Efforts for Prosperity of Japan and the International Community
The world currently confronts complicated and diverse issues such as poverty, famine, infectious diseases, concerns for the environment and climate and the global economic and financial crisis. Many people face life-threatening crises and poor living standards. Under these circumstances, cooperation within the international community is becoming increasingly important to realize a world where everyone can live humanely. Therefore, it will be important for Japan to respond to the issues above and contribute to solutions by exerting leadership based on our own past experiences and conceptual planning expertise.
Japan Disaster Relief Team (JDR) working in Indonesia (photo: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA))
In his address at the General Debate of the 64th UN General Assembly in September, Prime Minister Hatoyama discussed the issues of development and poverty and assured that Japan will do its best to act as a bridge between developing and developed countries, saying, �Japan will work in partnership with international organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and strengthen its assistance to developing countries in terms of both quality and quantity. Japan intends to continue and strengthen the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process, and redouble its efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the promotion of human security.�
In 2009, Japan contributed to the international community by proactively taking part in the promotion of security for individuals and steadfastly implementing assistance policies for separate fields such as healthcare and education for the achievement of MDGs. In terms of aid for Afghanistan and Pakistan, considered to be one of the most immediate priorities of the international community, Japan announced in November our New Strategy to assist efforts toward stability in both countries. In regards to aid for Africa, Japan will continue to support the development and growth as well as the peace and stability of Africa through steadfast implementation of commitments such as plans announced during TICAD IV to double ODA to Africa. Concerning our response to the global economic and financial crisis, Japan is providing aid to the developing countries affected by the crisis for the purpose of promoting the recovery and sustainable growth of the Asian and global economy.
In order to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world, Japan will work with international agencies, NGOs and companies and play an active role in efforts to address development in developing countries and issues on a global scale. Specifically, Japan will strengthen efforts to advance human security to achieve the MDGs, assist development in Africa and aid Afghanistan and Pakistan. Moreover, the Ministry will continue to value sympathy toward the people of developing countries who face difficulties due to poverty and other factors, and work even harder to promote international cooperation based on the approval and support of the people of Japan.
Global environmental issues such as climate change and the loss of biological diversity are a serious threat to both life on earth and the existence of humanity. To counter these threats, Japan has designated efforts for the global environment as a diplomatic priority and is currently supervising worldwide discussions in this field.
Regarding climate change, Prime Minister Hatoyama, at the UN Summit on Climate Change held in September 2009, announced a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020, if compared to the 1990 level, which is premised upon the establishment of a fair and effective international framework by all major economies and agreement on their ambitious targets. The prime minister also announced the �Hatoyama Initiative� as support for developing countries, which successfully boosted the international negotiations on climate change. In December, Japan participated in COP15 and actively called for the establishment of a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate, while advancing its partnership with the government of Denmark, presidency of the COP15, enhancing cooperation with the U.S. and other developed countries, and working with developing countries such as China. Furthermore, Prime Minister Hatoyama attended the summit held during the COP15, directly participated in negotiation on climate change, and contributed to establishing the Copenhagen Accord.
As mentioned above, the conservation of biodiversity is also a priority for humanity which must be addressed in an expeditious manner. In 2010, the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD-COP10) will be held in Nagoya City of Aichi Prefecture. Japan is prepared to fulfil its responsibilities as the chair and is planning to make principal contributions.
The greatest priority in regards to the global economy in 2009 was overcoming the global economic and financial crisis substantively institutionalized by the �Lehmann Shock� in September 2008. In response to this crisis, the international community recognized the necessity of involving the emergent nations which are gaining stature in the global economy and as a result, the G20 assumed an important role as a forum for economic policy coordination between the developed and emergent nations. In addition to the G20, Japan is exerting leadership to resolve issues confronting the international community that must be resolved promptly such as climate change, development, food security and energy security, through the G8 which has traditionally been a gathering of developed countries sharing a common awareness of global-scale problems.
The advancement of free trade and investment is indispensible for the economic prosperity of Japan and is an important pillar of our external economic policy. In the field of trade, the legal stability of international trade as well as maintenance and reinforcement of a World Trade Organization (WTO) system that ensures predictability remain important priorities for guiding the global economy to a sustainable recovery. In terms of suppressing protectionism, strong statements cautioning against protection have been conveyed in past summits such as the G20 Summit in London, the G8 Summit in L�Aquila and the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh. In regards to the Doha Round of the WTO, political statements calling for a �pursuit of completion of negotiations in 2010� were announced during discussions between heads of state of the G8 and emergent nations at L�Aquila as well as during talks between world leaders of the G20 at Pittsburgh. However, in regards to the benefits and burdens for emergent nations, opposition still remains between the U.S. which desires the further liberalization of trade and countries such as China, Brazil and India which stress the interests of developing countries. Consequently, negotiations are still at a stalemate.
In an effort to supplement the multilateral free trade system based on the WTO, Japan is actively advancing EPAs and FTAs. Regarding EPAs, we are attempting to establish rules not just for liberalization of trade, but for a variety of other fields such as movement of people and liberalization of investment. In 2009, Japan signed EPAs with Vietnam and Switzerland. We are currently advancing talks upon inspection of the status quo with the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), India and Australia, and we began negotiating with Peru in May. Although negotiations with the Republic of Korea have been interrupted, we are conducting working-level discussions to prepare the groundwork for the reopening of negotiations. Furthermore, Japan is actively contributing and participating in research and discussion concerning frameworks for various types of economic partnerships in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. Japan will chair the APEC meeting in 2010, and at the Japan APEC Symposium held last December, Foreign Minister Okada gave a speech which included an explanation of the theme for APEC Japan 2010, �Change and Action�. At the same event, experts from the private sector, government and academia debated the Bogor Goal and the future of APEC as well as strategies to enhance the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region through regional economic integration including plans to establish FTAAP.
Recognizing that the proliferation of counterfeit and pirated goods around the world is a threat to the sustainable growth of the global economy, Japan is conducting various bilateral and multilateral efforts to strengthen intellectual property rights. In addition, Japan considers the reinforcement of legal and institutional foundations through tax conventions, investment treaties and social security agreements to be important in terms of assisting Japanese corporations operating abroad and vitalizing the Japanese economy.
Japan depends heavily on imports for energy, minerals, food and other resources that form the basis of the livelihood of the people of Japan and thus the strengthening of economic security is one of our fundamental diplomatic objectives. The paradigm in regards to resources is in a period of transition due to factors such as the growth of emergent nations and climate change. Under these circumstances, the government of Japan and the private sector must unite in efforts to secure resources for the long-term stability of supply to Japan. In addition it will be necessary to promote international partnerships for responsible resource development and utilization for the entire world. From this perspective, Japan is assuming leadership in this field through activities such as proactively participating in organizations such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) which is expected to launch officially in the near future, and sponsorship of the �High-Level Roundtable for Promoting Responsible International Investment in Agriculture.�
In dealing with the issues described above such as climate change, the environmental issues, the global economic and financial crisis, and energy sustenance, the international community is looking towards Japanese science and technology with great interest and anticipation. Recognizing science and technology as well as outer space as frontiers and tools of international cooperation, Japan continued to promote �science and technology diplomacy� and �space diplomacy� to pursue synergistic progress between these fields and general diplomatic policy in 2009.
Astronaut Wakata working on the International Space Station (photo: NASA/JAXA)