Diplomatic Bluebook 2019
Japan's Foreign Policy that Takes a Panoramic Perspective of the World Map
A Brief Summary and Overview
In the Foreign Policy White Paper issued by the Australian Government in November 2017, it was announced that as the guidelines of foreign policy of the next ten years, Australia will promote an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, oppose protectionism, promote and protect international rules, etc., while also strengthening cooperation with partners including Japan. This foreign policy has continued to be upheld even after Prime Minister Morrison replaced Prime Minister Turnbull in August 2018.
With the region facing a variety of issues, the “Special Strategic Partnership” between Japan and Australia, which share fundamental values and strategic interests, is more important than ever. The two countries' strategic visions toward maintenance and strengthening a free and open international order based on the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region are aligned in wide-ranging areas. With the Prime Ministers' annual mutual visits and close coordination between the Foreign Ministers serving as the basis, the two countries have been further deepening political and security cooperation and collaboration toward stability and prosperity of the international community. Furthermore, multilateral coordination and partnerships such as the Japan-U.S.-Australia, Japan-Australia-India and Japan-U.S.-Australia-India relations are being steadily strengthened.
On the economic front, the two countries are promoting free trade, including the TPP Agreement. Australia is the fifth largest trading partner for Japan and Japan is the second largest trading partner for Australia, and the two countries are further developing mutually complementary economic relations based on the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). During Prime Minister Turnbull's visit to Japan in January 2018 and Prime Minister Abe's visit to Australia in November, they confirmed the deepening of the “Special Strategic Partnership” in an array of areas including the deepening of security and defense cooperation, economic issues and people-to-people exchanges. Prime Minister Abe visited Darwin, Australia, a target of air raids of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Prime Minister Abe visited a memorial dedicated to the war dead with Prime Minister Morrison and sent out a message regarding the successful postwar reconciliation between the two countries. In addition, the two leaders commended the start of gas production from the Ichthys LNG Project based in Darwin and shared the view that they would further promote energy cooperation.
In Darwin, Prime Minister Abe held his first Summit Meeting with Prime Minister Morrison. They also held a meeting accompanied only by their interpreters and a small group dinner, and developed a personal relationship of trust. The two leaders shared the view on advancing concrete cooperation, such as capacity-building assistance in maritime security and enhancing connectivity, in order to maintain and strengthen a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Furthermore, the two leaders affirmed their commitment to cooperate on North Korea issues and shared the view on regional affairs, including Southeast Asia and Pacific island countries.
The Foreign Ministers held frequent meetings on the margins of various occasions, including the UN General Assembly. In October, the Eighth Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultation (“2+2”) was held in Sydney. The two countries shared their views on the increasingly severe regional situations and confirmed that they would continue to cooperate closely toward the peace and stability of the region. Furthermore, Japan has strengthened its relations with the states of Australia. Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Iwao Horii visited Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) in February as well as the Northern Territory, South Australia, NSW and Queensland in June. Premier of Queensland and Minister for Trade Palaszczuk and others also visited Japan.
B Cooperation in the Security Field
To ensure peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region, Japan and Australia have continued to steadily strengthen and expand cooperation in the field of security. At the Japan-Australia Summit Meeting in November, the two leaders welcomed the significant progress made to date in negotiations for the reciprocal access agreement, which would improve administrative, policy and legal procedures to facilitate joint operations and exercises between Japan's Self-Defense Forces and Australia's Defense Forces. They also directed all relevant Ministers to accelerate negotiations with a view to concluding them, preferably by early 2019.
At the Eighth Japan-Australia 2+2, the two countries shared the view that enhancing collaboration between Japan and Australia, “Special Strategic Partners” sharing fundamental values and strategic interests, is important more than ever, and confirmed their unwavering partnership under the Government of Prime Minister Morrison who took office in August. They agreed to further strengthen security and defense cooperation between Japan and Australia, and confirmed strengthening coordination regarding North Korea, the South China Sea, the East China Sea, Southeast Asia and Pacific island countries.
Furthermore, Japan and Australia, both of which are allies of the U.S., are continuing to work on further enhancing Japan-U.S.-Australia cooperation. The Eighth Japan-U.S.-Australia Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD) was held in August, and views were exchanged on various regional issues such as North Korea, the South China Sea, the East China Sea, infrastructure investment, cybersecurity, and measures countering terrorism and violent extremism. It was also agreed that Japan, the U.S. and Australia would coordinate and cooperate closely including these issues.
C Economic Relations
Japan and Australia have taken the lead in promoting a system of free trade in the region through close cooperation, including the TPP Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Between Japan and Australia, mainly industrial products such as automobiles are being exported to Australia, while mainly energy resources such as coal and natural gas, and agricultural products such as beef are being imported into Japan, in a mutually complementary economic relationship that has been developed steadily over the years. Japan is the second biggest investor in the world for Australia, and since the entry into force of the Japan-Australia EPA in January 2015, there have been active exchanges of goods, funds and people between the two countries. Moreover, efforts are being made to further develop economic relations between Japan and Australia under the Conference for Promotion of Exchanges between Japan and Australia, with an innovation-led reform of industrial structures and region-led promotion of relationships serving as the two pillars.
D Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges
There exists a foundation for affinity toward Japan in Australia cultivated over many years, as shown by the fact that approximately 360,000 people in Australia learn the Japanese language (the highest number of learners per population in the world), and that there are over 100 sister city relations. In order to strengthen the foundation of Japan-Australia relations, various initiatives have been implemented, including the promotion of mutual understanding through JENESYS 2018, the exchange program including young people, and the “New Colombo Plan”18 as well as the Young Political Leaders Exchange.
From April to November, the Government of Australia ran “Australia now” in Japan, a flagship public relations and cultural diplomacy program. It held performances as well as cultural and sports events featuring science, research and innovation, creativity and design and Australian lifestyle.
- 18 An Australian Government policy which aims to increase knowledge of Asia among university students in Australia by promoting their studies in Asia.
E Cooperation in the International Community
In order to make an active contribution to peace and stability in the international community, the two countries have been strengthening cooperation in wide-ranging areas. In particular, cooperation has been deepened in addressing various issues facing the Indo-Pacific region such as maritime security and nuclear and missile development by North Korea. In 2018, Australia dispatched aircraft three times for monitoring and surveillance activities based in Kadena Air Base against illicit maritime activities, including ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean-flagged vessels prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. In addition, Australia dispatched its frigate MELBOURNE for monitoring and surveillance activities in waters surrounding Japan, including the East China Sea. Japan and Australia also work closely with respect to Pacific island countries with which the latter has deep ties. In November, on the occasion of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Papua New Guinea, the “Joint Statement of the Governments of Australia, Japan, and the United States of America on the Trilateral Partnership for Infrastructure Investment in the Indo-Pacific” and “The Papua New Guinea Electrification Partnership” signed by Papua New Guinea, Japan, Australia, the U.S. and New Zealand were issued. Furthermore, the two countries are working together as important partners on global issues, such as UN peacekeeping operations (PKOs), disarmament and non-proliferation, climate change and UN Security Council reforms.
(2) New Zealand
A Brief Summary and Overview
Japan and New Zealand share fundamental values, such as democracy and a market economy. The two countries have been maintaining good relations over the years. In recent years, under the “Strategic Cooperative Partnership,” the two countries have been strengthening bilateral cooperation in areas including the economy, security and defense cooperation and people-to-people exchanges and also cooperative relations on issues facing the region and the international community. The Labour Party-NZ First Party coalition government, which was inaugurated in October 2017 by the first change in government in approximately nine years, places emphasis on Japan-New Zealand relations.
B Mutual VIP Visits
From Japan, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakane visited New Zealand in February to hold a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Peters. He also attended the commemorative ceremony to mark the 7th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake. In October, Foreign Minister Kono paid the first visit to New Zealand by a Japanese Foreign Minister in approximately five years. He paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Arden and held meetings including with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Peters. The two sides shared the view on strengthening bilateral relations and advancing cooperation in Pacific island countries, and on coordinating on regional situations, including North Korea issues.
From New Zealand, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Peters visited Japan in May to attend the Eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8). He held a Foreign Ministers' Meeting with Foreign Minister Kono, and they shared the view that cooperation would be promoted especially regarding Pacific island countries. On the margins of the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings in November, Prime Minister Abe held a Summit Meeting with Prime Minister Arden, and they shared the view that the two countries would continue to work closely to strengthen their relations.
C Economic Relations
The two countries enjoy a complementary economic relationship and cooperated on the entry into force of the TPP Agreement. Furthermore, in the fields of food and agriculture, the “New Zealand Hokkaido Dairy Collaboration Project” designed to improve the profitability of dairy farming in Japan has been implemented since 2014. The “New Zealand Hokkaido Sheep Collaboration Project” has also been launched with the aim of vitalizing the sheep industry.
D Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges
In FY2018, approximately 20 university students from New Zealand visited Japan as part of JENESYS 2018. More than 1,100 young people from New Zealand have now visited Japan through youth related programs.
In addition, networking between sister cities is making progress with an aim to promote mutual understanding among the youth. Furthermore, the New Zealand Government sponsored “Game On English” which extends support to English language education for Japanese students through rugby, in which New Zealand won the World Cup twice in a row. Under this program, 31 Japanese students visited New Zealand in 2018.
E Cooperation in the International Community
The two countries are cooperating closely for the peace and stability of the international community, including the UN. In particular, in response to illicit maritime activities, including ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean-flagged vessels prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions, New Zealand conducted monitoring and surveillance activities by aircraft based in Kadena Air Base in September 2018 with the U.S., Australia and Canada. Furthermore, Japan and New Zealand have collaborated in regional cooperation frameworks such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and APEC. As for Pacific island countries, the two countries have also been cooperating through the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM). Japan and New Zealand issued the “Joint Press Release on Cooperation in the Pacific” between their foreign ministers as well as a joint press release on “Cooperation on the Pacific Climate Change Centre.”
(3) Pacific Island Countries (PICs)
A Brief Summary and Overview
The PICs and Japan are bound by the Pacific Ocean, have deep historical ties, and are important partners for Japan in areas such as cooperation in the international arena and the supply of fisheries and mineral resources. They are becoming increasingly important from a geopolitical perspective as they are located at the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Japan has been holding PALM once every three years since 1997, and the Eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8) was held in May 2018. Furthermore, high-level officials from Japan have been constantly attending the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Post Forum Dialogue since its inception in 1989. Japan has been further strengthening relations with PICs through visits at various levels using the occasion of these international conferences, ODA projects, and active people-to-people exchanges.
B Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM)
PALM marked its 20th anniversary in 2017. In May 2018, PALM8 was held in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture under the co-chairmanship of Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Tuilaepa of Samoa. PALM8 was held under the theme, “We are Islanders─Partnership Towards Prosperous, Free and Open Pacific,” and leaders and others participated from 19 countries and regions including Japan, 14 PICs, New Zealand and Australia as well as the two regions of New Caledonia and French Polynesia which participated for the first time. Prime Minister Abe held individual summit meetings with various leaders. At PALM8, discussions focused on the four agenda items of (i) maritime order based on the rule of law, and sustainable oceans, (ii) resilient and sustainable development, (iii) connecting Pacific citizens, and (iv) cooperation in the international arena. The PALM8 Leaders' Declaration was adopted as an outcome of the discussions. Countries expressed their gratitude for Japan's contributions through PALM and other initiatives.
The Eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8) took place in Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture on May 18 to 19.
The Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting is a summit meeting that has been taking place once every three years since 1997 to conduct candid exchanges of opinions on a variety of issues facing the Pacific Islands region at the level of top leaders, for the purpose of contributing to regional stability and prosperity, and strengthening the partnership between Japan and the Pacific Islands region. It had been held seven times previously. Under the theme “We are Islanders - Partnership Towards Prosperous, Free and Open Pacific,” leaders participated from 19 countries and regions including Japan, 14 island countries, New Zealand, and Australia, and in addition, the two regions of New Caledonia and French Polynesia which participated for the first time.
At the summit meeting, Prime Minister Abe delivered the keynote speech in which he explained that the commitments pledged at PALM7 (2015) had been achieved in a form that greatly surpassed the goals and then declared that over the next three years Japan would advance cooperation centered on three areas: (1) free, open and sustainable oceans; (2) sustainable development; and (3) connecting Pacific citizens. Furthermore, he promised that the Government of Japan would listen carefully to the needs of the Pacific island countries, while providing meticulous, high-quality support both on the tangible and intangible fronts that will truly benefit the people of the island countries and their society, and implement human resource development and people-to-people exchanges for more than 5,000 people centered on these areas over the next three years. The Pacific island countries stated that they highly evaluated the role that PALM had played to date, and Japan and the Pacific island countries agreed to further strengthen the PALM process. Furthermore, the Pacific island countries expressed their gratitude for the contribution of Japan over many years, and expressed strong support for new cooperation and assistance measures for the next three years.
At PALM8, discussions were conducted centered on the four agenda items: (i) a maritime order based on the rule of law, and sustainable oceans; (ii) resilient and sustainable development; (iii) connecting Pacific citizens; and (iv) cooperation in the international arena. The PALM8 Leaders' Declaration was adopted as the outcome of the discussions.
Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Samoa Tuilaepa, the co-chair country, expressed his gratitude to each country, in particular Japan, for the success of PALM8, and stated that Samoa intended to further strengthen the partnership between Japan and the Pacific island countries. Finally, Prime Minister Abe reaffirmed his determination for Japan and the Pacific island countries to build a partnership together for a new era based on the PALM8 Leaders' Declaration and ensure a prosperous, free and open Pacific together, and then he declared the Eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting closed.
C Mutual VIP Visits
In January, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Iwao Horii visited Nauru to attend its 50th independence anniversary celebration and held meetings with President Waqa and others. Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Sonoura visited Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in March and held meetings with Foreign Minister Pato of Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister Houenipwela of the Solomon Islands and others. Special Advisor Sonoura visited Palau and Micronesia in April and held meetings with President Remengesau of Palau, President Christian of Micronesia and others. In the same month, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Horii visited Samoa, etc. and held meetings with Prime Minister Tuilaepa and others. In August, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Horii visited the Cook Islands to attend their 53rd Constitution anniversary ceremony and also visited Tonga, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, etc. He held meetings with Prime Minister Puna of the Cook Islands, Prime Minister Pohiva of Tonga, President Maamau of Kiribati, President Heine of the Marshall Islands and others. In November, President Christian of Micronesia and Foreign Secretary Robert of Micronesia visited Japan and held meetings with Prime Minister Abe and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshiko Abe, respectively. In the same month, Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kono visited Papua New Guinea to attend the APEC meetings and held meetings with Prime Minister O'Neill and Foreign Minister Pato, respectively. In December, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Suzuki visited Palau as the head of the Public-Private Joint Economic Mission, attended a trade, investment and tourism seminar and held meetings with President Remengesau and others.
D Relationship with Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
In September, the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting was held in Nauru, and Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Iwao Horii attended the Post Forum Dialogue as a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister. Japan expressed its intention to cooperate with PICs in ensuring free and open maritime order based on the rule of law, the sustainable use of ocean resources, and the management and conservation of the marine environment as priority issues in the region. In addition, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Horii held a meeting with President Waqa of Nauru as well as meetings with leaders and ministers from PICs attending the meeting.
E Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges
As part of efforts to bolster the “assistance for human resource development to 4,000 people in three years” as pledged at the PALM7 in 2015, people-to-people exchanges were implemented between students, through JENESYS. Furthermore, from FY2016 Japan commenced the Pacific-Leaders' Educational Assistance for Development of State (Pacific-LEADS) for young government administrators of PICs, and in FY2017 the program accepted 41 trainees.
F Establishment of a Liaison Office in Vanuatu
Vanuatu is an island nation located in the Melanesia region of the South Pacific, and it is an important country that has been supporting Japan's position in the UN Security Council reform and in international organization elections. In light of this fact, Japan established a liaison office in Vanuatu in January 2018.