This publication is the English translation of the Gaiko Seisho 1999 (1999 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 1999 Diplomatic Bluebook is, in principle, from 1 January 1998 to 31 December 1998.
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 1999 Diplomatic Bluebook

As the curtain closes on the 20th century, a look back reveals that it has been a period in which humanity has been beset by the ravages of two world wars and a 40-year Cold War. Nevertheless, we have also experienced striking progress in science and technology-from transportation, information and communications to nuclear power and space exploration-and we have prospered with remarkable economic development which has been supported by this progress.
Although we are currently enjoying the prosperity we have gained as the fruits of our development, there are still security concerns in the world at large, including in Northeast Asia, where Japan is situated. These include the development of weapons of mass destruction and the outbreak of regional conflicts. Moreover, the destruction of the environment and the actions of international terrorists have now come to threaten all of humanity. In the ever-changing international community, diplomatic efforts by Japan to realize its national interests are becoming more and more complex and wide-ranging. As such, Japan must indicate anew its determination and capability to fulfill a role befitting a country which bears a responsible position in the international community, in order to ensure the stability and prosperity of the world as a whole, which is indivisible from its own security and prosperity.
Since assuming the post of Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have put a great deal of energy into carrying out diplomacy backed by leadership. It is important for Japan to take appropriate initiatives to offer leadership to other countries in various situations on the international stage. It is also my strong belief that elected officials, including myself, must show leadership in domestic policies, which serve as a foundation for such an active diplomacy, and thereby earn the deep understanding and powerful support of the Japanese people. It would be most rewarding if this Diplomatic Bluebook helped to deepen your understanding of the international situation and Japan's foreign policy.

Masahiko Koumura
Minister for Foreign Affairs

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