This publication is the English translation of the Gaiko Seisho 1998 (1998 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 1998 Diplomatic Bluebook is, in principle, from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 1997.
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 1998 Diplomatic Bluebook

With the 21st century now only three years away, the international community continues its efforts to build a stable and prosperous world. Despite certain turmoil in the wake of the Cold War, a basic philosophy bolstering democracy and the free market economy is beginning to take root across the globe, and progress has also been made toward resolution of various regional conflicts. Moves to create a new international order toward the 21st century are also gaining ground, as evidenced by the vigorous diplomatic activities last year in the Asia-Pacific region among Japan, the United States, Russia and China. At the same time, we face situations requiring a joint approach among nations, such as the economic problems which have plagued the Asian countries since last year-and it is vital for the international community to overcome the various challenges, one by one, in moving toward the next century.
To hand over an affluent and peaceful society to the next generation of Japanese citizens, it will be vital to properly assess the international situation and changes therein, developing Japan's foreign policy accordingly. This Diplomatic Bluebook examines the international situation and Japan's foreign policy over the last year. Bearing in mind the challenges faced and the results of Japan's foreign policy in 1997 as described here, I wish to pursue our foreign policy as new international situations arise in 1998.
Foreign policy is not a matter for the government alone; the promotion of foreign policy in fact hinges on the understanding and support of the people. It would be most rewarding if this Diplomatic Bluebook helps to deepen your understanding of the international situation and Japan's foreign policy and supports the advance of a concept that has become my watchword-"foreign policy that moves hand-in-hand with the people."

Keizo Obuchi
Minister for Foreign Affairs

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