Diplomatic Bluebook 2019

Chapter 1

International Situation and Japan's Diplomacy in 2018

2 Japan's Diplomacy

Amid the various challenges facing the international order based on fundamental values that have underpinned global stability and prosperity, Japan must take on a greater responsibility and role than before, while collaborating with other countries. Based on this recognition, Japan, while continuing to make the utmost efforts to promote its national interests, will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the international community and will further consolidate Japan's position as a peace-loving nation.

(1) Diplomacy Taking a Panoramic Perspective of the World Map and “Proactive Contribution to Peace”

In order to create a stable and predictable international environment, which is desirable for Japan, it is important to build trust and cooperative relationships with countries worldwide and the international community through diplomatic efforts, to strengthen the basis for stability and prosperity of the international community and to prevent the emergence of threats in advance. From such a perspective, since the inauguration of the Abe administration, the Government of Japan has advanced diplomacy, from a panoramic perspective of the world map, under the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has thus far visited 78 countries and regions (160 countries and regions in total), and since his appointment in August 2017, Foreign Minister Taro Kono visited 63 countries and regions (96 countries and regions in total) (as of February 18, 2019). As a result, Japan's presence in the international community has steadily risen, and the relationship of trust between Prime Minister Abe and foreign leaders as well as between Foreign Minister Kono and other foreign ministers and the heads of international organizations have also been greatly deepened. In addition, parliamentary exchanges are playing a major role in diplomacy.

Prime Minister Abe's official visits abroad
Foreign Minister Kono's official visits abroad

As a stable force in the international community, Japan will continue to build relationships of trust with countries' leaders, and while promoting its national interests, lead the international community for peace and prosperity of the world.

(2) The Six Priority Areas of Japan's Foreign Policy

In order to protect and promote Japan's national interests, Japan intends to continuously strengthen the following six priority areas of its foreign policy: (1) strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance and promote the networking of allies and friendly nations; (2) enhance relations with neighboring countries; (3) promote economic diplomacy; (4) contribute to address global issues; (5) contribute to the peace and stability of the Middle East; and (6) promote a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

【1 Strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance and Promoting the Networking of Allies and Friendly Nations】

The Japan-U.S. Alliance is the cornerstone of Japan's diplomacy and security, and plays a significant role in regional and international peace and prosperity. As the security environment surrounding Japan continues to be very severe, the Japan-U.S. Alliance is more important than ever.

Against this backdrop, the Japan-U.S. Alliance has become more solid than ever under the personal relationship of trust between the leaders and Foreign Ministers, as well as through continuous efforts of both countries to enhance the Alliance in a variety of areas such as politics, economy, and security. The two countries are working closely to address regional and international issues including the issue regarding North Korea, and to maintain and promote a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

In addition, Japan, under the Legislation for Peace and Security and the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation (the Guidelines), is implementing a “seamless” response covering from peacetime to contingencies through various consultations and mechanisms with the U.S. In 2018, interpersonal exchanges between high-level officials were conducted actively. In March and October, the Japan-U.S. Extended Deterrence Dialogue was held, in which Japan and the U.S. had candid discussions about ways to secure the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. Alliance. Through these multilayered efforts, Japan will continue to promote security and defense cooperation, further enhancing the deterrence and response capabilities of the Alliance.

Mitigating the impact on local communities including Okinawa is one of the most important issues for the Government. In March, approximately three hectares of lands along Route 58 of Makiminato Service Area were returned. Additionally, the relocation of all carrier air wing squadrons from Naval Air Facility Atsugi to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni was completed in the same month. Japan will continue to make every effort to mitigate the impact on local communities including Okinawa, while working on the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma to Henoko as soon as possible, in order to ensure the stable stationing of the U.S. forces in Japan.

Alongside security and interpersonal exchange, Japan-U.S. cooperation in the economic field is one of three pillars underpinning the Japan-U.S. Alliance. At the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting in April, the two leaders decided to launch talks for free, fair and reciprocal trade deals (FFR) chaired by Mr. Motegi, Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy and Ambassador Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative. The first and second rounds of the FFR talks were held in August and September. Moreover, at the Summit Meeting in September, the leaders concurred on entering into negotiations for a Japan-U.S. Trade Agreement on goods (TAG). At the Summit Meeting in November, the leaders reaffirmed that they will further expand trade and investment between Japan and the U.S. in a mutually beneficial manner, and realize economic development in a free and open Indo-Pacific region based on fair rules.

Furthermore, with the Japan-U.S. Alliance as the cornerstone, Japan will continue to play a leading role in regional peace and prosperity by promoting the networking of allies and friendly nations, including frameworks with countries sharing common strategic interests, such as India, Australia, and the EU and major European countries, such as the UK, France, and Germany, as well as regional cooperation in the Indo-Pacific that includes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

【2 Enhancing Relations with Neighboring Countries】

Enhancing our relations with neighboring countries constitutes an important basis for making the environment surrounding Japan stable.

It is extremely important for Japan to build a stable relationship with China from a broad perspective. The relationship with China, a neighboring country across the East China Sea, is one of the most important bilateral relationships for Japan. The two countries have close economic relations as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges. In 2018, seizing the opportunity of the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China, high-level dialogues were actively held, including by the two countries' leaders and foreign ministers. It was a year in which the Japan-China relationship got back onto a normal track and entered a stage for aiming to achieve new development. In May, Premier Li Keqiang paid an official visit to Japan, the first visit by the Premier of the State Council in eight years since 2010. In October, Prime Minister Abe visited China. It was the first time in around seven years for a Japanese Prime Minister to visit China. Reciprocal visits by the Japanese and Chinese foreign ministers also took place for the first time in nine years. In addition, exchanges between members of parliaments and political parties were actively conducted. As a result, practical dialogues and trust-building were steadily advanced between Japan and China in a variety of fields (See Special Feature “Reflection on 40 Years of ODA to China”).

At the same time, attempts by China to unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea by force or coercion are absolutely unacceptable, and Japan will continue to respond calmly and resolutely while strengthening coordination with the relevant countries, along with strengthening communication in order to make the East China Sea a “Sea of Peace, Cooperation and Friendship.”

Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) face an extremely severe situation amid a series of negative moves by the ROK, including the decisions by the ROK Supreme Court regarding the issue of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula, the announcement by the Government of the ROK on its intention to dissolve the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation, the incident in which Japanese vessels had to withdraw from an international fleet review hosted by the ROK over the hoisting of the flag of Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) vessels, and the incident of an ROK naval vessel directing its fire-control radar at an SDF aircraft. Additionally, with regard to Takeshima, which is an inherent part of the territory of Japan, ROK National Assembly members landed on the island, and a series of military exercises and marine searches were conducted on and near Takeshima. Japan lodged a strong protest at each instance. Concerning such difficult issues, the Government of Japan will continue to strongly urge the ROK to take appropriate measures, based on Japan's consistent position.

Meanwhile, people to people exchanges are taking place steadily between the two countries, with the number of people making visits between the two countries exceeding 10 million for the first time in 2018.

Japan held political dialogues actively with Russia, including four Summit Meetings and four Foreign Ministers' Meetings. At the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting in November, Prime Minister Abe reached an agreement with President Putin to “accelerate negotiations on a peace treaty on the basis of the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration of 1956.” Furthermore, at the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting held on the margins of the G20 Buenos Aires Summit in Argentina in December, the two leaders agreed that “Mr. Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs, will be responsible for the negotiations and that the negotiations will be handled by Mr. Mori, Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Morgulov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, under the Foreign Ministers' leadership.” Under the strong leadership of the Japanese and Russian leaders, Japan will continue to persistently negotiate with Russia to conclude a peace treaty through the resolution of the territorial issue.

Regarding the issues of North Korea, a historic U.S.-North Korea Summit was convened in Singapore in June 2018, where U.S. President Trump and Chairman of State Affairs Commission Kim Jong-un agreed on the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The second U.S.-North Korea Summit was held in Hanoi, Viet Nam in February 2019. It is important that the international community remains united to support the process between the U.S. and North Korea toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, taking into account the results of the summits. Japan will continue to cooperate with the U.S. and the ROK and coordinate closely with the international community including China and Russia, toward the comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern such as the abductions, nuclear and missile issues. The abductions issue by North Korea is a critical issue concerning the sovereignty of Japan and the lives and safety of Japanese citizens, while at the same time it is a universal issue for the international community as a whole that constitutes violation of basic human rights. Japan has positioned its resolution as the most important issue and is making utmost efforts toward its resolution while working closely with relevant countries including the U.S.

In October 2018, Prime Minister Abe held the 12th Summit Meeting with Prime Minister Modi of India, when the latter paid his third visit to Japan since his appointment as Prime Minister. The two leaders expressed their willingness to cooperate in a wide range of areas for achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific including the institution of a Foreign and Defense Ministerial Dialogue (“2+2”), identification of concrete cooperation projects related to enhancing connectivity, commencement of negotiations on the Japan-India Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), and progress on the High-Speed Rail project.

As demonstrated by the Eighth Japan-Australia “2+2” in October 2018 and the visit to Darwin, Australia by Prime Minister Abe in November, Japan and Australia, as special strategic partners sharing fundamental values and strategic interests, are steadily strengthening cooperation in a wide range of areas, including security, economic issues, and regional affairs.

The stability and prosperity of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are vital for the stability and prosperity of the entire region. As Japan supports the centrality and unity of ASEAN and encourages ASEAN's further integration efforts, Japan has been strengthening its relationship with ASEAN and each of the ASEAN countries.

While utilizing organizations such as the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Japan continues to strengthen its relationship with Europe in a multilayered approach. Japan also promotes security and defense cooperation with the UK and France. In addition, Japan is further strengthening its relations with the Pacific island countries through the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) process. Japan is strengthening its relationships with countries of the Central Asia and the Caucasus, and of Latin America and the Caribbean as well.

【3 Promoting Economic Diplomacy】

In 2018, the Government of Japan continued to advance economic diplomacy from the three aspects of: (1) rule-making to bolster free and open global economic systems; (2) supporting the overseas business expansion of Japanese companies through promotion of public-private partnerships; and (3) promoting resources diplomacy along with inward investment toward Japan.

For Japan, which has promoted economic growth on the basis of free trade, it is critically important to maintain and develop the open, stable and rules-based international economic order. At the G7 Charlevoix Summit in Canada and the G20 Buenos Aires Summit in Argentina, Japan led the discussions on topics such as the global economy and trade. At the closing session of the G20 Buenos Aires Summit, Prime Minister Abe assumed the G20 presidency from President Macri of Argentina, and expressed his determination for the G20 Osaka Summit to be held from June 28 to 29, 2019 (See Special Feature “G20 Osaka Summit”). Furthermore, as the pressure of protectionism continues to increase, Japan led the discussions on free trade and inclusive growth through frameworks such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

As an initiative to promote free trade, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP12) was signed in February 2016, but in January 2017, the Trump Administration in the U.S. announced its withdrawal from the Agreement. Nevertheless, an agreement at the ministerial level on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP11) negotiations was reached by 11 countries, not including the U.S., in Da Nang, Viet Nam in November 2017 as a result of Japan's leadership. The agreement was signed in Santiago, Chile in March 2018 and entered into force on December 30, 2018. Furthermore, the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was signed by Prime Minister Abe, President Tusk of the European Council, and President Juncker of the European Commission on the occasion of the Japan-EU Summit in July 2018 and entered into force on February 1, 2019. Japan will continue to vigorously pursue negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Japan-China-ROK Free Trade Agreement in parallel, and will spread 21st century-rules for free and fair trade and investment throughout the world.

In order to support the steady growth of the Japanese economy by capturing the momentum of economic growth overseas including emerging countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has proactively carried out activities such as offering counseling to Japanese companies, working to sell Japanese infrastructure and technologies overseas through public-private collaborations, and holding events to promote Japanese products, at diplomatic missions overseas, thus providing support for Japanese companies' cultivation of foreign markets. Regarding the import restrictions in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, Japan is issuing accurate information to the governments and general public of relevant countries and regions in a prompt manner, and making efforts for the lifting of the restrictions based on scientific evidence. In addition, from the perspective of connecting Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Japanese economic growth, the Government of Japan is achieving win-win cooperation that contributes both to the development of Japanese companies' business overseas and to the socioeconomic development of recipient countries, through proactively promoting the orders for ODA projects with Japanese companies, and using ODA for the development of overseas business by Japanese small and medium-sized enterprises.

In the area of resources, Japan engaged in strengthening Japan's and the world's energy, resources, and food security. In February 2018, MOFA compiled the “Report of the FY2017 Strategy Meeting on Natural Resources” regarding Japan's concrete initiatives for ensuring its resource security and advancing energy and resource diplomacy. In July, MOFA announced that it would further pursue energy diplomacy corresponding to the changing global energy landscape and energy transitions. Furthermore, as one of the world-leading responsible fishery nations and consumers of fishery product, Japan has played an active role for the appropriate conservation and management as well as sustainable use of marine living resources, including whale. With regard to Japan's whaling policy, in December 2018, Japan notified its withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), taking into account that at the 67th meeting of the IWC in September 2018, it was reaffirmed that it is extremely difficult for States with different views to coexist and that anti-whaling countries have no intention of allowing commercial whaling of any form. Even after its withdrawal, Japan will continue to contribute to science-based sustainable management of whale resources in accordance with international law.

Regarding foreign tourists, Japan is working to promote visits to Japan through the strategic relaxation of visa requirements and by promoting the attractions of Japan. The number of overseas visitors to Japan reached 31.19 million in 2018.

【4 Addressing Global Issues】

The issues of disarmament and non-proliferation, peacebuilding, sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, environment and climate change, human rights, women's empowerment, and the consolidation of the rule of law are related to the peace, stability, and prosperity of the international community, including Japan. These issues cannot be solved by one country alone, and require a united response by the international community, and the initiatives for these issues are one critical part of Japan's “Proactive Contribution to Peace” initiative.

In order to take care of socially vulnerable people, and to realize a society where individuals can make the most use of their potential in the international community with respect for human rights, freedom, and democracy as the fundamental values, Japan is advancing international contributions under the notion of “human security.”

(Promotion of International Peace Cooperation)

Japan has placed importance on cooperating in the field of peacekeeping and peacebuilding, including United Nations (UN) Peace Keeping Operations (PKOs) from the standpoint of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation. Since 1992 Japan has dispatched more than 12,500 personnel to 27 UN missions including UN PKO. Most recently, Japanese staff officers have been dispatched to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) since 2011 while the engineering units had been dispatched since 2012. The engineering units concluded their activities in May 2017, but four staff officers (Japan Ground Self-Defense Force officials) are still on active duty at the UNMISS headquarters.

(Measures to Counter-Terrorism and Violent Extremism)

Japan is taking comprehensive counter-terrorism measures, based on the “G7 Action Plan on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism” that Japan compiled at the G7 Ise-Shima Summit in 2016 and other documents in response to the growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism. Those efforts consist of initiatives for (1) improvement of counter-terrorism capacity; (2) measures to counter violent extremism, the root cause of terrorism; and (3) social and economic development assistance for creating a foundation for moderate society. In addition, at the G7 Charlevoix Summit in Canada in 2018, the G7 confirmed that members would continue to collaborate to combat terrorism. Furthermore, Japan is striving to further strengthen information gathering through the Counter Terrorism Unit - Japan (CTU-J), and is strengthening cooperation on counter-terrorism with the relevant countries.

In parallel to these initiatives, Japan is also engaged in strengthening measures for the safety of Japanese nationals overseas, including personnel at Japanese companies, tourists, students studying abroad and those working on international cooperation projects.

(Proactive Initiatives for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation)

As the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings in war, Japan has a mission to lead the international community's efforts concerning nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, with the aim of realizing a world free of nuclear weapons. Japan attaches importance to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which is the cornerstone of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime wherein both nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States participate. Japan is engaging in realistic and practical nuclear disarmament measures, while appropriately addressing real security threats.

Foreign Minister Kono attended the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference held in Geneva from April to May. Foreign Minister Kono introduced the recommendations of the Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament, including transparency, verification and interactive discussions. He stated that building up concrete and practical measures with the cooperation of both nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States is the way to realize the elimination of nuclear weapons that Japan upholds. In November, the third meeting of the Group of Eminent Persons was held in Nagasaki. Based on its recommendations, discussions were held from a mid to long-term perspective on hard questions regarding the relationship between disarmament and security, which should be resolved on the way to the elimination of nuclear weapons. During the UN General Assembly High-Level Week, the ninth Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was held (biennial meetings held in the years between the Article XIV conferences). Foreign Minister Kono co-chaired the meeting with Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Payne. A foreign ministers' statement was issued which urged North Korea to sign and ratify the CTBT, and also advocated the facilitation of the CTBT's entry into force and strengthening of universalization and verification mechanisms. Furthermore, Japan submitted a draft resolution regarding the elimination of nuclear weapons to the UN General Assembly, aiming to create a common ground where the international community can take united actions toward a world free of nuclear weapons, even under the current severe international security environment. The draft resolution was adopted with the support of 162 countries.

(Strengthening Cooperation with the UN and Other Organizations and UN Security Council Reform)

From January 2016 to the end of December 2017, Japan served as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the 11th time, which is more frequent than any other UN Member State.

Japan is also putting efforts into the UNSC reform, including its entry as a permanent member of the Council, with the pressing need to reform the Council in a way that reflects the realities of the international community in the 21st century, so that the Council can address contemporary challenges more effectively. Furthermore, in order to continue contributing to the maintenance of peace and security in the international community as a member of the Council prior to its admission as a permanent member, Japan is running for the UNSC non-permanent membership election in 2022.

In addition, in response to the variety of issues addressed by the UN and other international organizations, Japan has been providing financial and policy contributions as well as making personnel contributions through the activities of Japanese personnel, and is also making efforts to encourage the employment and promotion of more Japanese staff at international organizations.

(Proactive Efforts to Strengthen the Rule of Law)

Japan is working to maintain and promote “Free, Open and Stable Seas” based on the “Three Principles of the Rule of Law at Sea.” Furthermore, Japan is strengthening its cooperation with various countries by actively participating in the efforts of the international community in areas that include initiatives for promoting and entrenching freedom of navigation and overflight, initiatives to ensure the security of sea lanes through anti-piracy measures off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden as well as support for the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Center, international rule-making to strengthen the rule of law in cyberspace and outer space and strengthening the rule of law in the Arctic.

(Human Rights)

Human rights, freedom and democracy are fundamental values, and their protection and promotion serve as the cornerstone of peace and stability in the international community. In this field, Japan proactively participates in bilateral dialogues and a number of multinational fora, such as the UN, and makes contributions, including constructive dialogue with the UN human rights mechanisms, in order to improve the human rights situation globally.

(Toward a Society in Which All Women Shine)

The gender issue was addressed as a crosscutting theme at the G7 Charlevoix Summit in Canada. In their leaders' declaration and other documents, the leaders confirmed continuous efforts toward achieving gender equality. On this occasion, Japan announced it would extend 200 million US dollars to support quality education for girls, adolescent girls and women in developing countries and human resources development. In addition, at the G20 Buenos Aires Summit in Argentina, the leaders' declaration was adopted welcoming the continued implementation of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), whose launch was announced at the G20 Hamburg Summit in Germany in July 2017 and to which Japan contributed 50 million US dollars. In March 2019, the fifth World Assembly for Women (WAW!) was held jointly with Women 20 (W20), one of the G20 Engagement Groups (a group independent from governments and comprised of various stakeholders of the international community).

(Development Cooperation Charter and ODA Utilization)

Under the Development Cooperation Charter decided by the Cabinet in February 2015, Japan has continued to proactively and strategically utilize ODA in ways that contribute both to the development of Japanese companies' businesses overseas and to the recipient countries' economic and social development, in order to contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of the international community and to secure Japan's national interests.


Since 1993, Japan has taken the initiative to support the development of Africa through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). In October 2018 Japan hosted the TICAD Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo, with Foreign Minister Kono (co-chair) attending, and confirmed the progress of the initiatives announced at TICAD V and VI.

(Quality Infrastructure)

Based on the belief that infrastructure development should contribute to “quality growth” in developing countries, and on the basis of the “G7 Ise-Shima Principles for Promoting Quality Infrastructure Investment” adopted at the G7 Ise-Shima Summit in 2016, Japan is promoting the development of “quality infrastructure” in which open access and transparency, as well as economic efficiency and safety in view of life-cycle cost, local employment and technology transfer, social and environmental considerations, alignment with economic and development strategies including the fiscal soundness of the beneficiary countries, and the effective mobilization of capital are ensured. In order to make this “quality infrastructure” concept widely known in the international community, MOFA has striven to promote “quality infrastructure” by co-organizing the “Seminar on Promoting Quality Infrastructure” with the OECD Development Centre in April 2018 and by co-hosting a UN General Assembly High-Level Side Event on “Promoting Quality Infrastructure” with the European Commission and the UN in September 2018.

(Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs])

The SDGs are 17 global goals unanimously adopted at the UN Summit in 2015. Japan has been implementing concrete initiatives domestically and internationally at an accelerated pace in order to lead the global effort for achieving the SDGs. At the sixth meeting of the SDGs Promotion Headquarters held at the Prime Minister's Office in December 2018, the Headquarters decided the “SDGs Action Plan 2019” that lays out the main initiatives of the Government based on three pillars: (1) promotion of Society 5.0 that corresponds to the SDGs through private-public efforts; (2) regional vitalization driven by the SDGs; and (3) empowerment of the next generation and women. In order to realize a prosperous and vibrant society in line with the Action Plan, Japan will contribute to nation-building globally and to human resources development in the international community, based on the notion of human security.

(Global Health)

Health holds an important role in realizing the concept of “human security.” Based on the “Basic Design for Peace and Health” formulated in September 2015, Japan has been working to promote Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which contributes to improving preparedness and response to public health crises (UHC: To ensure affordable access to basic health services for all whenever they need them throughout their lives). Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Kato attended the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on the fight against tuberculosis held in September 2018. Minister Kato presented that Japan has long implemented international technical cooperation to tackle tuberculosis and provided financial support to international organizations, and expressed Japan's intention to continue to make contributions in this area.

(Climate Change)

The Paris Agreement is a fair and effective framework that provides for the submission of greenhouse gas emission reduction targets determined nationally by both the developed and developing countries, and for the implementation of measures toward the achievement of these targets. Following the Agreement's adoption, negotiations on the implementation guidelines to fully operationalize the Agreement commenced. In December 2018, the implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement were adopted at the COP24 in Katowice, Poland, based on discussions regarding items such as mitigation, adaptation, transparency frameworks, market mechanisms, and finance. Japan actively participated in the negotiations on each item and contributed to establishing common rules for all countries in line with the spirit of the Paris Agreement.

(Utilizing Science and Technology for Diplomacy)

Science and technology constitute the foundational elements of peace and prosperity, and MOFA is advancing initiatives that utilize the power of science and technology in diplomacy in both bilateral relationships and multinational frameworks. Prof. Teruo Kishi, Science and Technology Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, gathers domestic expertise through the Advisory Board for the Promotion of Science and Technology Diplomacy, for which the Advisor serves as chair, while advising the Minister for Foreign Affairs and relevant departments as well as promoting public relations and networking overseas. At the third UN Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum held in June 2018, the Advisor took the podium as a panelist and made recommendations regarding the STI Roadmap. The Advisor also spoke on Japan's initiatives, which are based on the 2017 “Recommendation for the Future” for implementing the SDGs, and proposed that each country prepares an STI roadmap.

【5 Contributing to the Peace and Stability of the Middle East】

The Middle East and North Africa is situated in a geopolitically important location and is also an important supplier of energy resources such as crude oil and natural gas to the world. On the other hand, the region faces a number of destabilizing issues such as ISIL and other violent extremist groups and the refugee issue. Achieving the peace and stability in this region is of great importance to the world as a whole, including Japan, and the international community is working to resolve these issues.

Japan coordinates with the global community to undertake humanitarian assistance and support stabilization, and to implement development cooperation from a mid to long-term perspective. Alongside that Japan is also encouraging countries to play a constructive role in realizing stability in the Middle East (See Special Feature “Japan's Assistance for Palestine [JAIP, CEAPAD]”). In April 2018, the “Senior Officials Meeting on Supporting Job Creation and Vocational Training to Facilitate Weapons Reduction for Iraqi Society” was held as an initiative to support stabilization in post-ISIL Iraq. In October, at the Manama Dialogue attended by Foreign Minister Kono for the second consecutive year, the Foreign Minister emphasized that Japan will draw on its experience to support the reforms underway in the Middle East countries through human resources development and other efforts.

【6 Promoting a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”】

A free and open maritime order based on the rule of law is a cornerstone of the stability and prosperity of the international community. In particular, the Indo-Pacific region, which stretches from the Asia-Pacific through the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and Africa, is the core of the world's vitality and supports more than half the world's population. Maintaining and strengthening the Indo-Pacific region's free and open maritime order as “international public goods” will bring stability and prosperity to all the countries in this region without discrimination.

In order to promote this vision in practice, Japan is advancing (1) the promotion and establishment of fundamental principles such as the rule of law, freedom of navigation and free trade, (2) the pursuit of economic prosperity through enhancing connectivity, including through Quality Infrastructure development in accordance with international standards, and (3) initiatives for ensuring peace and stability that include assistance for capacity building on maritime law enforcement, anti-piracy measures, disaster risk reduction and non-proliferation. Japan will advance concrete initiatives while working closely with partner countries, including the U.S., Australia, India, New Zealand, ASEAN countries, Pacific island countries, and major European countries (See Special Feature “To achieve a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific'”).

(3) Strengthening Strategic Communications and the Foreign Policy Implementation Structure

【Strategic Communications】

Public understanding and support of Japan's policy and initiatives both domestically and abroad are indispensable for the implementation of Japan's foreign policy. Presenting Japan's various attractiveness, such as culture and food, serves to increase understanding of Japan in the international community, and is also important in the economic aspect such as tourism and exports. Particularly in regard to sharing the attractiveness of Japan's regions, MOFA has been working to promote such attractiveness from “Local to Global,” and attract tourists and inward investment from “Global to Local.”

In 2018 as well, MOFA provided information both in and outside Japan by using various tools including MOFA websites and social media. In commemoration of the 160th anniversary of the establishment of the Japan-France diplomatic relations, “Japonismes 2018: les âmes en resonance,” a large-scale event in France showcasing Japanese culture, such as performing arts, food, and attractiveness of the regions of Japan, was held. Furthermore, “Japan House” promotes Japan's attractiveness through an All-Japan initiative. Following the opening of Japan House São Paulo in April 2017 and the partial opening of Japan House Los Angeles in December 2017, all three facilities opened in 2018 with Japan House London opening in June and Japan House Los Angeles grand opening in August.

【Strengthening the Foreign Policy Implementation Structure】

As we face diplomatic issues that are becoming more complex and diverse, MOFA must enhance its foreign policy implementation structure in order to build a stronger foundation for policy execution. While continuing its streamlining efforts, MOFA will further expand its foreign policy implementation structure through strategically reinforcing its overseas missions and personnel (See Column “Improving efficiency and work style reform at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”).

To achieve a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”

More than two years have passed since Prime Minister Abe advocated the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” at the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) held in August 2016. The importance of achieving a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region, stretching from the Asia-Pacific through the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and Africa, has been widely shared across the international community. With the further emergence of various threats, including the severe security environment of the Indo-Pacific region, piracy, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, natural disasters, and illegal fishing, there is a growing need for the countries of the region to cooperate toward a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Japan is promoting the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” in order to develop the Indo-Pacific region as “international public goods” that bring stability and prosperity for any country. This vision involves maintaining and strengthening a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law across the region through the elimination of those various threats, as well as through enhancing connectivity within the region by developing quality infrastructure in accordance with international standards.

More specifically, Japan is advancing efforts based on the following three pillars.

Three pillars of Japan's efforts toward a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”

(1) The promotion and solidifying of the rule of law, freedom of navigation, free trade, etc.

(2) The pursuit of economic prosperity through enhancing connectivities, including through quality infrastructure development in accordance with international standards

(3) Commitment for peace and stability that includes assistance for capacity building on maritime law enforcement, cooperation in such fields as disaster risk reduction and non-proliferation

Together with the countries that share the vision of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” Japan is moving forward on concrete cooperation toward the realization of this goal. For example, when Prime Minister Abe visited the U.S. in September 2018, Prime Minister Abe and President Trump praised concrete cooperative projects in third countries, and reaffirmed the strong determination to further enhance cooperation in various fields in the Indo-Pacific region, with the aim of advancing their shared vision of maintaining and promoting a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Taking the opportunity of the visit by U.S. Vice President Pence to Japan in November, the Governments of Japan and the U.S. issued the Japan-U.S. Joint Statement on Advancing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Through Energy, Infrastructure and Digital Connectivity Cooperation. In October, Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Modi of India, who was visiting Japan, reiterated their unwavering commitment to working together toward a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” based on the shared vision between Japan and India, and shared their will to expand concrete cooperation with the U.S. and other partners. During the Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting also held in October, concrete cooperative projects were specified in the Tokyo Strategy 2018 for Mekong-Japan Cooperation. Furthermore, during Prime Minister Abe's visit to Australia in November, he affirmed with Prime Minister Morrison that the two countries share the vision of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” and concurred that the two countries will cooperate in order to realize the stability and prosperity of the region.

Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting (September 26, New York, U.S.; Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting (September 26, New York, U.S.; Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

In addition, the Government of Japan took the opportunity of multilateral meetings such as ASEAN, APEC, TICAD, and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to explain in detail Japan's vision and initiatives toward a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” to the participating countries. Going forward, Japan will build a multi-layered cooperative relationship while coordinating closely with partners, in order to further implement initiatives toward a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”