Chapter I.
General Overview

A. Overview (The three trends in the international situation and developments in Japan's foreign policy)

1. The pursuit of a new international order in the post-Cold War environment

In 1999, the world welcomed a decade since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, symbolic remnant of the Cold War. Conflicts stemming from ethnic, religious and other causes, however, continued to break out frequently the world over. In the course of these developments, various efforts to build a new international order continued to be exerted within both global and regional frameworks, and through bilateral approaches. There nevertheless remains an abundance of issues and challenges to be confronted in the building of a new international order.

Looking first at the global approaches centering around the United Nations, the response to regional and ethnic conflicts has become a major issue, exemplified in particular by the Kosovo issue that captured the attention of the international community in 1999, where the role that the United Nations must play in ensuring international peace and security was a subject of intense debate. In March, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) initiated air strikes against Yugoslavia as an unavoidable measure implemented to avert further humanitarian tragedy. As a result, a clash of views emerged between countries including NATO Members, and countries such as Russia and China, on the propriety of and legal basis for intervention. With the G8 playing a leading role in the post-conflict process toward restoring peace in Kosovo, wide-ranging discussions ensued on both the role of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security, and the relationship between the United Nations and the G8.

At the same time, major nations worked together centering around the United Nations in their efforts to resolve the East Timor issue. The United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) exercised a vital role in implementing a direct ballot to elicit the public opinion of the East Timorese toward an autonomy proposal. After the ballot, a multinational force based on a United Nations Security Council resolution was deployed to restore and maintain order, and thereafter the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) undertook transitional administration. (The direct ballot in East Timor and circumstances following the ballot also impacted considerably on the situation in Indonesia. See Chapter I, Part B, Section 1 for reference.)

The United Nations, the G8 and other frameworks further sharpened their recognition of the importance of not only addressing conflicts ex post facto, but also of the need to exert efforts to prevent conflict. The issue of conflict prevention was raised at both the G8 Summit and G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in Cologne in June, and again at the 54th United Nations General Assembly, where UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and a considerable number of countries emphasized its importance. An ad hoc G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting focusing on conflict prevention was also convened in Berlin in December.

In terms of regional efforts, 1999 was a year that saw progress toward regional integration and an intensification of dialogue in regions. Europe bore witness to the introduction of the euro and progress in Common Foreign and Security Policy in the European Union (EU), and also attracted attention for its further drive toward integration. While an altogether different dimension to Europe, in the Asia-Pacific region the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) +3 (Japan, China, the Republic of Korea (ROK)) Summit held in Manila in November adopted a Joint Statement for the first time. Further progress in dialogue among countries in the region was also evidenced with the leaders of Japan, China and the ROK taking advantage of the Summit to conduct their first ever trilateral dialogue.

The world took notice of the trends in bilateral relations among the major powers, in particular U.S.-Russia, U.S.-China and Russia-China relations, a potentially influential factor on the building of a new post-Cold War international order. In 1999, the views of the United States and Russia diverged on a range of issues, including the NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia, the United States' National Missile Defense (NMD), Iraq, and Chechnya. Despite their differences, both countries shared overall recognition of the importance of cooperative bilateral relations, and close dialogue between the two Governments was maintained at all levels. U.S.-China relations experienced a heightening of distrust triggered by various factors, including the mistaken NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia, and the debate in the United States Congress on suspicions over the outflow of nuclear and missile technologies from China. The efforts of both Governments, however, led to an improvement in U.S.-China relations, including the settlement of U.S.-China bilateral negotiations on China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the second half of 1999. In terms of China-Russia relations, President Boris Yeltsin visited China in December, and the two countries agreed on the demarcation of the China-Russia national border-a long-standing concern for both countries-and expressed mutual support for their respective positions on Chechnya and Taiwan. The world took note of the emphasis the two countries placed on their cooperative relationship.

2. The progress of globalization and revolutionary change in the information technology sector

The transnational movement of people, goods, services, money, information and other resources continues to expand on a global scale, and this expansion, accompanied by revolutionary change in the information technology sector, accelerates further with each passing moment. The progress of globalization has in this way widely increased transnational economic activity, trade and investment and capital flows, which have enhanced economic efficiency on a global scale and brought prosperity to the world economy. In 1999, the United States experienced its longest ever period of peacetime economic expansion, with European countries setting a similar tone in the second half of the year. The Asian economy surmounted its most testing period to register tones of recovery. Moreover, debate on trade and investment liberalization and the creation of new rules further intensified, culminating in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Seattle, U.S., in December held for the purpose of launching a new round of negotiations. While the new round of negotiations was not launched due to differing positions among WTO members, the Seattle Ministerial highlighted a number of issues facing the WTO, including the concerns of developing countries and a range of interest among the public toward free trade.

From a different perspective, how to deal with the downside of globalization while reaping its many benefits remained a major issue for the international community.

An example of such a downside is how a crisis spreads-as evidenced in the manner in which both the Asian currency and financial crisis and the Russian financial crisis spilled over into Central and South America, which stemmed from increasing interdependence among the international community and the intensification of globalization. Continued active debate on strengthening international financial systems took place in 1999 at the G8 Cologne Summit and in other fora.

The problems of countries either being excluded from global competition or in fear of exclusion in the face of advancing globalization became increasingly apparent. The support of the international community in enabling these "marginalized" countries to enjoy the prosperity brought on by globalization is becoming increasingly crucial as a means for preventing the outbreak of a crisis in such countries from permeating to others.

As international competition intensifies with the advance of globalization, an increasing number of losers and parties excluded from competition emerges within countries, and concerns have been raised that this may lead to social unrest. In order to build domestic safety nets for the socially vulnerable, there has been firmer recognition that it is incumbent upon the international community to work together in tackling this issue.

At the G8 Summit and in other fora, Japan proactively contributed toward addressing the downside of globalization, for example by stressing the need to strengthen international financial systems, and the importance of international cooperation in building safety nets. Japan continued to actively provide assistance to countries affected by the Asian currency and financial crisis.

3. The heightened importance of individual-focused measures

As evidenced in 1999, increasing international concern over harm caused to citizens in conflicts, as well as growing international recognition of the problems affecting the socially vulnerable with the onset of globalization, serve as examples of the heightening recognition within the international community of the importance of individual human dignity, freedom, democracy and basic human rights. The concepts of freedom, democracy and respect for basic human rights have been increasingly espoused in the international community since the end of the Cold War, triggering widespread discussion on the importance of individual-focused measures. For example, a significant number of individuals, among them women and children, are falling victim to the frequent outbreaks of regional conflict as threats to the lives and security of people, such as environmental issues, infectious diseases and organized crime, become more evident. A growing international recognition that these issues must be dealt with as threats to individual human dignity is thus emerging.

The individual efforts of citizens are paramount in shaping a society of people who are respected as individuals, whose individual potential can be effectively tapped, and who can carry out their responsibilities as members of society. From this perspective, there is growing importance of the role played by civil society-as typified by non-governmental organizations (NGOs)-in addressing the challenges facing the international community. The concerns of civil society toward free trade were highlighted at the WTO Ministerial Conference held at the end of 1999. In view of this and other events, such building of constructive partnerships among governments and civil society will become all the more necessary.

Japan has actively addressed various issues relating to individual life, dignity and well-being, such as poverty, global environmental issues, transnational organized crime and terrorism, placing emphasis on the concept of "human security," and has made specific contributions in an array of fora, including the establishment of a Human Security Fund within the United Nations in 1999. Stressing the importance of collaboration and dialogue, Japan continues to exert efforts to build more constructive and cooperative relations with civil society, including NGOs, in a wide range of areas, such as economic cooperation to developing countries, global environmental issues and conflict prevention.

4. Japan's foreign policy developments in 1999

On the axis of Japan-U.S. relations, Japan's foreign policy in 1999 focused on bolstering relations with neighboring countries, such as the ROK, China, ASEAN countries and Russia; strengthening regional cooperation with a central focus on the Asia-Pacific; and active involvement in global efforts, including in the United Nations. As a leading member of the international community, Japan proactively addressed major issues in the international community through such efforts, as well as demonstrated individual initiative across a spectrum of issues, including those in the Asia-Pacific region.

In Japan-U.S. relations, laws relating to the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation were passed and approved in the Ordinary Session of the Diet, enhancing the credibility of the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, further bolstering Japan's security policies and contributing to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, the Official Visit to the United States by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, and other exchange, dialogue and cooperation among the peoples of both nations cutting across all sectors and levels, have served to further deepen and develop bilateral relations.

In terms of Japan-ROK relations, Prime Minister Obuchi's visit to the ROK in March, Premier Kim Jong-Pil's visit to Japan in September, and the convening of the Second Japan-ROK Ministers Meeting on Cheju Island, ROK, in October served to further boost mutual understanding and relations of trust, and elevated bilateral relations to a new future-oriented stage. In particular, at the Japan-ROK Ministers Meeting in October, both sides agreed to name the year 2002 the "Year of Japan-ROK National Exchange in 2002" and to promote exchange programs across an array of areas.

Moving on to Japan-China relations, on the occasion of Prime Minister Obuchi's visit to China in July, both sides reached a substantial agreement on bilateral negotiations concerning China's accession to the WTO, and agreed to a visit by Premier Zhu Rongji to Japan in 2000. Both sides also agreed on the steady advancement of a broad range of specific cooperation.

Relations with Indonesia and other ASEAN countries were further strengthened through close dialogue at prime ministerial, foreign ministerial and other levels. In Indonesia in October, President Abdurrahman Wahid and Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri were elected in a democratic election process, and in November, directly after the formation of the new administration, President Wahid visited Japan, and Prime Minister Obuchi became the first foreign leader to visit Indonesia after the formation of the new administration.

Japan handled relations with North Korea striking a balance between deterrence and dialogue while maintaining close coordination with the United States and the ROK. At the end of the year former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama led a Japanese parliamentary delegation in a visit to North Korea, and based on the results of the visit, it was agreed to convene preparatory meetings for the reopening of diplomatic normalization negotiations and meetings between the Japanese and North Korean Red Cross Societies.

In relations with Russia close dialogue was advanced through the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting held on the fringes of the Cologne Summit in June, a meeting between Prime Minister Obuchi and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on the occasion of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting, and a total of six Foreign Ministers' meetings. As a result, bilateral cooperative relations were steadily promoted across a broad array of areas, including politics, economics, security, personnel exchange, and cooperation in international issues.

Japan maintained close cooperative relations with Europe, with Prime Minister Obuchi visiting France, Italy and Germany in January soon after the introduction of the euro, where he engaged in discussion with leaders on, amongst other matters, the stability of international currency and financial systems.

Japan contributed to enhancing opportunities for regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region by actively participating in such regional frameworks as APEC, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) and ASEAN+3 (Japan, China, the ROK).

Japan also participated actively in peace discussions in the G8 and other fora with respect to Kosovo, an issue which garnered considerable concern within the international community, and provided humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons. In regard to East Timor, Japan energetically assisted the facilitation of a direct ballot among the East Timorese, and provided assistance for independence and nation-building in the post-ballot period.

In the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, a report was issued by the Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, held following an initiative from Japan in response to the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in 1998. Japan further submitted a draft resolution on Nuclear Disarmament with a View to the Ultimate Elimination of Nuclear Weapons to the UN General Assembly, which was adopted with overwhelming support in December.

In the economic area, while differing positions among members of the WTO prevented the launching of the new round of negotiations at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle, Japan did participate proactively in discussion on the issue.

Japanese nationals assumed the top positions in two international organizations in 1999, namely the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). With Mr. Akira Takahashi, Special Advisor to the President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) also appointed Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Rehabilitation of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), 1999 was a year in which Japan's human resources contribution to the international community came under the spotlight.

The Japanese hostage situation in August in the Kyrgyz Republic was resolved with all Japanese hostages safely freed. The incident, however, served as a powerful lesson for protecting Japanese nationals abroad, and for formulating security measures in implementing economic cooperation.

Looking back on 1999, this opening section has touched briefly on the three main trends in the international situation, and developments in Japan's foreign policy. The following chapters and pages expand in detail upon the international situation and Japan's foreign policy.

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