Diplomatic Bluebook 2015
International Situation and Japan’s Diplomacy
～Heading toward the Future based on the Path we have walked over the Past 70 Years～
2.International Situation and Japan’s Diplomacy in 2014
(1) Changes in the International Situation
A. Challenges to the existing international order
25 years since the end of the Cold War
In the milestone year of 2014, which marked the 25th year since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the “post-Cold War” international order faced a monumental challenge due to the Ukraine issue and “the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)”. The years immediately following the Cold War saw rising expectations towards the stabilization of international affairs. There was a belief that values, such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law would be shared in the advancement of globalization and greater economic interdependence, and this would lead to the stability worldwide. Nevertheless, these expectations have not adequately come to fruition, especially in the realms of politics and security. Actions motivated by geopolitical interests and traditional inter-state gains still persist steadfastly. Furthermore, there have been signs of the revival of authoritarian regimes.
The balance of power among states that has supported the international order is currently undergoing changes. The so-called emerging countries, such as China, have achieved rapid economic growth and assumed an increasing presence in the international community. While there have been relative changes in the U.S. influence in the international community, the United States still occupies a leading position in overall national strength. These changes in the balance of power have destabilized order everywhere in the world, and have led to acts attempting to deny existing national borders and disturb the maritime order.
Crisis in Ukraine
After November 2013, in Kyiv, Ukraine, massive protests erupted over the Yanukovych Administration’s decision to postpone the signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union (EU), Ukraine. The Administration failed to stabilize the situation even after the beginning of 2014. As a result, the Administration fell apart in February of that year.
As confusion spread over Ukraine, Russia began to take actions that infringed on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. In the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, “the referendum” for “incorporation” of Crimea into Russia was conducted in a manner that was not in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine. Russia then recognized Crimea’s independence from Ukraine and illegally “annexed” Crimea.
Subsequently, fighting broke out between the Kyiv Government and armed separatists in eastern Ukraine. An estimated 6,000 people were killed or injured.
The Middle East has fallen further into turmoil even after the transformation known as the “Arab Spring.” Under such circumstances, the Islamic extremist armed group, ISIL, has deeply shocked the world. ISIL traces its origin to an armed group in Iraq and expanded the areas under its control by taking advantage of the conflicts and confusion in Syria. At one time, ISIL grew into a force powerful enough to threaten the invasion of Baghdad.
ISIL, declaring its intention to revive “Caliphate”, denies the existence of national borders and nation states, and directly challenges the existing international order, extending beyond the framework of traditional terrorist organizations. ISIL has killed foreign hostages, including Japanese nationals. Furthermore, ISIL’s growing power has led to a large-scale outflow of refugees and internally displaced persons. In the areas under its control, humanitarian crises have arisen, including the enforcement of obedience upon the people by severe means.
B. Security environment in the Asia-Pacific
In the Asia-Pacific, North Korea continues to develop nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. China is strengthening its military capabilities with lack of transparency and conducts operations in the East China Sea and South China Sea. In addition, countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia, coupled with the changes in the regional security environment and economic growth in each country, are enhancing their defense capabilities.
North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and the regime’s unclear direction
North Korea’s political regime, centering on of Kim Jong-un, the First Chairman of the National Defense Commission, adopts the “byungjin policy” which simultaneously pursues the build-up of nuclear armed forces and economic construction. North Korea’s continued development of nuclear weapons and missile capacities remains a grave threat to peace and stability in the region and the international community.
China’s advance in military capabilities with lack of transparency and unilateral attempts to change the status quo
As China’s national power increases along with its economic development, the country is expected to share and comply with international norms, and fulfill a proactive and cooperative role in addressing regional and global issues. Meanwhile, by continuing to sharply increase its national defense spending, China rapidly advances its military capabilities in a wide range with lack of transparency. China has reinforced the organizational structure and equipment of its maritime law enforcement agencies, as exemplified by the China Coast Guard, while they are not under the command and order of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Based on its assertions which are incompatible with the existing order of international law, China continues unilateral attempt to change the status quo in waters and airspace, including the East China Sea and South China Sea.
In the East China Sea, China has continued its operations, including incursions into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands, which are an inherent part of the territory of Japan. In May 2014, China’s PLA fighters conducted abnormal flights, coming within about 30m of JSDF aircraft which were flying above the high seas in the East China Sea, accentuating the exceptional nature of China’s actions.
In the South China Sea, in May, China unilaterally deployed an oil drilling rig in a sea area in which China and Viet Nam have not delimited a border. Viet Nam dispatched government vessels to the area, and collisions with Chinese vessels occurred repeatedly, leading to heightening of tension (China removed the rig in July). The Philippines commenced arbitration procedure in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) with respect to the dispute between the Philippines and China regarding the South China Sea. However, China has not participated in the arbitration process. Large-scale land reclamation and building of a runway and ports in the South China Sea are drawing international attention.
C.New threats to the international community
Threat of international terrorism
Amid the increasing threat of act of terrorism by ISIL and other terrorist organizations, 2014 was a year in which the international community reaffirmed the importance of coming together to combat terrorism. ISIL calls on Muslims around the world to join the global jihad movement. Europe and North America have witnessed acts of terrorism committed by Islamic extremists and others influenced by ISIL’s calls. In the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere, ISIL has brought about a rise of Islamic extremist organizations that sympathize with ISIL’s cause. As noted above, acts of terrorism by Islamic extremists have occurred all over the world. In early 2015, many innocent civilians, including Japanese nationals, lost their lives. The threat of terrorism by organizations such as ISIL poses a threat to the entire international community.
Threats to the global commons
Technological progress has expanded humankind’s field of activities and has led to the broader use of global commons, such as cyberspace, the seas, and outer space. This offers great opportunities, but is also increasing the risks accompanying the use of such global commons.
Maritime order is underpinned by international law notably reflected in UNCLOS. However, recent years have seen increasing unilateral actions in an attempt to change the status quo by force or coercion. It is necessary for each country to address wide-ranging issues, including such problems as piracy, unidentified vessels, and the environment, while the international community needs to act in unison to develop and comply appropriate international rules.
Threats in cyberspace are also increasing. The cyber attacks against Sony Pictures Entertainment in the United States in November, for example, caused a stir worldwide. In these attacks, it has been suggested that government entities were involved. Cyberspace risks are a pressing concern for the whole world and must be dealt with by the entire international community coordinating and working together.
With regard to outer space, its role in security has gathered attention, such as for reinforcing information gathering and surveillance capabilities. Meanwhile, outer space has become increasingly congested as more countries utilize it. In addition, there are risks which could impede the use of outer space, such as the increasing number of space debris and the development of anti-satellite weapons.
The rules to applicable to the utilization of outer space and cyberspace are still in the process of development. It is necessary to deepen international discussions and make rules to realize a good balance between free use and adequate management of outer space and cyberspace while dealing with specific issues.
Ebola virus disease
Since around July 2014, the Ebola virus disease, a highly deadly infection, has spread rapidly and infected over 20,000 people (as of January 2015) in West Africa. A UN Security Council Resolution adopted in September determined that the unprecedented extent of the Ebola outbreak constituted a threat to international peace and security, and called on the international community to take extraordinary response. Such large-scale outbreak of infectious diseases poses a significant threat to the globalized world, requiring new initiatives by the international community.
(2) Japan’s Strategic Diplomacy
Japan has been committed to furthering its national interests and has proactively addressed global issues. Japan’s foreign policy efforts have contributed to enhancing Japan’s presence in the international community and to expanding its network of cooperative partners. Moving forward, Japan will contribute even more proactively to secure peace, stability, and prosperity in the international community from the policy “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation.
A. “Japan’s foreign policy that Takes a Panoramic Perspective of the World Map” and “Proactive Contributor to Peace”
Since the inauguration of the Abe administration, Japan has carried out strategic diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map.
The promotion of “Abenomics,” whose objectives are exiting deflation and revitalizing the Japanese economy, has raised international expectations and interest in Japan. Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida actively made overseas visits. As a result, Japan’s presence in the international community has steadily risen, and personal cooperative relations have deepened between Prime Minister Abe and leaders of countries as well as between Foreign Minister Kishida and foreign ministers of countries. Since the inauguration of the Abe administration, Prime Minister Abe visited 54 countries and regions and conducted 252 summit meetings. Foreign Minister Kishida visited 35 countries and regions and conducted 178 foreign ministers’ meetings (as of January 31, 2015).
Japan’s commitment to realizing peace and prosperity in the world has steadily garnered international support as Japan takes concrete steps from the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation. Japan will address global issues even more proactively, such as disarmament and non-proliferation, peacebuilding, economic development, disaster risk reduction, climate change, human rights and women’s empowerment, and the establishment of rule of law. At the same time, Japan will develop seamless security legislation to respond to the increasingly severe security environment surrounding Japan.
B. Three pillars of Japan’s foreign policy
Japan remains committed to furthering its national interests based on the three pillars of: (1) strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance; (2) deepening cooperative relations with neighboring countries; and (3) strengthening economic diplomacy as a means to promoting the revitalization of the Japanese economy.
Strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance
The Japan-U.S. Alliance is the linchpin of Japan’s foreign policy. Japan will work with the Obama administration that adopts the rebalance policy towards the Asia-Pacific, and will continue to strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance in all areas.
Since the inauguration of the Abe administration, cooperative relations between the two countries have further deepened through frequent mutual visits by Japanese and U.S. top-level officials. When President Barack Obama visited Japan as a state guest in April, the two leaders confirmed a leading role of the Japan-U.S. Alliance plays a leading role in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific. Additionally, the two countries will steadily strengthen their security and defense cooperation, including through the revision of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, and further enhance deterrence. Japan will proceed with the realignment of the U.S. Forces in Japan in accordance with existing bilateral agreements, including the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, and work on reducing the impacts on local communities, including Okinawa.
Likewise, Japan and the United States will deepen bilateral trade and investment relations, and continue to strengthen cooperative relations in a variety of areas, including energy. Both countries have agreed to make further efforts to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations at an early date, and will continue to collaborate in this endeavor.
Deepening cooperative relations with neighboring countries
Enhancing our relations with neighboring countries constitutes the basis for securing a stable environment surrounding Japan.
Japan-China relations are one of the most important bilateral relationships. The summit meeting and foreign ministers’ meeting held on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Beijing in November were a first step for returning to the starting point of building a “Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests”4 and improving the bilateral relationship. Japan will continue to engage in a series of dialogues and cooperation at various levels and in various areas.
The ROK is Japan’s most important neighbor. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of the Japan-ROK relations. Japan will continue to maintain communication at various levels and make steady efforts to build a future-oriented and multi-layered bilateral relationship through efforts of both countries from a broader perspective.
In light of the increasingly severe security environment, it is essential that Japan deepen cooperative relations with partners in the Asia-Pacific. From this viewpoint, Japan has strengthened its collaboration with countries sharing values such as freedom and democracy. The leaders of Japan and Australia identified their bilateral relationship as a “special relationship.” When Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India visited Japan in September, he and Prime Minister Abe agreed to elevate the Japan-India relationship to the “Special Strategic and Global Partnership.”
With ASEAN member states, Japan has forged relations of trust through mutual visits by top-level officials, including heads of state and government. Japan will continue to steadily strengthen the cooperation that was agreed upon and deepen the friendly relations between Japan and ASEAN, which were raised to new heights upon the Japan-ASEAN Commemorative Summit Meeting held in 2013.
With Russia, Japan will promote bilateral relations through political dialogues with a view to contributing to Japan’s national interests. Japan called upon Russia in respect to the situation in Ukraine, based on its position that Japan will never accept any attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion. At the same time, Japan has extended supports to improve the economic situation in Ukraine. Japan will continue to give priority to G7 solidarity and called on Russia to play a constructive role towards the peaceful resolution of the situation.
Regarding North Korea, Japan, under its policy of “dialogue and pressure” and in accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, will aim to comprehensively resolve the outstanding issues of concern, such as the abduction, nuclear, and missile issues. As well as being a critical issue concerning the sovereignty of Japan and the lives and safety of Japanese citizens, abduction by North Korea constitutes a universal issue among the international community as a violation of fundamental human rights. While cooperating with the international community, Japan remains committed to applying its utmost efforts towards the resolution of this issue.
- 4 In October 2006, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited China, and Japan and China agreed to strive to build a “Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests.”
Strengthening economic diplomacy as a means to promoting the revitalization of the Japanese economy
Strengthening strategic economic diplomacy as a means to promote the revitalization of the Japanese economy and its further growth is one of the priority policies of Japan. In order to regain a strong Japan and revitalize its economy, Japan will create an international economic environment that is favorable to Japan. At international fora, including the G7, G20 and APEC, Japan will proactively take part in the forming of a new international economic order and ensure that such discussions lead to the growth and development of the Japanese economy and revitalize the Japanese economy.
To translate the recovery of the Japanese economy in steady growth, the public and private sectors need to work together to promote the overseas activites of Japanese companies, and thereby, tap into the growth of other countries, including emerging countries. Under the command of the Headquarters for the Promotion of Japanese Business Support headed by Foreign Minister Kishida, Japan’s diplomatic missions overseas, including embassies and consulates general proactively support Japanese companies, with the heads of diplomatic missions spearheading this effort.
Expanding the international economic system which is open and rule-based is critically important for the growth of the world economy and Japan’s economic prosperity. Japan has promoted high-level Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) as one of the pillars of its growth strategy. The Japan-Australia EPA was signed in 2014 and entered into force in January 2015. An agreement in principle on the Japan-Mongolia EPA was reached in 2014, and the EPA was signed in February 2015. In addition, Japan commenced negotiations on the Japan-Turkey EPA and is making steady progress in this regard.
In parallel with bilateral negotiations, Japan has also been engaged in negotiations for pluriliteral economic partnership agreements such as the TPP Agreement. Japan will actively take part in the discussions for promoting regional economic integration based on the Beijing Roadmap for APEC’s Contribution to the Realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) endorse at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing in 2014.
The multilateral trading system led by the WTO, plays a key role in creating new rules and implementing existing rules that includes dispute settlement. Japan will continue to engage in broad efforts to maintain and strengthen the system.
Ensuring a stable supply of natural resources at reasonable prices forms the basis of the viability of the Japanese economy. Japan has conducted strategic resource diplomacy, including strengthening of comprehensive and mutually beneficial ties with resource-rich countries, diversification of its resource-supplying countries, and ensuring of the security of transport routes.
In 2014, which marked the 50th anniversary of Japan’s accession to the OECD, Japan chaired the Ministerial Council Meeting. The Ministerial Council Meeting was attended by Prime Minister Abe, Foreign Minister Kishida, and three other ministers. Japan led the discussions among member states based on the two pillars: resilient economies and inclusive societies; and strengthening ties between the OECD and South East Asia.
C. Japan, a country that proactively engages in global issues and toils for the interests of the entire world
2015 marks 70 years since the end of WWII and the founding of the UN. The year 2015 also marks 70 years since the atomic bombings. It is a milestone year for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, development agenda, climate change, disaster risk reduction, and UN Security Council reform, among other areas. Japan will even more proactively contribute to global issues from the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation. In particular, Japan will further enhance its diplomacy in the UN in 2015, the 70th anniversary of the UN, and in 2016, the 60th commemoration of Japan’s accession to the UN, as the “years for taking concrete actions.”
Contribution to realizing a human-centered society
Japan will stand in solidarity with people in vulnerable positions in the international community and make international contributions towards realizing a society which maximizes the potentials of people.
(Creating a society in which women shine)
Under the slogan of realizing “a society in which all women shine” in Japan and overseas, the Abe administration organized an international symposium for creating “a society in which women shine” in September called the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo (“WAW! Tokyo 2014”) . The output of the discussions was compiled as recommendations and distributed to the world. Japan will continue to further strengthen its efforts in this area, including collaborating with the international community and assisting developing countries.
(Child, persons with disabilities, elderly)
The year 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Japan will make further progress on the international efforts to create a society in which children can realize their maximum potential with a sense of reassurance. Furthermore, in 2014, Japan ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Japan will take this opportunity to further promote international cooperation towards securing the rights of persons with disabilities. In addition, Japan will share with the world its abundant knowledge on aging population, and carry out international cooperation as a country that is a forerunner in finding solutions.
(Post-2015 Development Agenda)
Japan proactively takes part in the discussions on the new international development goals (Post-2015 Development Agenda) to be adopted in 2015. Japan is working to ensure that the agenda reflects the principle of human security, and that it incorporates development issues to which Japan is expected to make significant contributions, such as issues in the areas of health and disaster risk reduction.
Contribution to prosperity
(Economic rule making)
In addition to maintaining and strengthening the multilateral trading system, Japan will expand networks of high-level economic partnerships and further boost open and rule-based global economic activities.
(New Development Cooperation Charter)
In February 2015, the Development Cooperation Charter, which takes into account the changes in the environment surrounding development cooperation, was approved as a Cabinet decision. In light of the 60-year history of Japan’s development cooperation, Japan will more proactively contribute to the resolution of development challenges based on three basic policies: (i) Contributing to peace and prosperity through cooperation for non-military purposes; (ii) Promoting human security; and (iii) Cooperation aimed at self-reliant development through assistance for self-help efforts as well as dialogue and collaboration based on Japan’s experience and expertise.
To reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, Japan actively contributes to the negotiations to adopt a fair and effective framework, which is applicable to all Parties, at the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) to be held late in 2015. Furthermore, Japan will contribute to the support for developing countries through the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
(Disaster risk reduction)
Japan, which has accumulated knowledge and technologies related to disaster risk reduction from its experiences with a number of natural disasters, has made proactive international contributions in the area of disaster risk reduction. Taking the opportunity of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai in March 2015, Japan intends to continuously promote the “mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction” and to integrate it into various policies, by sharing the world Japan’s experiences and lessons learned from past disasters.
Contribution to peace
(ISIL, Ebola virus disease, Ukraine)
In 2014, Japan contributed proactively to resolving the situations that undermined international peace and security. During Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the Middle East in January 2015, the Prime Minister announced assistance of a total of 200 million US dollars in non-military fields, including assistance for refugees and displaced persons from Iraq and Syria and human resource development in order to counter ISIL. Japan will continue to work with the international community to contribute as much as possible to supporting moderate countries in the Middle East.
In response to the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease, Japan has been seamlessly implementing wide-ranging assistance to the infected countries not only to stop the spread of epidemic and to provide treatment, but also to prevent the disease and reconstruction of health systems. Furthermore, Japan has been extending supports to prevent the disease in neighboring countries.
In response to the situation in Ukraine, Japan announced economic assistance to improve the economic situation, including up to approximately 1.5 billion US dollars in yen loans and other support, and is steadily implementing this assistance. In addition, Japan provided assistance to establish democratic political processes, such as corruption prevention and rule of law. Japan also provided humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons as a result of the deterioration of the situation in Eastern Ukraine.
(Proactive efforts disarmament and non-proliferation efforts)
Japan has led the international effort to realize a world free of nuclear weapons as the only country to have ever suffered the devastation of atomic bombings during war and as a responsible member of the international community. In order to maintain and strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime which constitutes the foundation of the current international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, Japan will lead discussions for the successful holding of the NPT Review Conference in 2015. Additionally, Japan will continue its diplomatic efforts towards the comprehensive resolution of Iran’s nuclear issue and continue to make efforts to enhance international nuclear safety.
(Promotion of international peace cooperation)
So far, Japan has dispatched over 10,000 personnel to a total of 13 UN PKO and other peacekeeping missions. Japan’s achievements in the area of international peace cooperation have received significant praise domestically and internationally. Headquarters staff have been dispatched since 2011 and engineering units have been dispatched since 2012 to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS). Japan will continue to make more proactive contributions through the dispatch of personnel, intellectual contributions, capacity building, and more.
In the area of the Middle East peace process, Japan has implemented foreign policy to contribute to the realization of peace. In January 2015, during his visit to the Middle East, Prime Minister Abe announced assistance of a total of 100 million US dollars as support to Palestine. Japan will continue to make unique contributions through its “Corridor for Peace and Prosperity” initiative and other efforts.
In the world where amount of information is rapidly increasing, where communication methods are diversifying, and where many countries are devoting more of their resource into public diplomacy, Japan will proactively communicate with international community to further convey it’s views and diverse attraction.
(Enhancing the Foreign Policy Implementation Structure)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) continues its efforts to enhance its comprehensive foreign policy implementation structure. MOFA will make efforts to achieve a further reform of the diplomatic missions overseas and the personal structure in order to ensure a level of foreign policy implementation structure that is comparable to those of other major countries.
1. Expansion of power of ISIL and countermeasures
(1) What is ISIL?
ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is a terrorist group active in Syria, Iraq, and other countries. ISIL’s origin allegedly dates back to a terrorist group named “Jama’at Al-Tawhid wal-Jihad,” which was organized by an Islamic extremist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, perpetrating terrorist acts targeting the US troops stationed in Iraq (withdrawn in 2011) and the Iraqi government and security forces.
After the leader, Al-Zarqawi, was killed during sweeping operations by the US forces and Iraqi security forces, the group’s activities temporarily slumbered. Merging with several other Islamic extremist groups, it reinvigorated its activities as the “Islamic State of Iraq.” The group announced in April 2013 that it would go into Syria, where anti-government uprising became serious, and at the same time renamed itself the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL).
In June 2014, ISIL staged an incursion into northern Iraq and took control of many cities one after another, including Mosul, the second largest city of Iraq. On June 29, ISIL unilaterally declared the establishment of the “Islamic State” (IS) led by Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who calls himself “Caliph” (a leader of the worldwide Muslim community).
It is pointed out that there are several factors as the background to the rapid expansion of ISIL’s sphere of activity, such as the social dissatisfaction of Sunni Muslims including former affiliates of the Saddam Hussein regime, and the power vacuum created by the crisis in Syria. Against such background, ISIL enhanced its fighting strength and influence by means such as recruiting skilled fighters who have accumulated combat experience in conflict zones such as Syria, obtaining lucrative financial resources through oil fields that it captured and active publicity campaign through the Internet.
At the beginning of 2015, ISIL placed areas across Syria and Iraq under its influence, and in the sphere of activity it operates under Islamic law (Sharia) interpreted in its own way. ISIL’s activities include inhumane acts that abuse basic human rights of the local population, such as enslavement of women, human trafficking, suppression of other religions, and brutal punishments including beheading. Its activities pose a serious threat not only to the Middle East region but also to the overall order of international community.
ISIL’s activities have created a huge number of refugees and internally displaced persons in Iraq, Syria and neighbouring countries, and have placed them in abominable living conditions. This has become a serious humanitarian concern. Also, substantial number of foreign fighters have joined ISIL not only from Middle Eastern countries but also from all over the world. There is a concern that those foreign fighters might encourage planning and execution of terrorist attacks, and accelerate extremism among the younger generation in their home countries once they go home. Indeed, terrorist incidents which are suspected to be caused by, or related to, ISIL have spread across all over the world and have become a concern not only to the Middle East region but to international community as a whole. Many prominent religious leaders in the Islamic world and Muslim countries have voiced strong criticism that the ideas that ISIL advocates and represents are incompatible with Islamic values.
(The government of Japan refers the group as “ISIL” and avoids usage of self-proclaimed name of “Islamic State” (IS), such that it will not be understood as a state. The term “ISIL” is used in various documents in the international community, including the UN Security Council resolutions.)
(2) Expansion of ISIL and the measures taken by the international community
The international community has taken countermeasures against the serious threat posed by ISIL. The United States and other western countries initiated airstrikes on northern Iraq in August 2014. In September, they also conducted air strikes in Syrian territory joined by neighbouring Arab states. The airstrikes have continued ever since. Efforts by the international community were strengthened, for example, by adopting the UN Security Council resolution that calls on all member states to take measures to sever the flow of people, goods and funds. Furthermore, the international community is providing humanitarian assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons in order to address humanitarian crisis caused by the activities of ISIL.
Based on the understanding that a comprehensive, long term and internationally coordinated effort is necessary to counter the threat of ISIL, the “Global Coalition to Counter ISIL” was formed under the US leadership. Each country is making individual contribution while coordinating with others in five areas of (i) providing military support and training; (ii) stopping the flow of foreign terrorist fighters; (iii) severing ISIL’s access to funding and financing; (iv) providing humanitarian aid and addressing humanitarian crises; and (v) exposing ISIL’s true nature (de-legitimizing its ideology).
(3) Actions of the government of Japan
Japan strongly condemns all types of terrorism and supports fight against terrorism by the international community. As one of the responsible members of the international community, Japan implements the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, such as Resolution 2178, which requires member states to impose restriction on travel whose aim is to conduct act of terrorism. Japan will make non-military contribution in coordination with international community such as assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons and humanitarian aid to neighbouring countries using Japan’s own strength.
As a part of such assistance, Japan has provided humanitarian assistance of 1.8 million US dollars in February and 6 million US dollars in June 2014 respectively to address the internally displaced people in Iraq created by the activities of ISIL. In September, taking into account the worsened humanitarian situation, Japan provided humanitarian aid of about 25.5 million US dollars for internally displaced persons in Iraq and Syrian refugees that flowed into Lebanon and so on. In addition, during the visit to the Middle East in January 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced additional assistance of about 200 million US dollars with the aim to support Iraq, Syria and neighbouring countries contending with ISIL. Major component of the assistance is humanitarian aid for refugees and internally displaced persons. These efforts by Japan are highly appreciated by the international community including Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq and Jordan, which expressed their gratitude.
Japan has participated in various international conferences to discuss counter-ISIL efforts. In particular, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Sonoura attended the UN Security Council high level meeting on the “Situation in Iraq” (September 2014). As one of the members of the “Global Coalition to Counter ISIL,” Japan makes active contribution in non-military field.
As medium to long term efforts that utilize its own strength, Japan will implement measures that would lead to defection of local population away from ISIL. At its core there will be measures that will lead to stabilization of people’s livelihood such as development of infrastructure, improvement of governance, fostering of human resources and nation building with the aim of preventing extremism from taking root and achieving regional stability. On January 20, 2015, a video clip was uploaded online, in which two Japanese nationals captured by ISIL in Syria, and then they were thought to be murdered in a brutal manner by ISIL. These inhumane and despicable acts of terrorism reaffirmed the threat of ISIL. Japan will further expand its humanitarian assistance based on its policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principles of international cooperation. Japan will steadfastly fulfil its responsibility in the international community that fights terrorism.
2. Terrorist Incident Regarding the Murder of Japanese
(1) The government of Japan acknowledged, on August 16, 2014, missing of Mr. Haruna Yukawa in Syria, and on November 1, missing of Mr. Kenji Goto in Syria. To deal with these incidents, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) established a response team led by the director-general of the Consular Affairs Bureau in Tokyo and a local emergency response centre headed by Chargés d’Affaires ad interim to Syria in Jordan (The temporary office of the Embassy of Japan to Syria locates in the Embassy of Japan in Jordan.). Paying special attention to confidentiality due to the special nature of the incidents and placing the top priority on the safety of the Japanese nationals, the government of Japan made utmost efforts in close cooperation with relevant countries, making the best possible use of all channels to most effectively ensure their safety. These efforts included, for example, information gathering, since late August, by sending more than 10 officials in total from the MOFA Tokyo office and overseas diplomatic missions to Turkey, which borders with Syria, and support for the families of both persons, making close contact with them and giving cereful consideration for their feelings and situation.
(2) On January 20, 2015, video footage was uploaded online by ISIL, in which persons appearing to be Mr. Yukawa and Mr. Goto were shown, with the ISIL’s warning that they would be killed unless the government of Japan would pay 200 million US dollars within 72 hours. MOFA immediately established an emergency response headquarters, and the government of Japan published the message on the same day, stating that it strongly insisted on the immediate release of the two Japanese nationals, Japanese assistance of 200 million US dollars to Middle Eastern countries is for humanitarian aid, and it would not give in to terrorism.
Prime Minister Abe made contact, including conference calls, with the leaders of Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Turkey, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, asking for their cooperation, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida did the same with his counterparts in Germany, the United States, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Iran, Turkey and South Korea. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakayama, who was dispatched to Jordan, received a commitment of full cooperation from the King of Jordan and took leadership of local activities as the head of the local emergency response centre.
(3) On January 24, an image appearing to show that Mr. Haruna Yukawa had been murdered was uploaded online together with a warning that Mr. Goto would also be killed unless a female prisoner who was sentenced to death and put in jail in Jordan would be released. On January 27, a message was uploaded alerting that the killing of Mr. Goto would be followed by the killing of the Jordanian pilot captured by ISIL unless a hostage exchange of the female prisoner and Mr. Goto was made within 24 hours. On January 29, a voice message was uploaded stating that the Jordanian pilot would be killed unless the preparation of exchange of the female prisoner and Mr. Goto would be completed before sunset on the same day. On February 1, a video clip was uploaded showing that Mr. Goto had been murdered. On the same day, Prime Minister Abe published his statement resolutely condemning these impermissible and outrageous terrorist acts (http://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/tp/page4e_000183.html).
(4) Since these incidents occurred, MOFA has sent Region-wide Safety Information to the Japanese citizens living in the Middle East and all other areas of the world to take measures to ensure their safety. MOFA also sent all Japanese diplomatic missions abroad several instructions to organize meetings of “the Security Consultation and Liaison Committee”, a consultative body consisting of Japanese diplomatic mission members and representatives of the Japanese residents, and to enhance the security of the Japanese schools in the countries. On February 3, Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida instructed to set up a task force at which Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakane presides, in order to consider measures to be taken to strengthen security for overseas Japanese. The task force will make recommendations as soon as possible which identify measures needed to strengthen security for overseas Japanese and action plans to implement such measures.
3. Japan’s Diplomacy after the Terrorist Incident Regarding the Murder of Japanese
The government of Japan will take comprehensive and proactive measures in line with the following “three pillars”.