Latin America and the Caribbean
Latin America and the Caribbean region embraces an economy of 3.1 trillion U.S. dollars in GDP (three times that of ASEAN) and a population of 560 million. The region enjoys growing economic presence in the world with an annual economic growth of approximately 5% in the past five years (4.6% in 2008). The region has also been gaining greater international attention as suppliers of minerals including rare metals, energy, and food.
Japan has traditionally had good relations with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean region, based on people-to-people links including those with Japanese immigrants and their descendents in the region. In addition, Japan has been supporting the consolidation of democracy and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean countries, which has helped make its relations with such countries even closer. In recent years, the Latin American and the Caribbean countries have generally enjoyed stable democracy and steady economic growth based on a market economy and they have had more influence in the international community. Today, the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region, with which Japan shares fundamental values, have become important partners for Japan in the international community. Under these circumstances, Japan pursues its diplomacy towards this region based on three pillars: (i) strengthening economic relations; (ii) contributing to the stable development of the region; and (iii) promoting cooperation in the international arena.
As for strengthening economic relations, the Japanese government, accurately assessing the circumstances of Japanese companies and the local situation, supports the activities of Japanese companies through the development of legal frameworks such as Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and bilateral investment agreements as well as through consultations with host governments.
To realize stable development in Latin America and the Caribbean region, Japan actively supports the efforts of governments in the region to resolve deep-rooted problems of poverty and social inequality by means of financial assistance and technical cooperation in their efforts. At the same time, Japan helps those governments to pursue sustainable economic development.
The 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean region have significant influence over decision-making at the United Nations and other international fora, and Brazil, Mexico, and other emerging economies in particular have been increasingly important players in international politics and economy. Given this, the government of Japan works closely with the countries of this region in tackling global issues to which Japan attaches importance, such as the environment and climate change, human security, and reform of the United Nations Security Council.