Diplomatic Bluebook 2019

Chapter 2

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

4 Central Africa

(1) Gabon

Following the death of Former President Omar Bongo, who served as president for 41 years, a presidential election was peacefully held in August 2009 and the son of the former president, Ali Bongo, was elected (he was reelected in 2016). However, there was an attempted coup d'état by a faction of the military in January 2019.

On the economic front, reform of the country's economic structure, which is dependent on oil and other natural resources, is a pressing issue. Efforts are being made to diversify the country's industries and to increase added value to products.

Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Ogushi visited Gabon in July and held a meeting with Prime Minister Issoze. Minister of Water and Energy Eyogo Edzang attended the TICAD Ministerial Meeting in October, and also held a foreign ministers' meeting.

(2) Cameroon

In October, President Biya won his seventh presidential election that determined the continuation of a long-serving government since 1982. In November, he announced the establishment of the National Committee for Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) in order to stabilize in the far north region under the influence of Boko Haram and stabilize English-speaking territories where the residents are seeking independence.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Sato visited Cameroon in May where he paid a courtesy call to Prime Minister Yang and made a visit to the International School of Security Forces (EIFORCES).

(3) Democratic Republic of the Congo

Following President Kabila's remaining in office after the end of his second term in December 2016, a presidential election was held on December 30, 2018, and President Tshisekedi took office on January 24, 2019.

After the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Equateur Province in June 2018, Japan provided Emergency Grant Aid and also dispatched Japan Disaster Relief Infectious Diseases Response Team to counter the epidemic. Japan also provided emergency relief goods through JICA in August in response to the epidemic in North Kivu.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Sato visited in October to make a courtesy call to President Kabila and have talks with other officials, and they affirmed to strengthen friendly bilateral ties.

(4) Chad

Chad was one of the poorest countries with an economy primarily based on the cotton and livestock industries, but it has made progress in exploiting its oil resources in the south in recent years and began exporting oil in 2003. On the political front, a stable government continues under the long-serving administration of President Déby Itno, who has been in office since 1991.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Sato visited Chad in May 2018 for the first time as a government minister of Japan. In addition to paying a courtesy call to the president, he also made a visit to the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), which was created to fight against the Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram.

(5) Central Africa

President Tuadera, who was democratically elected in March 2016, has continued efforts to rebuild the country with the cooperation of the international community. In the AU-led “Africa Initiative” mediation process started in July 2017, the AU signed an agreement with 14 armed groups in August 2018 that included the requirements for each group in order to start negotiations between the government and the armed groups.

Japan is supporting the efforts of Central African government to rebuild their state, and the National Strategy to Prevent Radicalization (2018-2021), formulated through the UNDP, was announced in July.

In May, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Sato visited Central Africa. Minister of Foreign Affairs Doubane visited Japan in May and also for the TICAD Ministerial Meetings in October, and discussed bilateral relation and cooperation in the international arena with Foreign Minister Kono.