Diplomatic Bluebook 2014 Summary
Japan’s Foreign Policy that Takes a PanoramicPerspective of the World Map
Europe has considerable influence on international opinion, underpinned by such factors as language, cultural and artistic activities, and the powerful voice of major media, think tanks and other institutions. From an economic perspective, the European Union (EU) has a powerful presence as its GDP accounts for 23% of the world total. As members of key bodies within the international framework—including the United Nations Security Council and the Group of Eight (G8)—major European countries play an important role in the establishment of norms by the international community. Furthermore, Japan and Europe, sharing fundamental values and principles such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, are important vital partners playing a leading role in striving for peace and prosperity of the international community. Cooperation with Europe is extremely important for Japan to promote its security policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” in response to the shift in the global power balance, achieve economic growth, establish international norms and tackle global issues such as disarmament and non-proliferation and counter-terrorism. In particular, in addition to maintaining bilateral relations with each European country, Japan needs to further broaden Japan–Europe relations by strengthening cooperation with European-based institutions such as the EU, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and European regional frameworks such as the Visegrad Group plus Japan (V4+Japan) and the Nordic–Baltic Eight plus Japan (NB8+Japan). Based on this recognition, Japan was very active in conducting diplomatic meetings at the summit level and foreign minister’s level, including visits by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Poland, the United Kingdom and Ireland in June 2013, and a visit to Japan by French President François Hollande in the same month. Japan was also active in conducting summit meetings and foreign ministers’ meetings on the sidelines of international conferences, including the G8 Summit in June, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in September and the 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM FMM11) in November. Through such opportunities, Japan not only worked to strengthen diplomatic relations with Europe, but also build personal relationships of trust at the Summit and foreign minister’s level.
With regard to Japan’s relationship with Europe, negotiations on a Japan–EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and on a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) were launched in April 2013. These negotiations have been producing fruitful discussions in a wide range of fields. In November 2013, the 21st Japan–EU Summit Meeting was held in Tokyo after a hiatus of about two-and-a-half years, and the leaders of Japan and the EU agreed to promote cooperation in the fields of economy, security and global interest. In particular, the industrial sectors in Japan and the EU have expressed high expectations regarding the Japan– EU EPA as an effort that will contribute to economic growth in both Japan and the EU. In addition, Japan pursued a broad array of exchanges with countries throughout Europe in such fields as education, culture, and science and technology. By advancing concrete cooperation with Europe, Japan is striving to maintain a multi-layered, close relationship including through promotion of mutual understanding.