Diplomatic Bluebook 2015

Chapter 3

Japan’s Foreign Policy to Promote National and Worldwide Interests

5.Global Commons

(1) The Oceans and Seas

Based on maritime order governed by law and rules and not by coercion, “Open and Stable Seas” constitute global commons, essential for peace and prosperity not only of Japan, but also of the international community as a whole. It is therefore necessary to maintain and uphold them.

In recent years, there are an increasing number of cases where interests of countries clash with each other from the perspective of securing resources and national security. In particular, disputes have arisen among coastal states in the South China Sea and there is growing concern about unilateral attempts to change the status quo by coercion.

Against this background, Japan has been making every effort to stabilize and maintain order at sea and to ensure the freedom and safety of navigation and overflight; for instance, at the Shangri-La Dialogue in May 2014, Prime Minister Abe advocated the “Three Principles on the Rule of Law at Sea.”

A. Order at Sea
(a) The importance of order at sea for Japan

Japan is a maritime nation surrounded by sea and depends on marine transport for almost all of its imports of energy and resources, such as petroleum and minerals. Moreover, as Japan is an island nation with few natural resources, marine living resources and the mineral resources of the continental shelf and deep seabed of surrounding waters present economic significance. Thus Japan needs to actively contribute to the stability and maintenance of order at sea.

(b) The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and relevant Japanese initiatives

Also known as the “Constitution for the Seas,” UNCLOS is the very basis of maritime order governed by law and rules. The Convention comprehensively provides principles governing uses of the sea, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight. It also stipulates the rights and obligations under international law on the development of marine resources and so on. Furthermore, this Convention led to the establishment of international organizations such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), and the International Seabed Authority (ISA). 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention, which has been ratified by 166 countries (including some not recognized by Japan), including Japan, as well as by the EU; as such, it is increasingly universally applied.

As a leading maritime nation, Japan regards the Convention as the cornerstone in order to secure Japan’s maritime interests and facilitate its maritime activities. As such, Japan actively contributes to discussions at Meetings of States Parties to the Convention and other conferences in order to ensure that the Convention will be even more widely applied and implemented appropriately. Furthermore, Japan has done its utmost to build, maintain, and develop fair order at sea under the Convention, by various means such as holding international symposiums on the Law of the Sea where eminent Japanese and foreign experts are invited.

(c) Japan’s contribution to international organizations established under UNCLOS

ITLOS is a judicial court established under UNCLOS to peacefully resolve disputes concerning the sea and to maintain and develop legal order in the maritime field. For Japan, as a maritime nation that promotes the rule of law in the international community, ITLOS plays a vital role. In addition to its financial contributions, Japan also contributes to the ITLOS in terms of human resources, including judges. To date, two Japanese have been elected in succession to serve as ITLOS judges, with Judge Shunji Yanai, who was appointed in 2005 (and served as President of the Tribunal from 2011 to 2014) and was re-elected in the 2014 election, receiving the highest number of votes among all candidates from the Asia-Pacific group.

Similarly, Japan has contributed to the CLCS and the ISA which were also established under the Convention not only financially, but also in terms of human resources, providing members of both organizations since their establishment.

B. Maritime Security

Japan actively contributes to ensuring the safety and freedom of navigation and overflight through anti-piracy measures in Asia and Africa, as well as close partnership and cooperation with many countries.

(a) Anti-piracy measures off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden
(Current status of piracy and armed robbery cases)

According to figures released by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), there were 11 cases of piracy and armed robbery (hereinafter “cases of piracy, etc.”) off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden in 2014, marking a substantial fall from the 2011 peak (237 cases). The drop is due to the maritime law-enforcement activities of various navies and self-defense measures adopted by the merchant ships. However the root causes of piracy off the coast of Somalia have remained unresolved. So the situation could easily revert if the international community reduces its commitment.

(Extension of anti-piracy operations and record of escort activities)

Since 2009, Japan has been conducting anti-piracy operations by deploying two Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers (with coast guard officers aboard as well) and two P-3C maritime patrol aircraft to the Gulf of Aden. On July 18, 2014, the Japanese Cabinet decided to continue anti-piracy operations based on the Act on Punishment and Countermeasures against Piracy for another year.

The deployed destroyers protected 304 merchant ships on 94 escort operations between January and December 2014, while the P-3C maritime patrol aircraft did 216 mission flights, which they conducted surveillance information gathering, and provided information to naval vessels of other countries. In January 2014, a French naval team boarded a suspicious vessel on the basis of information provided by the SDF and took five pirates into custody.

(Promotion of international cooperation in anti-piracy measures)

Japan is engaged in multi-layered efforts: support for enhancement of maritime security capacity of Somalia and neighboring countries, and support for stability of Somalia in order to solve root causes of piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Japan has contributed 14.6 million US dollars to a fund established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), through which it assists the establishment of Information Sharing Centers in Yemen, Kenya, and Tanzania, as well as the construction of a training center in Djibouti for capacity building of the region. Moreover, Japan has contributed 4.5 million US dollars to an international trust fund managed by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), through which it assists in improving courts and training judicial officers in Somalia and neighboring countries, as well as repatriation to Somalia of those found guilty of piracy in the neighboring countries including Seychelles.

With a view to promoting stability in Somalia, Japan has provided a total of 323.1 million US dollars since 2007 aimed at improvement of public security, humanitarian aid, employment creation, and support for the police.

(b) Anti-piracy measures in Asia

To encourage regional cooperation in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea, Japan was at the forefront of efforts to formulate the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), which entered into force in 2006. Each of the Contracting Parties provides information regarding piracy and armed robbery at sea and cooperate via the Information Sharing Center (ReCAAP-ISC) established in Singapore under the Agreement. Japan supports the activities of ReCAAP-ISC by sending its Executive Director and an Assistant Director, in addition to the provision of financial support. ReCAAP’s initiatives have been highly praised internationally as a successful model of regional cooperation in anti-piracy measures, and regional cooperation based on the ReCAAP model is being developed as part of anti-piracy measures off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, including the establishment of Information Sharing Centers (ISCs) in Yemen, Kenya, and Tanzania. Japan supports such regional cooperation through its financial contributions to ReCAAP-ISC, and in January 2014, a conference was held that brought together ReCAAP-ISC with the ISCs in the aforementioned three countries.

Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships Worldwide (Source: International Maritime Bureau (IMB) annual report)

(2) Cyberspace

Threats in cyberspace are growing and infringement upon Japanese government institutions and private sector companies in the use of cyberspace (cyber attacks) is also on the rise. Characterized by a high degree of anonymity, cyber attacks leave few traces and are not subject to geographical or time constraints, and they can easily impact a multitude of people within a short period. Moreover, there are indications of state involvement in some sophisticated cyber attacks that are thought to have been carried out for a particular purpose. Thus, threats in cyberspace are a pressing issue that can easily cross national borders, making them extremely difficult for a single country to address alone; as such, partnership and cooperation of the international community are essential.

Japan is working in partnership with relevant countries, aiming to promote public-private partnerships and international cooperation in tackling cybercrime and cyber attacks, while maintaining the free flow of information in cyberspace. As well as actively participating in the international rule-making premised on the application of existing international law and promoting confidence-building with other countries, Japan is proactively providing support for capacity building in developing countries.

In the area of international rule-making, Japan has played an active role in the fourth round of the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Cybersecurity, which was launched in 2014, and in the London Process, facilitating more in-depth discussions. Moreover, based on the understanding that more countries are desirable to strive in the effort to prevent and address cybercrime, Japan has acceded the Convention on Cybercrime in November 2012, the world’s only multilateral convention on the use of cyberspace, as a first party in the Asia region. With a view to promote dissemination of the Convention and expansion of parties, Japan is actively participating in the discussions of the Cybercrime Convention Committee. In addition, for the efforts focused on the Asia region, the ASEAN–Japan Senior Officials’ Meeting on Transnational Crime took place in June 2014, following the 1st ASEAN–Japan Cybercrime Dialogue in May.

Regarding endeavors to promote confidence-building, Japan launched new dialogues on cyberspace with Israel, France, Estonia, China and the ROK, and the European Union (EU) in 2014, in addition to existing dialogue processes with the US, the UK, and India. In addition, Japan and Russia have already decided to establish dialogue, while the launch of a dialogue with Australia was decided at the Japan–Australia Summit Meeting in April. These venues provide an opportunity for both sides to exchange information about their cyberspace strategies, policies, and initiatives, as well as deepening mutual understanding, enhancing cooperation, and fostering confidence-building.

Regarding the capacity building assistance for developing countries, in order to enhance cybersecurity in those countries, Japan is promoting capacity building assistance mainly for ASEAN countries, through the strengthening of Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs)1 and law enforcement agencies, as well as human resource development.

Thus, through its participation in various international conferences, dialogue with other countries, and support for developing countries, Japan is enhancing regional and international partnership and cooperation. As well as continuing to promote these efforts, Japan will encourage public-private partnerships and redouble its efforts to tackle security issues in cyberspace.

  • 1 A collective term for organizations that respond to computer security incidents. They gather and analyze information about incidents, vulnerabilities, and signs of an imminent attack, as well as formulating solutions and response guidelines, and responding to incidents, in order to minimize the harm resulting from computer security incidents.

(3) Space

In recent years, outer space has become increasingly congested as the number of countries using space has grown, giving rise to the need for measures to mitigate space debris and to avoid collisions between satellites, as well as restrictions on actions such as anti-satellite (ASAT) tests carried out by China. As such, there is a growing necessity for the creation of international rules. Space technology is also a useful means of ensuring the security of Japan. Thus, outer space has become increasingly important in recent years, both in foreign policy and security terms. Against this background, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is undertaking the following initiatives.

A. ‌Creating International Rules on the Use of Outer Space

Japan is actively participating in efforts to formulate international rules in order to foster a safe space environment.

The EU has proposed an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, to reduce the risk of satellite collision and space debris, as well as restricting ASAT tests and activities. Japan has continued to proactively engage in activities aimed at the adoption of this Code of Conduct, participating in the Third Open-ended Consultations (in Luxembourg), which took place in May. In October, Japan, the US, and Indonesia co-hosted the Second ARF Space Security Workshop in Tokyo. By promoting a deeper understanding among government representatives and experts from other countries concerning threats to space and engaging in lively discussions regarding the creation of international rules, Japan strove to increase awareness among countries in the Asia-Pacific region regarding the importance of protecting the space environment and creating rules to govern it.

For two years, until June 2014, Yasushi Horikawa, Technical Counselor of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (and Special Assistant to the Minister for Foreign Affairs) served as Chairman of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS), which is a forum for discussion of matters such as the peaceful use of outer space. Dr. Horikawa is the first Japanese national to have held this post. In addition, Keio University Professor Setsuko Aoki is chairing the Working Group on the Review of International Mechanisms for Cooperation in the Peaceful Exploration and Use of Outer Space under the Legal Subcommittee of UN COPUOS. Japan is also making an active contribution to discussion of the long-term sustainability of outer space activities under the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of UN COPUOS.

B. ‌Promoting International Space Cooperation

Rather than merely supplying satellites, Japan is offering support to various countries through the international deployment of space system packages that also include the requisite technical knowledge and human resource development. In addition, Japan is utilizing ODA focused on space technology to contribute to efforts to tackle global issues, such as climate change, disaster risk reduction, forest conservation, and resources and energy.

Japan is also promoting bilateral and multilateral dialogue, exchanging views with other countries on a range of issues in this field. For example, the Japan–US Comprehensive Dialogue on Space provides an opportunity for comprehensive discussion of matters concerning the civilian use of space and space-related security issues; the second meeting of this dialogue was held in May. In October, the first meeting of the Japan–EU Space Policy Dialogue took place, following the decision reached on its establishment at the 2013 Japan–EU Summit.

C. ‌Promoting Space Policy as Part of Security Policy

The exploration and use of space is also essential from the perspective of security, so Japan is attaching particular importance to the promotion of space cooperation with the US in the realm of security. In March, Japan and the US held a table-top exercise focused on space-based Maritime Domain Awareness. In addition, in May, Japan agreed to provide the US with information for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) concerning the trajectories of objects in space, thereby enabling “two-way” SSA information sharing to take place. Furthermore, the Japan–US–Australia Space Security Dialogue were held in July.


On the Frontlines of ICAO Diplomacy

Do you know the number of people who fly on airplanes each year? In 2014, this figure reached a total of 3.2 billion people, and by 2030, the number is expected to more than double. When the first commercial flight took off in 1914 from St. Petersburg to Tampa in Florida, nobody could imagine that such a large amount of people would use air transportation services in the future. In the context of globalization, civil aviation has supported the growth of various industries such as aviation industry and tourism, as it continues to facilitate the movement of people and goods. Air transportation has also helped create employment and has become a meaningful component in our lives, given that it unites us with the people who are important to us.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was established in 1947 following the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention, on 7 December 1944. Japan became a member of ICAO in 1953, and until today, the total number of Member States has reached 191. Among these, 36 are members of the ICAO Council, which is headed by its President, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu of Nigeria. The preamble of Chicago Convention sets out the principles of safe and orderly development of international civil aviation and the establishment of international air transport services on the basis of equality of opportunity and sound, economical operation. Under the Convention, ICAO has to date established more than 10,000 standards and regulations which are critical to ensuring aviation safety, security, efficiency, and regularity, as well as the protection of the environment.

With Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the Council, on the occasion of the commemorative ceremony for the 70th anniversary of the Chicago Convention With Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the Council, on the occasion of the commemorative ceremony for the 70th anniversary of the Chicago Convention
Delivering an address at the ICAO Council Delivering an address at the ICAO Council

In 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared over the Gulf of Thailand en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. During the same year, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down from the sky above Ukraine, and 298 passengers and crew lost their lives. In December, AirAsia flight 8501 crashed into the Java Sea of Indonesia on its way from Indonesia to Singapore. This was a year which severely tested ICAO. Immediately following the downing of MH17, ICAO together with relevant organizations established the Senior-Level Task Force on Risks to Civil Aviation arising from Conflict Zones (TF RCZ). The Task Force held three meetings from the time of its establishment to December, and is working tirelessly to promote and implement initiatives. The year 2014 also marked the 70th anniversary of the Chicago Convention. In December, commemorative events were held in Montreal and Quebec City, while a special Council session attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, and other distinguished guests was held at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, where the signing of the Convention had taken place. This event served as a renewed reminder of the spirit of the Chicago Convention’s preamble.

My role at ICAO is that of the Permanent Representative of the Government of Japan. Since Japan is a Member State of the Council, my position may also be referred to as the Representative of Japan on the Council of the ICAO. Of the 36 representatives on the Council, seven are women, while among the permanent representatives of non-Council States, four are women. Furthermore, two out of the five directors in the Secretariat are women (such figures are as of the end of December 2014). Although all these women come from vastly different social environments in their respective home countries, they share the characteristics of being bright, energetic, eloquent, and hardworking. In the past, my position as a woman did not intertwine significantly with my professional career. However, through my interaction with ICAO’s inspiring females, many of whom have struggled to open new paths to pursue their goals, I have become more conscious of my role as a woman. I hope to add value to my work by harnessing my feminine qualities and strengths, such as the ability to communicate with sensitivity.

Naoko Ueda,

Representative of Japan on the Council of the ICAO