Sectoral Analysis of the International Situation and Japan's Foreign Policy
Ensuring peace and stability
A. Ensuring the security of Japan
The international community today continues to embrace many fluid factors. While the Asia-Pacific region, where Japan is situated, displays positive signs, such as the gradual recovery of those countries affected by the currency and financial crisis, a number of uncertain and opaque factors remain, exemplified by the situation on the Korean Peninsula. In 1999, the East Timor situation in particular became a major cause of concern, not least in terms of regional security.
Given this security environment, Japan embraces a security policy with three main pillars: firmly maintaining the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, moderately building up Japan's defense capability on an appropriate scale, and pursuing diplomatic efforts to ensure international peace and security.
The Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements are explained in detail in the next section.
Under its Constitution, Japan has moderately built up its defense capability in accordance with the fundamental principles of maintaining an exclusively defense-oriented policy and not becoming a military power that might pose a threat to other countries. Based on these principles, the National Defense Program Outline in and after FY1996 (the New National Defense Program Outline) was created in November 1995. Further, responding to the debate on Japan's security and crisis management systems which was sparked in March by the incident involving the Suspicious Boats Incident off the Coast of Noto Peninsula, in June the Government produced a report on the lessons learned from the incident and points for reflection to contribute to Japan's handling of any similar incidents in future.
The peace and prosperity of Japan are inevitably linked to the peace and prosperity of the Asian region and of the world. It is therefore vital for Japan to engage actively in diplomatic efforts at various levels. Under this concept, it is incumbent upon Japan to continue to exercise an active role through the following efforts: bilateral and multilateral cooperation to ensure regional stability; political and security dialogue and cooperation toward building confidence with countries; strengthening arms control, disarmament and the non-proliferation regime; efforts toward regional conflict, including conflict prevention and peacekeeping operations (PKO); and enhancing regional stability through support and cooperation in the economic development of countries in the region.
2. The Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements (including legislation related to the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation)
a) Significance of the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements
As noted in the Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on Security, issued by the Japanese and U.S. top leaders in April 1996, the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements not only secure the U.S. presence and involvement in the Asia-Pacific, a region where instability and uncertainty still exist, but also form a political foundation for wide-ranging Japan-U.S. cooperative relations in the international community.
At the Japan-U.S. bilateral Summit Meeting held on 3 May, both leaders reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, and agreed to strengthen the Arrangements in order to ensure the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.
b) Ensuring the effectiveness of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation
The Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation (hereinafter, the "Guidelines") which were released in September 1997 were aimed at creating a solid basis for more effective and credible Japan-U.S. cooperation under normal circumstances and during contingencies. Based on the September 1997 Cabinet Decision on ensuring the effectiveness of the Guidelines, the Government worked on the establishment of domestic mechanisms to this end, including legal aspects, resulting in the April 1998 submission to the Diet of: (1) a draft Law Relating to Measures for Preserving the Peace and Security of Japan in the Event of a Situation in the Areas Surrounding Japan; (2) a bill to amend the Self-Defense Forces Law; and (3) an Agreement amending the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the United States of America concerning Reciprocal Provision of Logistic Support, Supplies and Services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Armed Forces of the United States of America (the so-called amended ACSA). These were passed and approved on 24 May. The enactment and approval of these and other laws related to the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation was a highly significant step which will enhance the credibility of the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements and contribute to forestalling the outbreak of incidents threatening Japan's peace and security.
In addition, ensuring the effectiveness of the Guidelines and effectively advancing Japan-U.S. defense cooperation based on these will require bilateral work, including bilateral defense planning in case of an armed attack on Japan, and mutual cooperation planning in case of situations in areas surrounding Japan. In January 1998, both sides agreed to establish a comprehensive mechanism for such work. Based on this mechanism, Japan-U.S. bilateral work is currently being undertaken in relation to planning and the establishment of common standards and procedures.
c) Japan-U.S. cooperation on defense technology
Further development of defense technology exchanges between Japan and the United States is an important task for ensuring the effective operation of the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements. Cooperative research or improvement work is currently underway in six areas: advanced steel technologies, fighting vehicle propulsion technologies using ceramic materials, eye-safe laser radars, the ACESII ejection seat, advanced hybrid propulsion technologies, and shallow water acoustic sound technologies.
Since the end of the Cold War, weapons of mass destruction (nuclear weapons, for example) and ballistic missiles have proliferated, and ballistic missile defense (BMD) has become an important task in Japan's exclusively defense-oriented defense policy. In December 1998, with the approval of the Security Council of Japan, the Government decided to launch cooperative research with the United States on BMD technologies as of FY1999, focusing on the Navy Theater-Wide Defense (NTWD) system. Notes relating to this were exchanged between the two governments on 16 August.
d) Issues involving U.S. forces stationed in Japan
How to minimize the impact of U.S. forces' activities in Japan on residents living in the vicinity of U.S. facilities and areas is an important issue for ensuring smooth operation of the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements. The U.S. side, too, is well aware that the understanding and support of these residents is a vital element in stationing U.S. forces in Japan, and the FY1998 East Asia Strategy Report (EASR), released by the U.S. Department of Defense on 23 November, announced that a U.S. military presence of around 100,000 would be maintained in the Asia-Pacific region, and also referred to the importance of locally stationed U.S. forces building "good neighbor" relations with local residents. Based on this perception, Japan and the United States are cooperating closely in implementing various measures to facilitate the activities of U.S. forces stationed in Japan and to reduce the various impacts on local communities.
In particular, recognizing the vital importance of reducing the burden on the people of Okinawa, where U.S. facilities and areas are highly concentrated, the Japanese and U.S. Governments have thrown their weight behind the steady implementation of the Final Report of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO), produced in December 1996. Further, in talks between U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura on 14 January 1999, as well as the subsequent Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting on 3 May, both Governments agreed to continue working on steady implementation of the SACO Final Report toward resolving the various Okinawa-related issues. In 1999, steady progress was made in implementing the SACO Final Report, including the construction of noise reduction baffles at Kadena Air Base, as well as the agreement reached by the Joint Committee on return of the Northern Training Area and Sobe Communication Site and implementation of the first stage of housing consolidation in Camp Kuwae and Camp Zukeran.
With regard to the return of the Futenma Air Station, the Government, acting upon the strong requests of Okinawa Prefecture regarding the danger of an air station located in an urban area, conducted negotiations with the United States, including those at the highest level. As a result, in 1996, both sides agreed to relocate the heliport facility to a replacement site within the prefecture, and to return the airbase, which was included in the SACO Final Report in December the same year.
Since his inauguration, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture Keiichi Inamine has been a central figure in the efforts in Okinawa to choose the location of the site. On 22 November 1999, he announced the coastal area around Henoko, Nago City, within the Camp Schwab Water area, as a candidate site for relocation, to which Mayor Tateo Kishimoto of Nago City expressed his acceptance on 27 December. Responding to these developments, on 28 December the Government adopted a Cabinet Decision on the relocation of Futenma Air Station.
The above Cabinet Decision stipulates that the replacement facility will be developed bearing in mind an airport for both military and civilian use, and that the Government, while closely consulting with the United States, will produce a basic plan based on the policy of exerting maximum efforts to ensure no marked impact on the daily lives of local residents or on the natural environment, as part of measures for safety and environmental protection.
Further, looking to resolve the various issues related to U.S. bases in Okinawa and to alleviate the economic and social burden created by them, and bearing in mind the many years of history involved, as well as the regional disparities which have emerged as a result, the Government has been working on socioeconomic promotion in Okinawa. The Cabinet Decision on the relocation of Futenma Air Station includes (1) development of the Futenma Air Station relocation site and the surrounding area; (2) development of northern Okinawa; and (3) promotion and facilitation of the use of former facilities and areas, and the Government as a whole will pursue steady implementation of these measures.
Reducing uncertainty in terms of Asia-Pacific security requires not only cooperation among the relevant countries in regard to individual issues, but also efforts toward confidence-building among the countries in the region. The basis for such confidence-building is the awareness and confirmation of each country's intentions through frequent contacts and communication among the concerned officials and people of the countries in the region, and of each country's capabilities through increasing transparency concerning military and defense strength.
In 1999, Japan engaged in close intra-regional dialogue through sustained Summit diplomacy with the major regional powers, including Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi's visits to the United States, the Republic of Korea, China, Mongolia and Indonesia, as well as his attendance at the ASEAN+1 Summit between Japan and ASEAN leaders, the ASEAN+3 Summit (ASEAN plus Japan, China and the ROK), and visits to Japan by Asian leaders. Japan also worked on building intra-regional confidence through, for example, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), a forum for region-wide political and security-related dialogue and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. On top of these efforts, Japan has been promoting security- and defense-related dialogues with countries such as the ROK, China, Thailand and Australia. Other forms of multilateral cooperation in the region include cooperation spearheaded by Japan, the United States and the ROK through the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) to contain North Korean nuclear weapon development, and the Four-Party Meeting, comprising the ROK, the United States, China and North Korea. In addition, it will be important from a medium- to long-term perspective to continue to explore appropriate frameworks for discussing the stabilization of Northeast Asia.
The ARF has held a Ministerial Meeting every summer since 1994, and at the Second ARF Ministerial Meeting in 1995, participants agreed that the following three-step evolutionary approach should be taken toward achieving ARF objectives: (1) promotion of confidence-building measures; (2) development of preventive diplomacy; and (3) elaboration of approaches to conflicts. In addition, in order to consider the concrete measures which should be implemented, participants agreed to hold working-level meetings in the three areas of confidence-building, peacekeeping operations and search-and-rescue activities; these meetings have been held in succession since January 1996.
At the Sixth ARF Ministerial Meeting held in Singapore in July 1999, members engaged in a frank and lively exchange of views on issues such as sovereignty in the South China Sea and other aspects of the Southeast Asian situation, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and preventive diplomacy, the second stage of ARF's three-step process. The Chairman's Statement issued by this meeting appealed for continued restraint on the part of all countries involved in the South China Sea sovereignty issue, while also in particular expressing the concern of the ARF member countries that the missile launch by North Korea in August 1998, as well as its other missile-related activities, could heighten tensions and have serious consequences for stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region. This latter statement can also be evaluated as an important achievement in delivering a clear message to North Korea. Members also agreed to examine the concepts and principles of preventive diplomacy in the ARF context.
Of the Intersessional Support Groups (ISGs; working-level meetings held over the year between Ministerial Meetings), the ARF ISG on Confidence-Building Measures was held in Tokyo in November. Assuming the joint chairmanship of the Group together with Singapore for 1999-2000, Japan has demonstrated a positive approach to intra-regional confidence-building. At the Tokyo meeting, members responded to the results of the Sixth Ministerial Meeting by launching discussion on ARF preventative diplomacy, as well as exchanging views on the Korean Peninsula situation, the South China Sea sovereignty issue, the East Timor situation, disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation.
Other events within the ARF framework included a training course on Modern Peacekeeping Operations held by Japan, Canada and Malaysia in Tokyo in March, as well as a variety of confidence-building measures such as an Intersessional Meeting on Disaster Relief, the ARF Professional Training Programme, and the Meeting of Heads of National Defense Colleges and Institutions.
Given the enormous diversity of the Asia-Pacific region in terms of, for example, countries' individual political and economic systems, levels of economic development, and culture, the development and strengthening of bilateral and multilateral dialogue and cooperation frameworks on a number of levels is both a realistic and appropriate means of improving the region's security environment. Through these endeavors, security cooperation in the region is expected to make incremental progress, with continued concrete efforts from all countries required for the achievement of long-term regional stability.
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