Diplomatic Bluebook 2016

Chapter 2

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

Section 5 Russia, Central Asia and Caucasia


Given the rapidly changing strategic environment of the Asia-Pacific region, developing relations with Russia as Japan’s appropriate partner in the region contributes to Japan’s national interest and regional peace and prosperity. With such understanding, there were dialogues at various levels in 2015, including two Summit Meetings, and Foreign Minister Kishida’s visit to Russia (for the Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the 11th Meeting of the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues). In the field of security, the discussions were held over regional and international issues. On the economic front, there was progress in cooperation on energy (including energy saving), healthcare, agriculture and urban environment fields. As for the field of culture and human exchange, there was progress in a wide range of areas, including the Japan-Russia Youth Exchange Program and events to introduce Japanese culture.

Regarding the Northern Territories Issue, which is the greatest concern between Japan and Russia, vice-ministerial negotiations for the conclusion of a peace treaty were conducted for the first time in about one year and nine months, where both sides engaged in frank and detailed discussion on a variety of aspects of the issue including historical and legal ones.

Japan and Russia have confirmed to proceed with preparation on president Putin’s visit to Japan at the most appropriate time and continue their summit-level dialogues. While having further political dialogues and promoting overall Japan-Russia cooperation in every related field, Japan will energetically continue negotiations with Russia with a view to concluding a peace treaty, through the resolution of the Northern Territories issue.

Countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus are situated in a strategic geopolitical location that bridges Asia, Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, and have abundant natural resources such as oil, natural gas and minerals. Also, the region remains important in the context of efforts to address key issues the international community faces such as the stability of the whole region, the fight against terrorism, and measures to counter illicit drugs.

In October 2015, Prime Minister Abe visited five countries in Central Asia. The Prime Minister had summit meetings with leaders of the countries, confirming the fundamentally strengthening of bilateral ties, Japan’s proactive involvement in the common issues in the Central Asia region, and cooperation in the global arena.