in 1996.
a) International cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy
i) The Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan
Unit 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, which exploded in April 1986, was plugged with materials such as concrete immediately after the accident as a temporary measure. This "shelter" has deteriorated in recent years and is now in a critical situation. Over the last few years, considerations have been underway on construction of a new shelter, with experts from the G-7 countries and the Ukraine taking the lead. Stabilizing Unit 4 is a serious matter which also bears on implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding exchanged between the G-7 countries and the Ukraine concerning, inter alia, closure of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant by the year 2000, and 1997 saw significant progress in this regard.
Firstly, the G-7 countries and the Ukraine drew up in June a Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan costing roughly US$758 million. This was immediately followed by announcement at the Denver Summit that the G-7 countries would donate US$300 million to the project.
In November, a Chernobyl Pledging Conference was held in New York to gather funds from countries outside the G-7, and this was attended by Ukrainian President Kuchma and United States Vice President Gore. The first Assembly of Contributors to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, established within the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to cover project implementation, was held on 12 December, moving the project into the implementation phase. Japan participated in this meeting as a founding member.
Implementation of this project is extremely significant as a measure to tackle global issues of nuclear safety and the environment. Japan has played an important role in this project in conjunction with other G-7 countries.
ii) Seoul Conference on Nuclear Safety in Asia
In recent years, more and more Asian countries are expressing interest in introducing and expanding nuclear power generation. To promote regional cooperation on nuclear safety, Japan held the Tokyo Conference on Nuclear Safety in Asia in November 1996. This was followed by the Second Conference on Nuclear Safety in Asia, held in Seoul in October 1997. Participants exchanged views on issues such as improving nuclear safety, ensuring the transparency of nuclear power plans and regional cooperation in the event of an emergency. They also agreed to establish working groups on, for example, regional cooperation and national reports, based upon the Convention on Nuclear Safety.
iii) International cooperation through the IAEA
In the area of nuclear non-proliferation, programs for nuclear weapons in Iraq and North Korea drove the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to initiate work in 1993 on various guidelines for stronger and more efficient safeguard measures to ensure that nuclear materials are not put to military uses. As a result of the work, a model protocol was adopted at an ad-hoc IAEA Council meeting in May 1997. An additional protocol in line with this model is expected to be concluded between the IAEA and each country. (Japan will hold its first round of consultations with the IAEA in March 1998 toward conclusion of a protocol.)
There was also significant development in the area of nuclear safety. With the emerging recognition that safe management of radioactive waste and spent fuel generated from nuclear power plants, etc., is prerequisite for ensuring the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the IAEA initiated in 1995 work on the drafting of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. The completed Convention was adopted in September 1997, and opened for signature at the IAEA 41st General Conference held later that month.
b) International cooperation in science and technology
i) Science and technology and the international community
It is vital that the international community cooperates to amass outstanding science and technology in order to resolve the various issues facing the international community today, including environmental, energy and food-related issues. Japan, which has attained the world's highest standards in the field of science and technology, is expected to continue to play a key role in resolving these issues, making a contribution commensurate with its capabilities.
ii) Bilateral and multilateral science and technology cooperation
- 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 promote this cooperation. In September, Japan signed a new agreement on science and technology cooperation with Finland; this entered into force in December.
Japan also engages actively in bilateral consultations and information exchanges on state-of-the-art science and technology. For example, Japan and the United States have held consultations on civilian use of the Global Positioning System (GPS), agreeing at the third round of consultations in December to further considerations on establishing a framework for Japan-U.S. cooperation on the GPS.
- Multilateral cooperation
Multilateral science and technology cooperation has been of increasing importance in recent years as globalization has advanced. In 1994, Japan, the United States, the EU and Russia established the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) to offer research projects for peaceful purposes to scientists who were involved in programs building weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. It was decided that around US$155 million would be provided to support 494 projects by the end of 1997 (with Japan providing around US$26 million for 94 projects). Japan is also working with the United States, the EU and Russia on a joint R&D project on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) with the aim of harnessing nuclear fusion, thought to be the ultimate energy source for the human race. In 1997, engineering design activities in this regard were extended for three years, with cooperation continuing toward implementation.
In the life-science area, Japan promotes the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) together with the G-7 countries and others. At the intergovernmental meeting held in Washington in May, it was affirmed that members would boost their financial contributions in order to further promote the interdisciplinary nature of the program and research assistance activities focused on young researchers, both characteristics of the program. In terms of clone research, international cooperation is moving forward on prohibition of human cloning, as declared at the Denver Summit.
Turning to the area of space development, Japan is working with the United States, Canada, the European countries and Russia on the International Space Station plan, with assembly scheduled to begin in 1998. As part of the preparation for this, astronaut Takao Doi went into space in the Space Shuttle Colombia in November, becoming the first Japanese to conduct extravehicular activities. In addition, as part of Japan-U.S. cooperation, Japanese and U.S. measuring instruments were put aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite (TRMM), developed by the United States for global measurement, and the TRMM was launched by one of the Japanese H-II rockets.
Science and technology is also an important area within the APEC framework, with two meetings of the Working Group on Industrial Science and Technology held in 1997.
The world's population currently exceeds 5.8 billion, and is forecast to reach about 8.0 billion by 2025 and about 9.4 billion by 2050. In the developing countries, in particular, population increases are hindering economic and social development in terms of food shortages, employment problems and the expansion of slums as populations concentrate in urban areas. At the same time, developed countries are experiencing problems such as aging and migration from developing countries. Moreover, population increases, together with increased energy consumption, are a factor in environmental problems such as the desertification of green areas and global warming. The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was held in September 1994 in Cairo to combat the increasingly severe population problem. The meeting adopted a Programme of Action which includes guidelines on dealing with new and important areas such as family planning, the promotion of maternal and child health, the relationship between population problems and the environment, women's rights and the improvement of the status of women.
In February 1994, prior to the ICPD, Japan announced its Global Issues Initiative (GII) on Population and AIDS, which will effect positive cooperation for developing countries to the sum of around US$3 billion during the seven-year period from FY1994 to FY2000 within its ODA programs in the field of population and AIDS. Through GII implementation, Japan has been positively strengthening programs related to maternal and children's health and family planning. Moreover, recognizing that the population problem is closely linked to social and economic development as a whole, Japan is taking a comprehensive approach, including various aspects such as primary health care, basic education and improvement of the status of women. About US$2 billion in assistance has already been disbursed over the three-year period from FY1994 to FY1997. Japan has also been the largest contributor to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) since 1986.
According to the latest report (November 1997) of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), more than 30 million people have been infected with HIV, and if the current rate of infection continues, it will soar to 40 million by the year 2000. There were 5.8 million people newly infected in 1997, which means 16,000 people are being infected every day. In 1997, 2.3 million people died of AIDS, around half of whom were women, while 460,000 deaths were of children under 15. Around 90 percent of people with HIV/AIDS live in the developing countries, with the disease impacting heavily on the social and economic development of these countries.
The Yokohama International AIDS Conference held in August 1994 and the Paris AIDS Summit in December the same year were effective in raising awareness of the need for the world as a whole to take urgent action on the AIDS issue as a problem facing the entire human race.
Amid these international trends, countries around the world are making various efforts to prevent the critical spread of AIDS. As noted above, Japan's efforts on the AIDS issue include the announcement of the GII, as well as proactive assistance being provided in regions such as Africa and Asia.
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