Diplomatic Bluebook 2016

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


(National Security)

The security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe in recent years. North Korea’s ballistic missile launches and nuclear development, China’s military build-up lacking transparency, and its attempt to change the status quo by force or coercion at sea and in the airspace at areas such as the East and South China Seas based on its own claims which are inconsistent with the existing international order, has been concerns of the international community. Furthermore, risks such as the spread and diversification of international terrorism and cyberattack are becoming more serious.

Facing such a security environment, no nation can any longer maintain its own security alone. In order to ensure the security of Japan and the peace and stability of the region, it is important to advance vibrant diplomacy under the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation. The “Legislation for Peace and Security”, which was approved in September (see Special Feature in Chapter 1), further broadened the scope of Japan’s international contribution. Based on this, Japan will contribute even more proactively to securing peace, stability and prosperity of the international community.

Also, ensuring the forward deployment of U.S. Forces under the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, and thereby enhancing the deterrence are indispensable not only for the peace and security of Japan but also for the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region. In order to further enhance the Japan-U.S. Alliance’s deterrence and response capabilities, the two countries will expand and strengthen cooperation in various fields such as ballistic missile defense, cyberspace, outer space, and maritime security, including efforts made under the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation (the New Guidelines) and the Legislation for Peace and Security. With regard to the realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan, both governments are determined to mitigate the impact on local communities, including Okinawa, while maintaining deterrence, by steadily implementing the existing agreements between the two governments.

In addition to strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance, it is necessary for Japan to build trust and cooperative relations with its partners both inside and outside the Asia–Pacific region, and to create multilayered relationships for security cooperation. Japan also promotes collaboration in the area of security with Korea, Australia, European countries, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), India, and other countries with which it shares strategic interests.

In addition, it is also important to promote the institutionalization of regional cooperation frameworks in the security aspect of the Asia-Pacific region. Japan also advances partnership and cooperation through multilayered regional cooperation frameworks, including the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), and advances partnership and cooperation through trilateral cooperation frameworks such as those involving the Japan-U.S.-ROK, Japan-U.S.-Australia, Japan-U.S.-India and Japan-Australia-India frameworks.

(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 particular, Japan addresses peacebuilding, which is essential in order to prevent the recurrence of conflicts and achieve sustainable peace in post-conflict region, as one of its key diplomatic agendas. Such comprehensive efforts include peacekeeping, emergency humanitarian assistance, promotion of peace processes, maintenance of security, and reconstruction and development. For instance, Japan proactively cooperates with United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations (PKOs) and the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), and is engaged in activities on the ground with Official Development Assistance (ODA), as well as human resource development.

(Threats to Security)

Terrorist attacks by a terrorist group “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)” continued to spread in the year 2015. Influenced by ISIL’s propaganda, increasing number of foreign fighters have travelled to Syria and Iraq, raising concerns about the possible spread of terrorist threats upon their return to home or third countries.

In response to the terrorist incident regarding the murder of Japanese citizens in Syria in the beginning of the year, Japan made comprehensive diplomatic efforts to (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. Japan closely worked with the international community on areas including counter-violent extremism, measures against foreign terrorist fighters, counter-terrorist financing, and compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions. In cooperation with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Japan also has been proceeding with a wide range of international cooperation in such fields as enhancing the capacity of counter-terrorism measures and border management providing legal technical assistance, and strengthening the capacity of organized crime investigations and prosecution in South-East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and the Sub-Saharan Africa, and other regions.

(Disarmament and Non-proliferation)

Japan has been proactively promoting initiatives to achieve “a world free of nuclear weapons.” As the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings, it is a mission for Japan to convey to the world the devastation caused by the use of nuclear weapons. It also contributes to improve the security environment of Japan. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the cornerstone of the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. In April, the Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT, which is held every five years, started discussions. The Review Conference ended without being able to adopt the final document. However, the Non-proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), which is a group established by Japan and Australia to promote realistic and practical proposals, consisted of 12 non-nuclear-weapon States1, contributed to discussion, submitting 19 working papers, such as a draft final document, throughout the NPT review process including the three Preparatory Committees. In August, the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) Group of Eminent Persons were held in Hiroshima. In September, Foreign Minister Kishida co-chaired the 9th Conference on Facilitating the entry into force of the CTBT at the UN General Assembly. The resolution on the elimination of nuclear weapons, which Japan has submitted to the UN General Assembly every year since 1994, was adopted by 166 affirmative votes. With regard to disarmament and non-proliferation education, Japan attaches importance to passing on the correct understanding of the realities of the use of nuclear weapons across borders and generations through “the Youth Communicator for a World without Nuclear Weapons” program, which was launched to support younger generations in conveying the realities of the use of nuclear weapons at international conferences overseas, as well as “the Special Communicator for a World without Nuclear Weapons” program, which aims at supporting atomic bomb survivors’ activities of telling their testimonies.

As for the regional nuclear non-proliferation issues, EU3 (UK, France, and Germany) +3 (U.S., China and Russia) have reached a final agreement over Iran’s nuclear issue. On the other hand, North Korea continues to develop its nuclear and missile programs, posing a significant threat not only to East Asia but also to the international community. In order to deal with these issues, Japan has talked about nuclear and non-proliferation issues, contributing to the strengthening of the systems of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and export control. Furthermore, Japan assists developing countries, particularly in Asia, to enhance their capabilities for non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems and related materials. In particular, 17 countries2, mainly in Asia, participated in the Asian Senior-level talks on Non-Proliferation (ASTOP), exchanging opinions on various issues on non-proliferation, including North Korean nuclear issue. Japan will continue to offer support towards strengthening nuclear non-proliferation.

  • 1 Japan, Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Turkey and Germany
  • 2 Japan, ASEAN countries, China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada
(The Oceans and Seas/ Cyberspace / Outer space)

“Open and Stable Seas,” governed by law and rules and not by force, are essential for peace and prosperity of the international community as a whole. From this perspective, Japan is dedicated to ensuring the freedom and safety of navigation and overflight of the high seas through various efforts and cooperation with other countries, including anti-piracy operations. 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.

Regarding cyber issues, to ensure a free, fair and safe cyberspace, Japan contributes proactively to international discussions on cyber security, including the making of international rules in cyberspace. For this purpose, Japan cooperates with a wide range of stakeholders, such as private companies and experts. Furthermore, Japan promotes cooperation and confidence-building with other countries through dialogues and discussions on cyber issues. Also, Japan is proactively providing support for capacity-building in developing countries.

In order to tackle increasing risks to sustainable and stable use of outer space, Japan has been engaged in the international rule-making and conducting dialogue and consultations with other countries on space while promoting international cooperation in the fields of space science and exploration, and supporting overseas business development of the Japanese space industry.

(United Nations)

The year 2016 marks the 60th anniversary for Japan since it joined the United Nations. On December 18, 1956, the country became the 80th member of the UN. Joining the UN was a symbolic event for Japan marking its return to the international community. This event gave Japan momentum to pursue its post-war principle of international cooperation. Having accomplished postwar reconstruction, Japan has firmly stayed on its path as a peace-loving nation and has contributed to the world as a responsible member of the international community at the UN, a forum of multilateral diplomacy.

There have been drastic changes in the international environment since the establishment of the UN 70 years ago, including the end of the Cold War. The international community currently faces not only war between nations but also a wide range of trans-border issues, including conflicts and terrorism, poverty, environmental problems, and infectious diseases. Working with the UN, Japan will make further efforts in addressing these global issues, and contributing to the peace and prosperity of the world. In particular, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for two years starting from 2016, Japan will engage actively in tackling a wide range of issues on international peace and security. Moreover, Japan will continue to make efforts to promote UN reform, especially that of the UN Security Council, so that the UN can more efficiently address the wide range of issues the international community faces.

(Rule of Law)

It is important to establish the rule of law in the international community in order to promote stable relations between states and facilitate the peaceful settlement of disputes. Japan considers enhancing the rule of law as one of pillars of its foreign policies. Opposed to unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion, Japan strives to maintain its territorial integrity, secure its maritime and economic rights and interests, and protect its citizens. Based on this view, Japan promotes rule-making and its implementation in bilateral and multilateral contexts in various fields, including security, economic and social areas, and criminal justice. Furthermore, in order to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes and maintain the international legal order, 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 in the international community, including Asian countries, by providing legal technical assistance and holding events related to international law.

(Human Rights)

Human rights and fundamental freedoms are universal values. All states have the basic responsibility to protect and promote these values. At the same time, these values are a legitimate concern of the entire international community. It is essential that these values are fully guaranteed in each country in order to ensure peace and prosperity of Japan, and furthermore, to lay the foundations of peace and stability in the international community. Towards this end, Japan is working more actively than ever in the field of human rights. Specifically, Japan makes proactive contributions to improve the human rights situation around the world through dialogue and cooperation, taking into account the cultural and historical backgrounds of each state and region. Japan also continues to be actively engaged in multilateral forums including the UN, and to promote constructive dialogues with human rights mechanisms.


The year 2015 marked the 20th anniversary since the 4th World Conference on Women (WCW) was held (“Beijing+20”), and the 30th anniversary of the conclusion of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Japan has positioned the following three areas as priority fields in order to promote gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment: (1) facilitating women’s participation in society and women’s capacity building; (2) enhancing Japan’s efforts in the area of women’s health and medical 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. The Abe administration leads the international community in its efforts to build “a society where women shine”, with a determination that the 21stcentury has to be a world with no human rights violations against women.