1.Efforts for the Peace and Stability for Japan and the International Community | CHAPTER 3

Summary > CHAPTER 3 Japan’s Foreign Policy in Major Global Issues > 1. Efforts for the Peace and Stability for Japan and the International Community

Chapter 3

Japan’s Foreign Policy in Major Global Issues

1. Efforts for the Peace and Stability for Japan and the International Community

 The security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe year to year. North Korea has continued nuclear and missile development including uranium enrichment activities in violation of the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. Moreover, the impact of the death of Kim Jong-Il, Chairman of the National Defense Commission, which was announced on December 19, 2011, remains to be seen. Therefore, it is necessary to continue to closely monitor for the developments in North Korea. Furthermore, insufficient transparency over China’s military buildup and its intensified maritime activities in the area of sea around them are concern for the regional and global community. Additionally, in response to the developments such as its economic recovery, Russia is modernizing its military strength and becoming more active in the Far East. Moreover, it is necessary to respond to global issues that would be very difficult for a single nation to address on its own, such as proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, international terrorism, piracy, large-scale disasters, and cyber attacks, which constitute new types of threats to security.
 In order for Japan to respond to such security issues to maintain its territorial integrity, to protect the lives and properties of Japanese citizens, and to ensure the sustainable prosperity and development as well as the stability of the international community, Japan must pursue a multifaceted security policy to address not only traditional but also non-traditional threats.
 Firstly, active effort by Japan itself is important. From this viewpoint, Japan’s defense forces need to acquire dynamism to effectively deter and respond to various contingencies and to contribute effectively to further stabilizing the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region and improving the global security environment in accordance with the new National Defense Program Guidelines approved by the Cabinet in December 2010. In this context, the Government of Japan formulated Guidelines for Overseas Transfer of Defense Equipment etc. in December 2011 in response to increasing expectations for the peace contribution activities and changes in the international environment in which it has become the mainstream among developed countries to participate in international joint development and production project. Henceforward, overseas transfer of defense equipment etc. will be conducted based on these guidelines.
 Secondly, it is important to further deepen and develop the Japan-U.S. alliance, which is the linchpin of Japan’s diplomacy and security and a public good for not only the Asia-Pacific region but also the international community, by way of adopting the today’s international situation. Based on the results of the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (“2+2” Meeting) in June 2011, Japan and the U.S. have been consulting closely with each other to make progress in concrete Japan-U.S. security and defense cooperation in a broad range of areas including missile defense, extended deterrence,1 maritime, space and cyber security and information security. In addition, despite a severe fiscal situation, on various occasions, the U.S. has stated its intention to maintain and enhance the presence of the U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region, including the U.S. forces in Japan. At the same time, both Japan and the U.S. will cooperate to make steady implementation of the realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan, including the relocation of the Futenma Air Station, in order to reduce the burden on Okinawa as soon as possible while maintaining deterrence.
 Thirdly, it is also necessary to build multilayered security cooperation relations. It is important for Japan to promote bilateral cooperation with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Australia, that are fellow U.S. allies and countries that share fundamental values and strategic interests, as well as to advance trilateral cooperation under the Japan-U.S.-ROK and Japan-U.S.-Australia frameworks. Also, it is meaningful to strive to strengthen the relations with the countries that share interests in maritime security including freedom of navigation, and other issues at the same time to strengthen cooperative relations with China and Russia, that are major powers in the region. In addition to such efforts, Japan will utilize multilateral regional cooperation frameworks such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting - Plus (ADMM-Plus), and strengthen multilayered cooperative relations among these individual frameworks.
 Japan’s security and prosperity can be achieved not only by improving the security environment surrounding Japan, but also by consolidating peace and stability of the international community. Based on the idea that Japan’s the security and prosperity are ensured by actively addressing various challenges in the international community, Japan has been working proactively to solve the various issues of the world.
 For Example, Japan has actively participated in international efforts to maintain peace and stability such as the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (PKO). In conflict regions, Japan is addressing peacebuilding as one of its major diplomatic issues, which is the seamless efforts ranging from the promotion of peace processes and emergency humanitarian assistance in the immediate aftermath of conflicts to security maintenance, reconstruction and long term development, while also paying attention to prevent conflict recurrence and to build the foundation for development towards sustainable peace. Japan’s peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts include contribution to the United Nations (UN) PKO, field efforts by utilizing Official Development Assistance (ODA), efforts at the UN and human resources development.


                 Operation by Self-Defense Forces engineering unit dispatched to United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
                 (MINUSTAH) since 2010 (Haiti, photo: Ministry of Defense)

 Securing maritime security is not only crucial for Japan’s existence and prosperity as a maritime and trading nation but also extremely important for regional economic development. In particular, the piracy issue off the coast of Somalia is very serious as it affects transportation of goods such as crude oil and other products from the Gulf states or Europe to Japan. In 2011, the number of piracy attacks on vessels in those waters reached a record high, and there was also a case of pirates, who attacked a vessel affiliated with Japan, being sent to Japan for trial. Japan is making efforts to resolve the piracy issue by taking a multilayered approach, which includes not only the deployment of Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, but also mid-and-long term initiatives such as assisting countries around Somalia to enhance capabilities for preventing, suppressing, or prosecuting pirates for the purpose of stabilizing Somalia.
 Even today 10 years after the 2001 terrorist attacks upon the U.S., terrorism remains a major threat to the international community as acts of terrorism continue to occur, and their methods and actors are diversifying. Furthermore, the progress of globalization and advances in information and communications technologies have resulted in the escalation of transnational organized crimes, which are conducted in large-scale and systematic ways across national borders. Terrorism and transnational organized crime pose major threats to the safety of civil society, the “rule of law”, and the market economy. They are threats to Japan, and at the same time they should be addressed by the international community with cooperative efforts. Japan contributes proactively to discussion and cooperation to counter terrorism and transnational organized crimes in the UN, the G8, and regional frameworks such as ASEAN.
 Based on its moral responsibility as the only country in the world to have suffered the devastation caused by atomic bombs, and in order to improve the security environment surrounding the country as well, Japan is making proactive efforts toward achieving a world without nuclear weapons. Under the framework of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), a cross-regional group established chiefly by Japan and Australia in September 2010, the second and third foreign ministers’ meetings were held in April and September 2011 respectively, and these meetings featured substantial discussion of important issues in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation, including increasing transparency on nuclear weapons and a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). In addition, the resolution on nuclear disarmament that Japan submits annually to the UN General Assembly was submitted again in 2011 under the title, “United Action towards the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons,” attracting the largest number ever of co-sponsor nations (99 nations) and was adopted with overwhelming majority support. Also, during the UN Disarmament Week in October 2011, Japan held a side event, co-sponsored with the UN, in which two Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons2 shared their experiences of the atomic bomb blasts. Through efforts such as these and by communicating the horrible realities of nuclear weapons, Japan is working proactively to lead the discussion in the international community in the area of nuclear disarmament.
 In addition to these issues, the international community has still been faced with diverse challenges beyond borders, including poverty, hunger, infectious diseases, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, regional conflicts, and global environmental problems. Under such conditions the role played by the UN in the international community of today continues to grow in its importance. As the sole international organization with universal membership and comprehensive capacities, the UN continues to work for the maintenance of peace and security of the international community through the activities of such organs as the General Assembly and the Security Council, by advancing international cooperation in a variety of fields. In addition, it also endeavors to enhance friendly relationship among nations.
 For the international community to unite toward resolving the diverse challenges it faces, it is important for the UN to take appropriate measures by further improving its performance and efficiency and strengthening its functions. From this perspective, Japan is striving for the early realization of UN reform, especially the Security Council reform, and is playing a leading role in major international organizations including the UN, while making further human resource contributions, in addition to financial contributions.
 The establishment of the “rule of law” in the international community is an important factor in promoting stable relations between countries, peaceful settlement of disputes, and “good governance” within countries. Japan regards the establishment of the “rule of law” in the international community as one of the pillars of its foreign policy, and is actively implementing various efforts towards this end. Establishing the “rule of law” is also important from the perspectives of maintaining the integrity of Japan’s national territories, for securing maritime and economic interests, and for protecting one’s own citizens.
 Fully guaranteeing human rights and fundamental freedoms, which are universal values, contributes to the establishment of a peaceful and prosperous society in each country, and leads to the peace and stability of the international community. Japan focuses on dialogue and cooperation, taking into account the particularity and diverse historical and cultural backgrounds of each country and region with a view to improving the human rights situations in the world, based on the view that protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms is basic responsibility of states. Japan will advance human-rights diplomacy in a comprehensive manner, by linking efforts in multilateral venues, such as the UN, and bilateral efforts through human rights dialogues.

1 The concept of providing deterrence with one’s own military capabilities to defend its ally from attacks by other countries.
2 Prime Minister Kan announced the foundation of the Special Communicator for a World without Nuclear Weapons program at the Hiroshima and Nagasaki peace memorial ceremonies in August 2010, and the first appointment was made in September. Under this program, the Japanese government supports the efforts of atomic bomb survivors to communicate the horrible realities of nuclear weapons to the broader international community through the sharing of their personal experiences by appointing hem as Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons. As of January 2012, a total of 61 persons had been commissioned as Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons.