Diplomatic Bluebook 2015

Chapter 2

Japan’s Foreign Policy that Takes a Panoramic Perspective of the World Map

Section 7 Sub-Saharan Africa


With its abundant natural resources and rising population, Africa has achieved high economic growth and possesses great potential as an import source, market, and manufacturing center. Against this backdrop, Africa has drawn attention from the international community and the importance of the continent in the global economy is growing. At the same time, the development of friendly relations with the 49 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa is politically important for Japan to gain support from these countries in the international arena.

Meanwhile, the region is facing security threats such as political turmoil and terrorism. Development challenges such as poverty and infectious diseases are also urgent issues to be addressed. Helping Africa overcome these destabilizing factors is important for stabilizing not only Africa but also the entire world, and will help Japan earn the trust of the international community.

Given the importance of Japan’s diplomatic relations with Africa, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited three African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, and Ethiopia) in January 2014. In a speech on Japan’s Africa policy delivered in Ethiopia, the Prime Minister explained the virtues of Japan’s assistance centered on the development of human resources, with a special emphasis on women and youth, and of strengthening economic relations with Japan. In addition, the Prime Minister conducted “top-level sales” in each country. Moreover, the Prime Minister announced that as a “Proactive Contributor to Peace,” Japan was prepared to extend assistance of approximately 320 million US dollars for addressing conflicts and disasters in Africa. In May, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida co-chaired the First TICAD V (Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development) Ministerial Meeting in Yaoundé (Cameroon) attended by 34 minister-level delegates, and reported on the steady progress of the support measures announced at TICAD V.

Within Japan, the Ministerial Meeting on Economic Strategy for Africa was set up under the leadership of Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato following Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Africa. A framework was thus established to implement whole-of-government efforts for stimulating Japanese economy by capturing a share of Africa’s economic growth. In “Japan Revitalization Strategy Revised in 2014,” it was stated that Japan would encourage initiatives by Regional Economic Communities (RECs) that will lead to the creation of broader markets in Africa.

To promote public-private joint initiatives, in August, the Government of Japan dispatched the Public and Private Sector Joint Mission for Promoting Trade and Investment for Africa to Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania. In December, the Second TICAD Public-Private Roundtable Meeting was held. At the meeting, the Japanese Government and the Japanese business community shared information and exchanged views on the Government’s supports to Africa and measures for promoting business in Africa.

In the area of peace and stability, Japan continues to carry out activities such as capacity building through the provision of supports to PKO training centers in Africa and the dispatch of Japan Self-Defense Forces to South Sudan, off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. In response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, Japan has implemented seamless assistance in coordination with the international community from the perspective of human security.