Diplomatic Bluebook 2016
Japan’s Foreign Policy that Takes a Panoramic Perspective of the World Map
A. Brief summary and overview
In Australia, the Coalition (Liberal Party-National Party) won the federal general election held in September 2013, and Mr. Abbott, the leader of the Liberal Party, took office as Prime Minister. However, as a result of the Liberal Party of Australia leadership spill motion in September 2015, triggered by the growing criticism for his management of the government, former Communication Minister Turnbull won the contest and was appointed as the new Prime Minister.
Japan and Australia enjoys a “special relationship” sharing fundamental values and strategic interests, and the relationship between the two countries continues to be enhanced. Prime Minister Abe has built a relation with the new administration by holding a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Turnbull in September, followed by a summit meeting on the occasion of the Group of Twenty (G20) summit held in Turkey in November. In December, Prime Minister Turnbull visited Japan, and at the summit meeting, the two leaders stressed the importance of deepening the special relationship with a vision for shouldering responsibility for the peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the international community, and issued a joint statement: “Next steps of Special Strategic Partnership: Asia, Pacific, and Beyond.” Furthermore, Foreign Minister Kishida and Foreign Minister Bishop conducted an in-depth exchange of views and cooperation between the two countries with respect to a wide range of fields, such as politics, economy, security and cultural and people-to-people exchanges, at varions occasions: of the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) in May, the UN General Assembly in September and Japan-Australia Joint Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations (“2+2”) in November.
B. Cooperation in the security field
The two countries are rapidly developing cooperation from the viewpoint that their close cooperation in the field of security and defense will contribute to the peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. The two countries have so far regularized, the Foreign and Defense Joint Ministerial Consultations (“2+2”) and concluded the Japan-Australia Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement, the Agreement on the Security of Information and the Agreement concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology. The two countries are currently proceeding with negotiations to conclude an agreement to facilitate joint operations and exercises. The possibility of Japan’s cooperation is also being studied in the development and production of Australian future submarine.
At the 6th session of the “2+2” held in November, Australia welcomed the enactment of “Legislation for Peace and Security” in Japan, followed by an exchange of opinions regarding the possibility of cooperation in light of the legislation. Furthermore, the two countries confirmed their priorities on the future defense cooperation, and discussed the maritime security in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, as well as the importance of trilateral cooperation with partners such as the U.S. and India.
At the Japan-Australia summit meeting held in December, Prime Minister Abe reaffirmed the recognition that Japan-Australia cooperation in the field of security and defense is a cornerstone of the Asia-Pacific region, and explained that he intends to accelerate the various cooperation that is currently underway. In response, Prime Minister Turnbull stated that he hopes to strengthen Japan-Australia cooperation based on common values and interests. The two leaders also concurred on the importance of enhancing cooperation in the counter-terrorism and cyber security fields.
C. Economic relations
The mutually complementary economic relationship between the two countries has been developing steadily over the years with Japan mainly exporting industrial products such as automobiles to Australia, while importing resources such as coal and iron ore, and agricultural products such as beef and wine from Australia. In addition to trade, cooperation in the fields of investment and innovation are expected to develop. In January 2015, the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) entered into force, resulting in an increased trade. In February 2016, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement was signed. As a result, further enhancement of economic relations between the two countries and the strengthening of cooperation in a wide range of fields, such as food supply, energy and mineral resources, movement of people, protection of competitive markets and consumers, intellectual property and government procurement are expected. Furthermore, the two countries have been closely cooperating in negotiations on multilateral frameworks such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and on regional economic cooperation including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The leaders of the two countries confirmed in the summit meeting held in December 2015 that the economic ties should be strengthened in the light of the Japan-Australia EPA and the TPP Agreement, and also agreed to deepen cooperation in the field of innovation.
D. Cultural and people-to-people exchanges
There exists a foundation for affinity toward Japan in Australia, as shown by the fact that Australia is ranked 4th in the world in terms of the number of people learning Japanese language (2nd after the ROK if viewed in terms of the percentages compared to total population), and the number of sister city exchanges exceeds 100. People-to-people exchanges are active as reflected by the fact that in 2015, the number of flights between the two countries increased by approximately 30%. During the three years leading to 2016, there will be more than 1,000 Australian university students studying in Japan under the “New Colombo Plan,” through which they will enhance their knowledge about the Asia-Pacific region through studies and internships abroad and strengthen people-to-people exchanges.
E. Cooperation in the international community
The two countries have been strengthening cooperation at various levels to take an active role in stable development of the region. In 2015, a joint statement was issued at the Foreign Ministerial level to promote disarmament and non-proliferation. The two countries also concurred to work together toward the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21). In addition, the leaders of both countries stressed the importance of an early realization of the Security Council reform, and reaffirmed to promote cooperation toward this end.
(2) New Zealand
A. Brief summary and overview
Japan and New Zealand share fundamental values, such as democracy and market economy. The two countries have been maintaining good relations over the years, and are further strengthening the relationship based on the “strategic cooperative partnership.”
B. Bilateral relations
On the occasion of Prime Minister Key’s visit to Japan in March 2015, the two leaders reaffirmed to strengthen the bilateral cooperation in areas including economy, security and defence, and people-to-people exchange, and to cooperate on the regional and global issues, based on the idea of “strategic cooperative partnership” in the Asia Pacific region, which was declared during Prime Minister Abe’s visit to New Zealand in July 2014.
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nakane visited New Zealand in February to attend a memorial ceremony commemorating the 4th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake. From the New Zealand side, Defence Minister and concurrent Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Brownlee visited Japan in March to attend the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (Sendai). In May, Civil Defence Minister Kaye visited Japan to attend the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meetings Summit (PALM7) (in Fukushima), and met with Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakane to exchange views on disaster risk reduction, which was one of the main agendas at the PALM7. In addition, Energy, and Resources and Transport Minister Bridges visited Japan in July, and met with Akihiro Ota, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. He also visited companies related to the introduction of electric cars and building of hydrogen energy society.
C. Economic relations
The two countries enjoys complementary economic relationship, and signing of the TPP Agreement in February 2016 is expected to further deepen this relationship. In July 2015, Hokkaido Government and the Embassy of New Zealand in Japan co-hosted a “Hokkaido food” symposium. An agri-tech seminar also took place at Japan-New Zealand Business Council held in October.
Furthermore, the two countries have been closely cooperating in the negotiations of multilateral frameworks such as WTO, and in regional economic cooperation such as RCEP.
D. People-to-people exchange
In 2015, 30 university students from New Zealand visited Japan as part of a youth exchange project “JENESYS (Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths) 2015.” In total, more than 1,000 high school and university students from New Zealand have visited Japan through youth-related programs since 2007.
Furthermore, networking between sister cities is enhancing, with an aim to promote mutual understanding among the youth. New Zealand government-sponsored “Game on English” has been carried out to support English education for Japanese students through rugby, in which New Zealand won its 2nd consecutive championship in the World Cup. Through this program, 22 Japanese students visited New Zealand in 2015.
E. Cooperation in the international community
The two countries have been playing an active role for the regional stability and develop-ment by further enhancing cooperation within the regional cooperation frameworks, such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and PALM, while also cooperating in the field of economic development of Pacific island countries.
Furthermore, New Zealand has been elected as the UN Security Council non-permanent member for the term from 2015 to 2016, leading to heightened momentum of cooperating at the UN, including in the Security Council reform.
(3) Pacific Island Countries (PICs)
A. Brief summary and overview
PICs, they share the Pacific Ocean and have deep historical ties with Japan, are important partners for Japan in areas such as cooperation in the international community and supply of natural resources. Japan has been further strengthening relations with PICs by hosting the PALM, holding the Japan-Pacific Island Leaders Meeting on the occasion of the UN General Assembly, participating in Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Post Forum Dialogue and through mutual high-level visits.
B. Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM)
Japan has been hosting the PALM every three years since 1997. Japan and PICs have been building close cooperative relationship through candid discussion at summit-level on various common issues that they are facing, such as the challenges posed by their small and dispersed land, remoteness from major international markets, and the vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change. In May 2015, the Seventh Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM7) was held in Iwaki-city, Fukushima. Prime Minister Abe announced in his keynote speech the new vision of Japan’s diplomacy toward the PICs and Japan’s intention to implement assistance of more than 55 billion yen and to reach out to 4,000 people through human resource development and people-to-people exchanges in the next three years. Moreover, Leaders’ Declaration - Fukushima Iwaki Declaration - “Building Prosperous Future Together” was adopted as outcome and it reaffirmed to elevate the partnership between Japan and PICs to a higher level.
C. Mutual VIP visits by
On the occation of the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress visited the Republic of Palau on April 8 and 9 to mourn and pay tribute to those who died in the war and pray for peace (see Special Feature in Chapter 1). Their Majesties, remembering the war dead and praying for peace, laid wreaths to the “Monument of the War Dead in the Western Pacific” erected by the Government of Japan and to the “U.S. Army 81st infantry Division Memorial” in Paleliu Island. Prior to this, Their Majesties had an audience with the President of the Republic of Palau, the President of the Federated States of Micronesia and the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and their spouses.
In July, Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess visited the Kingdom of Tonga to attend the coronation ceremony of His Majesty King Tupou VI. Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess attended the coronation ceremony and luncheon, and met with Japanese residents and representatives of Japanese descendants.
In October, Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister O’Neill visited Japan to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, and met with Prime Minister Abe. The two leaders announced a joint message “40 Years of Friendship, Trust, Mutual Efforts and Toward the Future,” confirming the progress that the two countries have made over the 40 years, and shared the view to promote interactive partnership for the future.
D. Relationship with Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
In September, a PIF Post Forum Dialogue was held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and was attended by PIF members that consist of Pacific island countries (14 countries), Australia and New Zealand, as well as major donor countries such as Japan, the U.S., China and France. Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakane attended as a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister, and expressed the intention of Japan to continue to closely cooperate with the PIF to maximize the synergy between the PIF and PALM process, while valuing the Framework for Pacific Regionalism by PIF as complementing national efforts and contributing to sustainable and comprehensive development. Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakane took the opportunity to meet with the Prime Ministers of Tonga, Samoa and Cook Islands, respectively, as well as the Foreign Minister of Fiji.
E. Situation in Fiji
In Fiji, Prime Minister Bainimarama who had seized political power after the military coup in 2006, won public confidence through the general election held in September 2014. Japan has been making efforts to strengthen ties with Fiji. The Prime Minister of Fiji attended the PALM7 in 2015 (he had not attended either PALM 5 or 6.), and the Japan-Fiji summit meeting was realized for the first time in ten years. Furthermore, mutual visits of high-ranking officials and Diet members were active, and concrete cooperation between the two countries progressed, such as dispatching a joint public and private economic mission headed by Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Masakazu Hamachi to Fiji to hold a “Japan-Fiji Trade and Investment Seminar” in December.
F. Establishment of Embassy of Japan in the Republic of Marshall Islands
Marshall is a supply center of fishery resources, and is located on an important sea lane for Japan. Furthermore, as the cooperative relations with Marshall becomes increasingly important such as in collecting the remains of the war dead, Japan upgraded the representative office in Marshall to the Embassy of Japan in January 2015, followed by a dispatch of the first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan in August.
G. Recognition of Niue as a state and establishment of the diplomatic relation
Since the transition to free association with NZ in 1974, Niue has expanded its diplomatic authorities and capacity to the equivalent level of an independent state, establishing diplomatic relations with many countries and becoming a member to many international organizations. Japan decided to recognize Niue as a state on May 15, 2015, and established a diplomatic relation in August of the same year, in view of the above and the growing importance of cooperation with Niue at the international arena.
PALM7 was held from May 22 to 23, 2015 in Iwaki City, Fukushima, Japan.
PALM has been held every three years since 1997 in order that leaders of Japan and Pacific island countries (PICs) gather to have candid discussion on common challenges they face. The leaders and representatives of Japan, fourteen PICs, Australia and New Zealand attended PALM7 on the theme of “We are Islanders ～Commitment to the Pacific from Iwaki, Fukushima: Building Prosperous Future Together～”
The holding of the Summit in Iwaki City had significant meaning of expressing appreciation for the support received from all over the world, including PICs, after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and introducing the robust reconstruction in the affected areas. The leaders visited the affected areas along with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mrs Abe, and witnessed the resilience of the region and the various efforts for reconstruction.
At the Summit, Prime Minister Abe gave a keynote speech, wherein he announced a beacon for diplomacy towards PICs and expressed that Japan will implement assistance of more than 55 billion yen and provide assistance to human resource development and people-to-people exchanges for 4,000 people over the next three years. Prime Minister Abe also announced that Japan will further enhance capacity development of PICs to address climate change and promote business exchanges between Japan and PICs. The participating leaders from PICs expressed their gratitude for Japan’s support as well as high expectations for continued support. They also stated that they support Japan’s position and efforts in the international community, including the United Nations.
Moreover, the leaders decided to promote cooperation in the coming three years with a focus on the following seven areas: (i) Disaster Risk Reduction, (ii) Climate Change, (iii) Environment, (iv) People-to-People Exchanges, (v) Sustainable Development, (vi) Oceans, Maritime Issues and Fisheries, and (vii) Trade, Investment and Tourism. Leaders Declaration - Fukushima Iwaki Declaration - Building Prosperous Future Together” was adopted as the outcome of the discussion.
In addition, a variety of exchange programs with the local community took place. Hula Girls from the Spa Resort Hawaiians performed their dancing for the leaders as PR Goodwill Ambassadors. Also, the ties and friendship between Japan and PICs have deepened through exchange with “Iwaki High School Students Support Group for PALM7” formed by local high school students and elementary and junior high school students, leading to increased momentum for further enhancement of relations.
Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess visited the Kingdom of Tonga from July 2 to 6, 2015, to attend the coronation of His Majesty the Kingdom of Tonga. Tonga is an island country in the South Pacific approximately 8,000 kilometers away from Japan with a population of about 100,000. In fact, Tonga is friendly toward Japan with deep ties with it. Japanese is a regular optional subject in the secondary education curriculum, and the Soroban (Japanese abacus) is a compulsory subject in elementary school. In addition, I think it is still fresh in memory that Tonga-born players contributed in the strong performances of the Japanese team in Rugby World Cup 2015.
Tonga is the only kingdom in the South Pacific, and the royal family of Tonga and the Japanese Imperial Family have been building close ties. This time was the third visit to Tonga for His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince, and the first visit for Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess.
On July 4, Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess attended the coronation of His Majesty King Tupou VI of the Kingdom of Tonga, which was held at Free Wesleyan Centenary Church in the central area of the city. Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess were seated in the front row, solemnly observed the ceremony, and celebrated the accession to the throne. At the coronation luncheon held at the Royal Palace following the coronation ceremony, Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess were seated close to Their Majesties the King and Queen and talked with H.R.H Princess Salote Pilolevu Tuita and H.R.H Tupouto’a Ulukalala and H.R.H Crown Princess Sinaitakara from beginning to end.
His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince also participated in a series of related events, including an official dinner hosted by the Government of Tonga, and met with Japanese nationals, such as Youth and Senior Overseas Cooperation Volunteers who are actively working in Tonga, representatives of Japanese descendants, and rugby-related people representing the Tonga community in Japan as well.
The visit of Their Imperial Highnesses received a warm solicitude welcome not only from the royal family of Tonga and government officials but also from the general public. During the visit, warm care was shown by the Royal Family of Tonga everywhere, including H.R.H Tupouto’a Ulukalala and H.R.H Crown Princess Sinaitakala, who treated them cordially throughout the visit. The local media also reported on the visit very favorably.
Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess have mentioned, in their review of the end of the visit to Tonga, that there were accumulation of not only governmental cooperation including ODA between two countries but also warm exchanges between peoples of both countries. Keeping the comments expressed by Their Imperial Highnesses in mind, I will do my best to deepen the friendly relations between Japan and Tonga as Japanese Ambassador.