Diplomatic Bluebook 2015

Chapter 1

International Situation and Japan’s Diplomacy

~Heading toward the Future based on the Path we have walked over the Past 70 Years~

1.70 Years After World War II: The Path as a Peace-Loving Nation

(1) Postwar Japan: A Peace-Loving Nation

2015 marks 70 years since the end of World War II (WWII). In the international community, Japan has consistently followed the path of a peace-loving nation based on its pledge never to wage a war again and pledge for peace, stemming from a deep remorse for the war. From the end of the war when Japan was in total ruin through the present day, the people of Japan have determined never again to repeat the devastation of war, believing in freedom, democracy, respect for basic human rights, and the rule of law. Based on this, Japanese people established a prosperous society where people can live without fear and a society in which everyone enjoys opportunities.

Since the end of WWⅡ, Japan has always given priority to acting together with the international community and prospering with other countries, and rebuilt the nation through international cooperation. Japan and the United States established the Japan-U.S. Alliance with the Japan-U.S. security arrangements at its core and through the Alliance, Japan has contributed to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan joined the United Nations (UN) in order to make active contributions to the international community. Japan champions the principles of the UN and has engaged actively in global issues. Furthermore, Japan has achieved economic growth and offered new products and services to the world, while contributing to building the international economic and financial order under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

Accession to the United Nations ⒸUN Photo/MBAccession to the United Nations ⒸUN Photo/MB

Japan has not only reaped the benefits of such international frameworks as the UN and the free trade system; it has also worked to further strengthen these frameworks. As a responsible member of the international community, Japan has consistently maintained its position to contribute to peace and prosperity in Asia and the world.

In particular, Japan has attached the importance to its relations with Asian countries. Japan has not merely contributed to their economic development and political stability but has also developed “heart-to-heart” relationship of mutual trust among the region and worked together as equal partners in wide-ranging fields, including social and cultural fields.

Japan solidified democracy and became the first country in Asia to enjoy “prosperity”, through its recovery from the ashes of war and achieving high economic growth. It also overcame environmental and social problems and created a social system for safe and secure daily life. In this regard, Japan has provided a model of nation-building to many Asian countries. Investment and technology transfers from Japan helped to elevate living standards of people in Asia and the world and to create a safe and secure society. Japan’s contribution to the Asian development has been highly appreciated by the Asian countries. Japan is lauded as a country that has a positive influence in the world.1

Japan’s path over the last 70 years as a peace-loving nation is deeply ingrained among the Japanese people and will never sway. Japan will cooperate with other countries and contribute even more proactively to international peace, stability and prosperity of the world from the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation.

  • 1 According to an opinion poll on Japan in Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) countries (which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned to a third party in 2014), 92% believed Japan was playing an active role in the development of Asia. Among the areas to be contributed by Japan, the economic aspects were highly evaluated and expected in particular. Every year, BBC in the United Kingdom carries out a global poll on countries’ influence in the world. Japan annually ranks among the top countries that have a positive influence in the world.

(2) The Path over the Past 70 Years

A. Collaboration with free and democratic nations

After restoring sovereignty as an independent nation, Japan concluded the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty with the United States, against which Japan fought in WWII. The two countries then formed an alliance with the Japan-U.S. security arrangements at its core. The Japan-U.S. Alliance became the cornerstone of peace and stability not only in Japan, but also in the Asia-Pacific region. While achieving its economic growth, Japan developed its defense capability with transparency2, adhering to basic policies such as maintaining an exclusively national defense-oriented policy, not becoming a military power that poses a threat to other countries, and observing the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.

Meeting scene of the OECD in the past ⒸOECD PhotoMeeting scene of the OECD in the past ⒸOECD Photo

  • 2 Japan maintained the level of the defense budget at around 1% of gross domestic product (GDP).

After the end of the Cold War, Japan and the United States, in the Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on Security of 1996, reaffirmed that the Japan-U.S. security relationship remains the cornerstone for achieving common security objectives, and for maintaining a stable and prosperous environment in the Asia-Pacific region as they enter the 21st century. Based on this recognition, the two countries have worked to strengthen their defense cooperation, including the revision of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation in 1997. As the security environment in East Asia becomes more severe and threats in the international community diversify, the Japan-U.S. Alliance is further growing in significance for peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and the international community.

Japan, in the process of economic growth, reaped substantial benefits from the free trade system, epitomized by General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).3 Japan actively took part in the free trading negotiations and contributed to realizing a multilateral and non-discriminatory free trade system. International organizations and frameworks, notably the Group of Seven (G7)/the Group of Eight (G8), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), played a major role ensuring that the free economy achieves stable economic growth and becomes the underlying economic system that brings prosperity to the world. Japan participated in the making of this order that forms the foundation of the global economy, and has supported and promoted this system.

  • 3 WTO was established in 1995 as an international organization that advances the free trading system to succeed GATT.
B. Together with countries in Asia

Since the end of the war, Japan, as a member of Asia has striven to achieve reconciliation and forge new relations with Asian countries. Japan has sincerely dealt with the issues of reparations, property, and claims pertaining to the war, in accordance with the San Francisco Peace Treaty and other relevant international agreements and instruments. Japan has walked the postwar path with countries in Asia, building on Japan’s deep remorse over the war. Based on the path it has taken, Japan will develop future-oriented cooperative relations with Asian countries, including China, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Southeast Asian nations.

The year 1954 marked the start of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). Japan steadily increased its ODA contributions and was the largest donor in the world for most of the 1990s. Japan’s focused support and technical cooperation to Asian countries in particular were aimed at infrastructure development and improvements in education indispensable to economic development in the ROK, China, and Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) member states. In providing ODA, Japan attached importance to the ownership of the recipient countries, while drawing on the experience and knowhow from Japan’s own recovery and economic growth. Through dialogue and collaboration, Japan has contributed to human resource development and institutional development.

Assistance to the infrastructure development (Shenmu-Shuoxian railway construction project)(China)(Source: JICA)Assistance to the infrastructure development (Shenmu-Shuoxian railway construction project)(China)(Source: JICA)

In addition to ODA, the synergistic effects of Japanese companies’ investment in Southeast Asian countries and other countries gave rise to virtuous cycles. Namely, Japanese companies’ development of supply chains and value chains on a global scale has a reciprocal influence with Asian countries’ economic growth. Accordingly, Japan provided not only goods, technologies and capital, but it also scaled up safe, secure and prosperous societies in the region.

C. Working with the UN and the international community

Japan, together with the international community, has been addressing various issues and has made sincere efforts to resolve them, based on the principle of international cooperation, centering on the collaboration with the UN.

As the only country to have ever suffered the devastation of atomic bombings during war, Japan has consistently placed importance on disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. Notably, with regard to nuclear weapons, Japan has not only upheld the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, but has also made a series of diplomatic efforts to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. Japan continues to play a leading role in international efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

The role of Japan’s ODA is not confined to Asia. Following the end of the Cold War, when international interest in Africa declined, Japan launched a development initiative called the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), and has been playing a leading role in the development of Africa to date.

Japan has emphasized the principle of human security which focuses on threats that each individual faces. Based on this principle Japan has extended thorough support that reaches the grassroots level, and engaged proactively in the activities to consolidate the principle in the international community.

Japan draws to the maximum extent on its experiences and knowhow to help solve new issues confronting developing countries stemming from social development and globalization. Japan’s safe, secure and prosperous society was not built overnight. Japan overcame challenges as a welfare nation in the process of its postwar recovery and economic growth, which were achieved as a result of its efforts of the people. The challenges included new issues, such as environmental pollution and air pollution caused by industrialization, and the establishment of medical and universal health insurance systems. The skills and human resources that were fostered in this process have fulfilled a vital role in helping to solve environmental and health problems in developing countries. Japan provides keys to solving the new challenges facing many developing countries, including Japan’s world-leading disaster risk reduction technologies, and development of legal and judicial system that is increasing in importance along with economic development.

Assistance to the education improvement, Strengthening of Science and Mathematics Education (Uganda)(Source: Kouji Sato/JICA)Assistance to the education improvement, Strengthening of Science and Mathematics Education (Uganda)(Source: Kouji Sato/JICA)
Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer taking active roles in the developing country (Malawi)(Source: Kenshiro Imamura/JICA)Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer taking active roles in the developing country (Malawi)(Source: Kenshiro Imamura/JICA)

The Japanese people who work shoulder to shoulder with local stakeholders for the development of developing countries are a clear illustration of Japan as a “peace-loving nation.” Countless experts and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) volunteers, including volunteers from the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) program that marks its 50th anniversary this year, have been dispatched to developing countries to provide support leveraging Japanese knowhow. They work hard with local stakeholders while deepening their kizuna (bonds of friendship). In addition, Japan has hosted many trainees from developing countries and provided opportunities to share not only Japanese technologies and knowhow but also Japan’s professional ethics and spirit.

Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan (July 8, 2012 Tokyo)Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan (July 8, 2012 Tokyo)

Most conflicts during the Cold War reflected the ideology-based confrontation between the East and West camps and had a strong character of proxy wars. After the end of the Cold War this conflict structure lost its significance, and conflicts between ethnic and religious groups increased in various regions. In this context, Japan’s foreign policy has assumed a greater role in settling these conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. Japan indeed has expanded its diplomatic role in the new international environment.

In Cambodia, which suffered a prolonged civil war, Japan’s creative diplomatic efforts towards peace, coupled with the diplomatic efforts of the international community, played a significant role in ending the civil war and establishing a democratic government through elections.

In Japan, the Act on Cooperation with United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Other Operations (PKO Act) was enacted in 1992, based on the recognition that Japan should contribute proactively to international peace and stability. In accordance with the Act, Japan has assisted consolidation of peace in such places as Cambodia, Mozambique, the Golan Heights, and Timor-Leste. At present, Headquarters staff and engineering units of the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) have been dispatched to South Sudan, which has recently gained independence. Their activities are being collaborated with ODA to make contributions towards peace, stability and nation-building in South Sudan, including infrastructure development.

SDF personnel operating in Cambodia (UNTAC)SDF personnel operating in Cambodia (UNTAC)

The Act of Punishment and Countermeasures against Piracy (Piracy Countermeasures Act) was enacted in 2009 in recognition that it is critically important for Japan and the international community of ensuring maritime transport security. Japan has been engaged in anti-piracy activities off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden in accordance with this Act, contributing to the international cooperation related to the escort of vessels navigating these waters.

Japanese police officers operating in CambodiaJapanese police officers operating in Cambodia
Contribution in anti-piracy activities (Source: Ministry of Defense)Contribution in anti-piracy activities (Source: Ministry of Defense)

(3) New Challenges and “Proactive Contributor to Peace”

From the start of this century, the global power balance has changed dramatically, and there have been rapid advances in globalization and technological innovations. This has brought with it rising threats and diversifying risks, such as weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, international terrorist organizations, and cyber attacks. In an era when threats to the security of the nation and people are diversifying, no country can achieve neither peace and security, nor a prosperous future only by itself.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Japan will continue along the path of a “peace-loving nation.” Building upon the path it has taken, Japan, from the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation, will move forward to a bright future. Thereby, Japan, working more closely with the United States and other relevant countries, will realize its own security as well as peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, and contribute even more proactively to ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of the international community.