Diplomatic Bluebook 2014 Summary
Chapter 1 : Overview
International Situation and Japan’sDiplomacy in 2013
In the international community of the 21st century, the balance of power that underpinned the traditional international order is undergoing change, driven by such factors as the emergence of China and other emerging countries as well as by the advance of globalization. In addition, international risks are becoming more diverse. Within these major trends, the security environment surrounding Japan in the Asia–Pacific region is also becoming increasingly severe.
While rationally grasping such changes in the international scene, it is essential for Japan to conduct strategic diplomacy from a panoramic perspective of the world map. Below is a broad overview of the international situation in 2013, followed by a summary of strategic developments in Japan’s diplomacy.
1. State of Affairs
(1)Change in the International Situation in the Medium-term
Change in the balance of power
At present, in the international community, a significant change is taking place in the balance of power among nations. One of the key factors driving this change is the rapid economic growth of the so- called emerging countries, such as China and India. This is increasing the presence of such countries in the international community. In particular, China maintains a high rate of economic growth—although not as high as once seen—which is extending the country’s influence in the global economy. Simultaneously, China is also rapidly expanding its political voice and military capability.
The influence of the United States in the international community is also seeing a relative change, however, in terms of its overall national power—encompassing military and economic strength as well as such soft power as values and culture—the United States’ leading position remains unchanged.
Through this change in the balance of power, within the governance structure of the international community as a whole it is becoming ever more difficult to exert strong leadership. More time and effort are also needed for the formation of a responsible, broad consensus.
Globalization and the greater diversity and complexity of risks
For Japan and the international community, issues relating to the transfer, proliferation and performance improvement of weapons of mass destruction as well as the transfer and proliferation of ballistic missile technology, constitute major threats. In particular, nuclear and missile development by North Korea pose a grave threat to the peace and stability of the region and the international community as a whole.
Iranian nuclear issue is also a matter of concern for the international community. As the use of chemical weapons in Syria makes clear, weapons of mass destruction are not necessarily confined to being a latent threat. In addition, the acquisition and use of weapons of mass destruction by such non-national actors as international terrorist organizations continues to be a serious concern for the international community.
International terrorist organizations are taking advantage of globalization and advances in technology to expand the scope of their activities on a global scale. This is being driven by such factors as the diversification of information/ communication tools and improvements in modes of transportation. As Japanese nationals and Japanese companies broaden the scope of their international activities, the risk of being caught in terrorist-related or other incidents increases. In fact, 10 Japanese nationals became victims in a terrorism incident in Algeria in January 2013.
New opportunities and risks in the global commons
The global commons—including the seas, outer space and cyberspace—offer great opportunities as frontiers for humankind to expand its activities. However, at the same time, accompanying the broader use of such global commons, risks are escalating.
Maritime order is upheld through international law centering on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Japan is promoting the establishment of “the rule of law at sea.” As Japan is surrounded by sea and dependent on maritime transport for a large portion of its resource imports and trade, “Open and Stable Seas” are extremely vital for Japan. Recent years have seen increasing unilateral actions in an attempt to change the status quo by coercion. There are also such problems as piracy, unidentified vessels and environmental contamination. Hence, it is necessary for each country to address such wide-ranging issues while the international community also needs to act in unison to develop and ensure compliance with appropriate international rules.
With regard to the utilization of outer space, not only are civilian uses attracting attention, but also the role of space in security matters, such as reinforcement of capabilities for information gathering and surveillance. Against this backdrop, the congestion of outer space has heightened as more countries utilize outer space. In addition, there are heightening risks that an increasing amount of space debris and the development of satellite- destroying weapons could impede the use of outer space.
In present society, in contrast to outer space and the deep seafloor—which are only accessible by a limited number of parties—cyberspace is almost universally accessible, and is now an indispensable part of people’s daily lives. Information and telecommunication systems and networks provide a critical social and economic infrastructure. In cyberspace, risks of cyber-attacks are becoming more serious: for instance, stealing classified information and destruction of system infrastructure and cyber-attacks aimed at disrupting military systems. However, addressing such risks is not simple, due to the difficulty of controlling cyberspace owing to such characteristics as its anonymity, asymmetric nature and the non-existent physical territory. In light of the importance of cyberspace, such risks cannot be left unaddressed, and a comprehensive approach is necessary.
Compared with the seas, where order is upheld through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other related international law, order in outer space and cyberspace still has only a fragile legal foundation. For outer space, the formulation of an international code of conduct is needed with the aim of securing safe and stable usage. For cyberspace, with the objective of ensuring both freedom of use and security, the development of international rules is necessary based on existing international law.
Challenges to Human Security
Human security refers to a focus on each individual human being and protecting people from various and serious threats. It is a concept that aims to realize the abundant potential of each individual, and promotes the sustainable development of individual self-reliance and communities through protection and capacity building. Over many years, Japan has advocated this concept in international forums, and has worked on establishing this concept.
While receiving the benefits of the advance of globalization and an expansion of international economic activity, some developing countries have achieved high rates of economic growth. In contrast, there are also least-developed countries, which have not succeeded in lifting themselves out of serious poverty. Furthermore, such global issues as infectious diseases, climate change and natural disasters are cross-border issues that go beyond the capacity of any one country to address, and represent a threat to the survival and dignity of individuals. From the perspective of human security, significant and urgent measures are required to deal with these issues.
Global economic risks and the widening economic disparity
The global economy itself faces many risks. Each national economy is becoming more interdependent internationally, and an economic crisis in one country therefore can have a large impact on the entire global economy as was seen during the European debt crises. Further, owing to such factors as the fiscal problems of individual countries, the slowdown in the growth of emerging economies, and structural issues, the future outlook remains opaque. Meanwhile, a rise of resource nationalism in resource-rich countries and a worldwide increase in demand are leading to further intensification of competition for the acquisition of natural resources.
(2)Increasing Severity in the East Asian Security Environment
North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and the regime’s unclear direction
North Korea continues to pursue the development of weapons of mass destruction including nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, while carrying out repeated provocative rhetoric and actions. For Japan and the East Asia region, North Korea remains one of the largest security risk factors. In particular, North Korea’s development of ballistic missiles—with ranges covering the mainland of the U.S.—along with its continued attempts to miniaturize nuclear weapons for warheads and be carried by ballistic missiles, poses a grave threat to the security of the region and the international community.
The consolidation of the regime centering on Kim Jong-Un—First Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea, seems to be in progress. Some noteworthy incidents were seen, including the purge in December 2013 of Jang Sung-Taek, Kim Jong- Un’s uncle-by-marriage, who was Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission. It is necessary to closely monitor the future direction of the Kim Jong-Un regime.
The issue of abductions by North Korea is a grave issue affecting Japan’s sovereignty as well as the lives and safety of Japan’s nationals. At the same time, this is a universal issue for the entire international community to address as a violation of fundamental human rights. While cooperating with the international community, Japan remains committed to applying its utmost efforts toward a resolution of this problem.
China’s advance in military capabilities without sufficient transparency and unilateral attempts to change the status quo
While China has made increasingly strong assertions backed by country’s growing national power, China is expected to recognize the responsibilities that come with this rise of power, share and comply with international norms, and fulfill a proactive and cooperative role in addressing regional and global issues. Meanwhile, through the continued steep increase in its military budget, the country is rapidly advancing its military capabilities in a wide range of areas without sufficient transparency.
Based on their own assertions—which are incompatible with the existing order of international law—in the maritime and aerial domains, including the East China Sea and South China Sea, China has taken actions that can be regarded as attempts to change the status quo by coercion. In its relationship with Japan, China has expanded and intensified its activities in the seas and airspace around Japan, including intrusions into Japanese territorial waters and airspace around the Senkaku Islands, which are an inherent part of Japan’s territory. In particular, in November 2013, China unilaterally established an “Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)” in the East China Sea. This ADIZ unilaterally obliges aircraft flying through airspace over international waters to comply with procedures established by China. If the procedures are not followed, China will allegedly adopt “defensive emergency measures,” which infringes upon the general principle under international law of freedom of overflight above the high seas.
With regard to the relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, although the economic relationship has deepened, simultaneously the military balance between the two sides and in the region has been changing. Thus, the cross-strait relationship contains both orientation toward stability and potential instability.
(3)Increasing Turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa
Situation in Syria
In Syria, there has been increasing unrest since 2011, and a humanitarian crisis has persisted. Violent conflict between the government and anti-government forces has been joined by Islamic extremist groups from outside the country, further deepening the disruptive conflict.
The use of chemical weapons in the suburbs of the capital of Damascus in August 2013 led to an international crisis regarding a possible military intervention. While rumors and debate ensued about the possibility of military operations being undertaken by the United States and other countries against Syria, eventually the United States and Russia reached an agreement including a commitment to the immediate international control over Syria’s chemical weapons and their components. Based on this agreement, decisions were made by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which were reinforced by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2118.
Regarding the political process, in May 2013, an international conference on Syria—known as the Geneva II Conference—was announced under a joint initiative by the United States and Russia. The conference was subsequently held in January 2014, in which Japan also participated.
Unclear outlook for the post-Arab Spring
The wave of transformation—known as the Arab Spring—that swept suddenly over many parts of the Middle East and North Africa starting in 2011, led to the downfall of existing authoritarian regimes in several countries. However, subsequently a successful transition to a stable order was rarely seen in these countries, and an unclear situation continues.
In Egypt, in June 2013, mass demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Mohamed Morsi took place. In response, the Egyptian military intervened and this led to the de facto downfall of President Morsi. Conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups—the president’s supporters—on the one hand, and the military and police on the other hand resulted in several thousand casualties. It is important to closely watch whether the results of future presidential and parliamentary elections will lead to stability in Egypt.
In Tunisia, successive assassinations of opposition members of parliament in February and July 2013 paralyzed the parliament, and eventually the prime minister resigned. In Libya, in May a political dismissal law was enacted, and this led to the resignation of Mohammed Magariaf as the President of the General National Congress. In October, Prime Minister of Libya Ali Zeidan was abducted.
Situation in Iran
Iran has not complied with UNSC resolutions, and pursued nuclear-related activities. The international community’s diplomatic efforts have continued in order to find a peaceful solution to this problem. In August 2013, President Hassan Rouhani was inaugurated. He had previously indicated that he favored cooperation with the international community, and the situation has seen progress. In November, at negotiations in Geneva between Iran and the European Union 3 (EU 3: United Kingdom, France and Germany) + 3 (United States, China and Russia), the Joint Plan of Action was signed, and implementation of this agreement subsequently began. The agreement includes measures under a six-month interim deal and elements for a final-phase comprehensive agreement. At present, a process is underway based on the agreement, and the future direction of this process should be followed.
(4)Situation in Africa: Despite Growth, Some Instability Persists
In recent years, integration through the African Union (AU) and other frameworks has made progress, while high rates of economic growth have enabled Africa to show a greater presence in the international community.
Meanwhile, issues still remain unsolved in terms of peace and stability. In some parts of the continent, for instance, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the African Great Lakes region, turmoil during the nation-building process and conflicts driven by differences between ethnic and religious groups continue to occur. Measures are needed to address the problem of piracy centering on the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea as well. Acute poverty and development problems as well as economic disparity still exist, which also is to be addressed.
Confusion following the Arab Spring has resulted in the sphere of terrorist activities spreading into Africa. In January 2013, a terrorist attack occurred in Algeria targeting Japanese nationals and other foreigners. The impact is also extending into the Sahara-Sahel region, which is the transitional zone between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. In Mali, since the Arab Spring, there has been an influx of Islamic extremist groups into the northern part of the country, leading to a deterioration in public security. Due to this development, the country’s previously existing problem of north–south economic disparity became more acute. At present, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which was established in April 2013 by a UNSC resolution, is continuing peacekeeping operations in cooperation with the French military. MINUSMA took over from the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA)—a mission to restore order deployed in January 2013.
In South Sudan, a leadership struggle within the ruling party led to gun battles in the capital city of Juba in December 2013, where a Japan Self-Defense Forces Engineering Unit participated in peace-keeping operations. Owing to the spread of conflict to many parts of the country, a large number of people have been displaced as refugees. However, through the mediation of several countries in the region, at the end of January 2014 a cessation of hostilities was agreed.
In the Central African Republic, in March 2013 an anti-government coalition consisting mainly of Muslims toppled the regime of President François Bozizé. Subsequently, there have been continuing clashes with Christian vigilante groups, and the humanitarian situation had gravely deteriorated. It is estimated that there are more than 900,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country as of January 2014.