Diplomatic Bluebook 2014 Summary
Japan’s Foreign Policy that Takes a PanoramicPerspective of the World Map
3. Latin America and the Caribbean
Latin America and the Caribbean region is an important destination for Japanese companies seeking to expand internationally and is a key partner in building a better international community based on the rule of law. Latin America and the Caribbean has a combined GDP of US$5.8 trillion (approximately 2.5 times larger than that of ASEAN) and an expanding consumer market with a population of approximately 600 million. The region is also a producer of mineral resources (including rare metals), energy and food, and is an important contributor to the world economy as a global center for manufacturing and export in which a significant number of Japanese companies have established operations. Moreover, the “rule of law” and democracy, firmly established in nearly all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, help the region show more presence in the international community.
Japan and Latin America and the Caribbean have traditionally maintained a very friendly relationship. With over 1.78 million Japanese descendants, or “Nikkeis,” living in Latin America the human and historical bonds between Japan and the region run deep, while Japan has long maintained economic ties with Latin America and the Caribbean as Asia’s largest investor. In 2013 this relationship was raised to new levels. From late April to early May, Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida paid official visits to Mexico, Peru and Panama. During this trip, Minister Kishida, in his speech entitled “Embarking on A New Voyage with Latin America and the Caribbean,” described the two main pillars of Japan–Latin America diplomacy: (1) establishment of a new cooperative relationship for achieving mutual development and (2) enhancement of partnership toward creating a better international community based on rules. Further, in September, Minister Kishida visited Brazil and Argentina. In Brazil, Minister Kishida held talks with the Brazilian Foreign Minister, as well as with parliamentarians of Japanese descent, organizations of “Nikkei,” and with Japanese companies operating in the country.
In terms of strengthening economic relations, Japan has been making efforts to create a better business environment for Japanese companies operating in the region through establishing legal frameworks such as EPAs and investment agreements, as well as consultations with governments of partner countries based on these frameworks.
Furthermore, Japan is promoting development assistance that employs Japanese technology, as demand for urban transport and energy-related infrastructure within the region is expected to increase as a result of the region’s economic development. Japan has also been working hard on enhancing cooperative relationships with countries which are rich in those resources, in order to secure a stable supply of resources and food from the region.
With regard to increasing cooperation in the international arena, Japan has been collaborating with Latin American and Caribbean countries in addressing various issues that the international community faces, such as sustainable growth, environmental issues and climate change, nuclear disarmament and non- proliferation, as well as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reform. At the same time, Japan has been reinforcing cooperation and dialogue with regional organizations such as the Pacific Alliance. Japan is also working to improve cooperation and collaboration with Latin American and Caribbean countries through visits of key officials and political dialogue.