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   CHAPTER 3   

Japan's Foreign Policy in Major Diplomatic Fields


Efforts to Achieve Peace and Stability in the International Community


Japan-US security arrangements

The Japan-US security arrangements have effectively functioned as the fundamental framework supporting stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region and brought peace and prosperity to Japan and the Far East since the end of World War II. At the same time, North Korea's ballistic missiles and nuclear issues demonstrate that elements of instability still exist in the Asia-Pacific region even after the end of the Cold War, including regional conflicts and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, among others. In order to ensure the peace and stability of Japan and the region, under such circumstances, it is critical that Japan further reinforce the Japan-US security arrangements and its relationship with its ally the United States.

The governments of Japan and the United States continue to hold a full range of consultations so as to further strengthen the Japan-US security arrangements, including the realignment of US forces, Japan. Furthermore, the fact that the United States has an unwavering commitment to carrying out its defense obligations towards Japan has been reconfirmed on repeated occasions. For example, immediately after the announcement of the conducting of a nuclear test by North Korea in 2006, President Bush stated that the United States will meet the full range of its security commitments to Japan. In addition, at the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (2+2 Meeting) held in May 2007, the US reaffirmed that the full range of US military capabilities forms the core of extended deterrence, which also provides US deterrent force to Japan, while supporting US commitments to the defense of Japan.

Moreover, during talks between Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura and US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who visited Japan in November 2007, both sides reconfirmed the importance of the Japan-US alliance, with the Japan-US security arrangements at its core, as well as their commitment to reinforcing the Japan-US alliance into the future. At this meeting, Minister Koumura expressed his appreciation that US Forces, Japan do their utmost around the clock at the risk of their own lives in order to maintain the peace and security of Japan, and Secretary Gates stated his desire to further strengthen defense cooperation between Japan and the US.


Efforts to Counter Terrorism

Since the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, the international community has placed countering terrorism as among its highest priorities. In various fora such as the United Nations, the G8, and other multilateral frameworks, ASEAN, APEC, ASEM, and other regional cooperation bodies, as well as through bilateral cooperation, the need for strengthening counter-terrorism measures has been reaffirmed, and thus, substantial cooperation as well as strengthening of political will have been making steady progress.

Although the leadership and the number of combatants of the international terrorist organization "Al-Qaeda" and other related groups have declined, their strength still cannot be underestimated. The year 2007 saw terrorist incidents occur all around the world. Japanese nationals traveling and living abroad as well as Japanese companies have also been affected by the threat of international terrorism.

Terrorism is an issue affecting more than the safety of the nation and its citizens. Through its impact on investment, tourism, trade, among others, it is an issue that can have an enormous impact on the economy of a nation. Terrorism can be neither justified nor tolerated for any reason. The activities Japan had been conducting based on the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law (2001) were temporarily suspended upon the expiry of the Law, but activities were resumed upon the enactment of the Replenishment Support Special Measures Law in January 2008. Moreover, Japan considers counter-terrorism as its own security issue. Making use of a broad range of approaches, such as providing assistance to other countries and strengthening international legal frameworks, Japan will continue to actively strengthen its counter-terrorism efforts in cooperation with the international community.


Measures to Counter International Organized Crime

Human trafficking, drug-related crime, cyber crime, money laundering, and other cross-border organized crimes (international organized crime) are escalating further as a result of globalization, the sophistication of communications networks, and an expansion in the movements of people. The United Nations, the G8, and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), among others, are engaged in intensive efforts to appropriately respond to these issues, Japan is actively involved in such international efforts to combat international organized crime, recognizing that international organized crime directly affects the safety and security of its nationals, and that there is a need for Japan to respond to it in concert with the international community.

FATF: An international framework that was created at 1989 G8 "Summit of Arch" as a measure to fight money laundering. A total of 32 countries and territories, especially those who are Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries, and two international organizations are members. Currently, the FATF is also playing a leading role as standard setter with regard to measures against the financing terrorism.


Regional Security

In the Asia-Pacific region, no multilateral collective defense security mechanism similar to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Europe has developed, due to such factors as the rich diversity of political and economic systems, cultures, and ethnicities. Instead, regional stability has been maintained primarily through the building up of bilateral security arrangements centered on the United States.

Japan regards the improvement and strengthening of multilayer frameworks for bilateral and multilateral dialogue while securing the presence and engagement of the US in the Asia-Pacific region to be a realistic and appropriate way to develop a stable security environment surrounding Japan and to ensure peace and stability in the region.

The Government of Japan has engaged in security dialogues and defense exchanges through bilateral frameworks with neighboring countries and others. In this way, Japan has been making efforts to enhance mutual trust and foster cooperation in the security area.

As a multilateral approach, Japan has been making use of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), a political and security framework for the entire region in which major Asia-Pacific countries participate.


The United Nations

As the only universal, comprehensive international organization, the United Nations (UN), through the activities of its various organs such as the General Assembly and the Security Council, aims to maintain international peace and security to develop friendly relations among nations, and to achieve international cooperation in solving economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian issues as well as promoting human rights. Today's international community faces many challenges which cannot be dealt with by individual countries or regions alone, such as climate change, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, poverty, and infectious diseases. This has led the UN to assume an increasingly important role. In this context, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea), who assumed office in January, has been working to reform and strengthen the UN Secretariat to enable the UN to respond more effectively to international challenges. He has also been intensively engaged in resolving conflicts, such as those in the Middle East and Africa, the issue of climate change, and so on.

In his address in September shortly after assuming office, Foreign Minister Koumura stated at the 62nd Session of the UN General Assembly, the importance of Japan and the UN to work in close cooperation to address issues facing the international community, including climate change and African development. He also emphasized the need for UN reform, notably the reform of the Security Council, so that the UN may address these issues effectively. In addition, Foreign Minister Koumura and Secretary-General Ban held talks and reaffirmed their intention to further deepen the relationship between Japan and the UN.

Yoshiro Mori, special Envoy of the Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura also visited New York on the occasion of the 62nd Session of the UN General Assembly and each held meetings with Secretary-General Ban. Other high-level talks were also held in August to further strengthen the cooperative relationship between Japan and the UN, with President-elect of the 62nd Session of the UN General Assembly Srgjan Kerim (former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) visiting Japan at the invitation of the Government of Japan.

Japan regards international cooperation as one of the main pillars of its foreign policy and will therefore conduct active diplomacy through the UN, while contributing to the organization in terms of both personnel and finance. Moreover, Japan is determined to continue to strive towards the goal of reforming the Security Council at an earliest possible time and becoming a permanent member of the Council.

Photo:Minister for Foreign Affairs Koumura addressing the general debate at the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly

Minister for Foreign Affairs Koumura addressing the general debate at the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly (September 28, New York, USA)


Efforts towards Peacebuilding

Armed conflicts bring tremendous scourge to nations and people. Peacebuilding that is, seamless efforts ranging from promotion of the peace process and recovery of security to reconstruction and development, with a view to prevent the recurrence of conflict is a critical issue that the world faces today, along with the fight against terrorism and the prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Against this backdrop, both the quality and quantity of the efforts by the international community, including the UN Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, have been intensified in the areas of conflict prevention, peace mediation, peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance, development of administrative institutions and reconstruction assistance. Recently, G8 has also been addressing peacebuilding as one of the major themes at the summits every year.

Peace and stability of the international community is indispensable for Japan's further development. Based on this recognition, Prime Minister Fukuda stated in his January 2008 policy speech to the 169th session of the Diet that Japan will play a responsible role in the international community as a "Peace Fostering Nation" which contributes to peace and development in the world. Japan considers peacebuilding to be among its diplomatic priorities and has been making tangible efforts on the three pillars: efforts on the ground through the contribution to such activities as UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) and the provision of Official Development Assistance (ODA), intellectual contribution and human resource development.

Photo:Japanese personnel working in the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN)

Japanese personnel working in the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN)
(photo: UN Photo/UNMIN)


Disarmament and Non-proliferation (Including International Cooperation in Science and Technology and in the Field of Nuclear Energy)

Disarmament and non-proliferation are the issues that Japan should properly address as a member of the international community in order to develop a favorable security environment and create a peaceful world. Moreover, achieving a peaceful world is also indispensable to ensure the security of both Japan and Japanese citizens.

As the only country to have ever suffered the devastation of atomic bombings, Japan has consistently called for the maintenance and strengthening of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime, aiming to bring about a peaceful world free of conflicts and nuclear weapons.

The year 2007 was a year in which consistent and cooperative action was called for by the international community in order to address various types of challenges to the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, including the nuclear issues of North Korea and Iran. Japan made proactive efforts in maintaining and strengthening the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The nuclear disarmament resolution that Japan submitted to the United Nations General Assembly was adopted with the overwhelming support of the member states.

Japan also made efforts towards the strengthening of Biological Weapons Convention and Chemical Weapons Convention as well as towards disarmament of conventional weapons.

With regard to science and technology, Japan is working towards the prosperity of the international community through bilateral cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, and multilateral cooperation in fields such as nuclear energy, space, and nuclear fusion.

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