Diplomatic Bluebook 2015

Chapter 3

Japan’s Foreign Policy to Promote National and Worldwide Interests

Section 1 Efforts for Peace and Stability of Japan and the International Community



The security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe. In addition to the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, new threats such as cyber attacks are emerging. While the change in the global power balance provides opportunities for security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, it has also given rise to many regional issues and tensions.

In order to respond to such security issues, defend its territorial integrity, protect the lives and property of Japanese people, as well as to ensure peace, stability, and prosperity of the international community, Japan will contribute even more proactively to peace and stability of the region and international community from the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation.

To ensure Japan’s peace and stability, first it is necessary to strengthen and expand Japan’s capabilities and roles, and to this end, to develop arrangements for responding to security issues. The Government of Japan made the Cabinet Decision on Development of Seamless Security Legislation in July 2014, and it has therewith commenced the tasks of drafting legislation that enables seamless responses to any situation. In addition, Japan will develop a highly effective and joint defense force, and will take steps to defend its territorial integrity.

Second, ensuring the forward deployment of U.S. Forces under the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, and thereby strengthening their deterrence are essential not only for the security of Japan but also for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. The Governments of Japan and the United States will promote bilateral security and defense cooperation in a wide-range of areas such as maritime security, ballistic missile defense (BMD), cyberspace, outer space and extended deterrence as well as the revision of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation. With regard to the realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan, both governments are determined to reduce the impact on local communities including Okinawa, while maintaining the deterrence, by steadily implementing the existing agreements between the two governments.

Third, it is necessary for Japan to build trust and cooperative relations with its partners both within and outside the Asia-Pacific region, and to create multilayered relations for security cooperation. It is crucial that Japan promotes bilateral cooperation with both the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Australia which, like Japan, are U.S. allies, as well as with European countries, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, and India. It is also important that Japan advances trilateral cooperation under the Japan-U.S.-ROK, Japan-U.S.-Australia, and Japan-U.S.-India frameworks. While promoting relationships of trust with China and Russia through security-related dialogue and exchanges, Japan will advance collaboration and cooperation in multilateral regional cooperative frameworks, such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), and strengthen multilayered cooperative relations.

Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding

The security and prosperity of Japan cannot be achieved merely by improving the security environment surrounding Japan. It also depends on the peace and stability of the international community. Based on such understanding, Japan has been actively engaged in addressing various issues and challenges that the global society confronts. In regions emerging from conflicts, seamless peacebuilding efforts are essential in order to prevent the recurrence of the conflicts and achieve a sustainable peace. Such efforts include peacekeeping, emergency humanitarian assistance, promotion of peace processes, ensuring security, and reconstruction and development. Japan engages in peacebuilding activities as one of its key diplomatic agenda. For instance, Japan proactively cooperates with United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations (PKOs) and the UN Peacebuilding Commission, and engaged in activities on the ground with Official Development Assistance (ODA), as well as human resource development.

Threats to Security

Acts of terrorism continue to pose a great threat to the international community. In 2014, the terrorist organization “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)” drew widespread international attention in relation to the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon, among other issues. In April, a large number of female students were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. In December, over 130 people including children were killed in Pakistan. Furthermore, transnational organized crime, such as trafficking in persons, illicit drug trafficking, cybercrime and money laundering, is strongly related to terrorism as a source of financing, and therefore, it poses an increased threat. Under these circumstances, Japan implements counter-terrorism efforts in coordination with the international community, pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions. In addition, Japan promotes regional cooperation, such as adoption of the Japan-ASEAN Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat Terrorism and Transnational Crime. Japan actively provides international cooperation through capacity building assistance for countries where counter-terrorism-related legislation and other systems are inadequate. Following the terrorist shooting in Paris and the terrorist incident regarding the murder of Japanese by ISIL that took place in early 2015, Japan has decided to pursue comprehensive foreign policy efforts in line with the following three pillars: 1. Strengthening counter-terrorism measures; 2. Enhancing diplomacy towards stability and prosperity in the Middle East; and 3. Assistance in creating societies resilient to radicalization.

Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

Japan has pursued proactive initiatives to achieve the goal of “a world free of nuclear weapons.” As the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings in war, these policies allow Japan to fulfill its mission of conveying to the world the devastation caused by nuclear weapons and improve the security environment surrounding Japan. In January 2014, Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida delivered a speech in Nagasaki on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, in which he unveiled policies including the “Three Reductions” and the “Three Preventions” policies. Under the framework of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), launched by Japan and Australia in 2010, the (Eighth) NPDI Ministerial Meeting was held in 2014 in Hiroshima, the prefecture where an atomic bomb was dropped. The meeting adopted the “Hiroshima Declaration,” which invited the world’s political leaders to visit Hiroshima. Futhermore, Japan submitted an annual draft resolution entitled “United action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons” to the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, which was co-sponsored by a record high of 116 Member States in 2014, and was adopted with an overwhelming majority. In October, as in previous year, Japan joined the joint statements on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons delivered at the First Committee of the UN General Assembly under the leadership of Australia and New Zealand, respectively. In addition, Japan established the Youth Communicator for a World without Nuclear Weapons framework, which supports the younger generation in conveying the consequences of nuclear weapons at international conferences and other meetings overseas. Japan is making a great deal of effort to pass on these activities to the next generation.

Global Commons

“Open and Stable Seas,” which are upheld by maritime order governed by law and rules and not by coercion, constitute global commons essential for the peace and prosperity of the international community as a whole. From this perspective, Japan is committed to ensuring the freedom and safety of navigation and overflight of the high seas through various efforts including anti-piracy operations and cooperation with other countries. Especially for Japan, a maritime nation surrounded by sea, the international law of the sea, with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at the core, is indispensable for securing its maritime rights and interests as well as for undertaking maritime activities smoothly.

In terms of cyberspace, Japan is promoting policy coordination with its ally, the United States, and with countries which share a common interest in realizing and strengthening the rule of law, and is actively contributing to developing international rules and confidence-building measures among countries. In addition, Japan is striving in capacity-building in developing countries.

In particular, in the field of outer space, Japan hosted the Second ARF Space Security Workshop. Japan explained its efforts and views, and contributed to advancing the discussions regarding the rule making for outer space and the peaceful and safe use of outer space.

United Nations

The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN. Japan will explain in an effective manner to the international community the path it has taken as well as the contributions it has made as a peace-loving nation over the 70 years after the World War Ⅱ. In addition, Japan will continue to contribute even more proactively for international peace and prosperity toward the future.

The UN, as a universal and comprehensive international organization, is playing an ever more significant role as the international community faces diverse challenges, especially global and transnational issues. In this context, it is essential for the UN to strengthen its functions in a manner that reflects the realities of today’s international community. To enable the UN to deal with new challenges more effectively and efficiently, Japan will exercise leadership in the international community by making more active intellectual, human resource, and financial contributions in coordination with international organizations, such as the UN.

Rule of Law

It is important to establish the rule of law in the international community in order to promote stable relations between countries and facilitate the peaceful settlement of disputes. Opposed to unilateral attempts to change the status quo by coercion, Japan strives to maintain its territorial integrity, secure its maritime and economic rights and interests, and protect its citizens. In this regard, Japan considers strengthening the rule of law as one of the pillars of its foreign policy.

Based on this view, Japan promotes rule-making in bilateral and multilateral contexts in various fields, including security, social and economic areas. In order to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes, Japan contributes to strengthening of the functions of international judicial organizations, both in terms of personnel and finances, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), and the International Criminal Court (ICC). In addition, Japan endeavors to enhance the rule of law by supporting legislative development and awareness-raising on international law through events related to international law.

Human Rights

Human rights and fundamental freedoms are universal values. All states have a basic responsibility to protect and promote them. At the same time, these values are a legitimate concern of the entire international community. These values have become deeply ingrained among the Japanese people and have come to form the bedrock of the nation. Japan is working more actively than ever in the field of human rights for the peace and prosperity of Japan, and furthermore, to lay the foundations of peace and stability in the international community. Specifically, Japan makes proactive contributions through multilateral fora including the UN as well as through bilateral dialogues, aiming to improve the human rights and humanitarian situation around the world through dialogue and cooperation, taking into consideration the historical and cultural backgrounds of each state and region.


The year 2015 is a milestone year marking 20 years since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (“Beijing+20”) and 30 years since Japan became party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. It is essential for a vibrant and growing society to create an environment where women can demonstrate their power to the fullest extent. Based on this line of thinking, Japan is promoting efforts to empower women worldwide by identifying the following three priority areas: (1) Facilitating women’s participation in society and women’s empowerment; (2) Enhancing Japan’s efforts in the area of women’s health care as a part of its Strategy on Global Health Diplomacy; and (3) Supporting women’s participation and protecting their rights in the area of peace and security. In his address to the UN General Assembly session in September 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe underscored that he aims to make the 21st century a world with no human rights violations against women. Japan will continue to lead the international community in the promotion of efforts designed to build a “society in which women shine,” both domestically and internationally.