Diplomatic Bluebook 2020

Chapter 1

International Situation and Japan's Diplomacy in 2019

2 Japan's Diplomacy

Amid the various challenges facing the international order based on fundamental values that has 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 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 desirable international environment that is stable and predictable, 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. In this respect, 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 Abe Shinzo has thus far visited 80 countries and regions (176 countries and regions in total), and since his appointment in September 2019, Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu has chaired the G20 Aichi-Nagoya Foreign Ministers' Meeting in November and visited 11 countries and regions (12 countries and regions in total) (as of the end of February 2020). As a result, Japan's presence in the international community has steadily risen, and the relationships of trust between Prime Minister Abe and foreign leaders as well as between Foreign Minister Motegi and other foreign ministers and the heads of international organizations have also deepened significantly.

The year 2019 saw the staging of diplomatic activities in Japan, befitting the beginning of the new era of Reiwa. It kicked off with the G20 Osaka Summit in June, which Japan hosted for the first time as the G20 presidency. In August, 42 African leaders, the largest attendance in the history of TICAD, participated in the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) held in Yokohama. In October, representatives of 191 countries, organizations, and others attended the Ceremonies of the Accession to the Throne. Furthermore, many rugby fans from all over the world visited Japan for the Rugby World Cup held across the nation from September to November.

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

As a stabilizing force in the international community, Japan will continue to build relationships of trust with other 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 pursues diplomacy with a focus on: (1) further strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance, the cornerstone of Japan's foreign policy; (2) tackling outstanding issues of concern regarding North Korea; (3) diplomacy with neighboring countries, such as China, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Russia; (4) addressing the increasingly tense situation in the Middle East; (5) economic diplomacy in which Japan will lead efforts to establish new common rules; and (6) addressing global issues.

【1 Further Strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance, the Cornerstone of Japan's Foreign Policy】

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 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 before, thanks to the deep relationship of trust built through frequent exchanges between the leaders and the 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 resolve regional and international issues, including those regarding North Korea, and to maintain and promote a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).”

In 2019, many reciprocal, high-level visits took place between the two countries such as five summit meetings including reciprocal visits in three consecutive months, namely, Prime Minister Abe's visit to the U.S. in April, President Trump's visit to Japan in May as the first State Guest in the new era of Reiwa (see the Column on page 94), and President Trump's visit to Japan to attend the G20 Osaka Summit in June. Japan and the U.S. are working closely on a range of regional and international challenges, holding summit meetings and foreign ministerial meetings on the occasions of these bilateral visits as well as various international meetings.

In addition, under the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation (the Guidelines) and the Legislation for Peace and Security, Japan and the U.S. are making efforts to further enhance the deterrence and response capabilities of the Alliance and are expanding and strengthening cooperation in a wide range of areas such as ballistic missile defense, outer space, cyberspace, and maritime security. With regard to the realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan, including the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma and the relocation of the Marine Corps from Okinawa to Guam and other locations outside of Japan, Japan and the U.S. have continued to coordinate closely to mitigate the impact on local communities including Okinawa, while maintaining the deterrence of U.S. Forces in Japan.

Japan-U.S. economic relations are one of the three pillars of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, together with security, and people-to-people exchanges. In particular, 2019 was a year of further deepening economic relations between the two countries as the Japan-U.S. Trade Agreement and the Japan-U.S. Digital Trade Agreement (see the Special Feature on page 265) were concluded. Ministerial consultations were held eight times between Minister Motegi (Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization until September 2019 / Minister for Foreign Affairs from September 2019) and U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer from April 2019 based on the Japan-U.S. Joint Statement issued in September 2018. At the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting held in New York in September, the leaders confirmed that a final agreement had been reached on the Japan-U.S. Trade Agreement and the Japan-U.S. Digital Trade Agreement, and the Japan-U.S. Joint Statement was issued. The two agreements were signed at the White House in October and entered into force on January 1, 2020.

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, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

【2 Addressing Outstanding Issues of Concern regarding North Korea】

The Government of Japan has been taking various initiatives to realize its basic policy of seeking to normalize its relations with North Korea through comprehensively resolving outstanding issues of concern, such as the abductions, nuclear and missile issues, as well as settlement of the unfortunate past in accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration of September 2002. Between the U.S. and North Korea, the second U.S.-North Korea Summit was held in Hanoi, Viet Nam, in February 2019. President Trump and Chairman of State Affairs Commission Kim Jong-un met in Panmunjom in June, and U.S.-North Korea working-level talks were held in Stockholm, Sweden, in October. In the meantime, North Korea frequently and repeatedly conducted launches of ballistic missiles, totaling more than 20 from May to November. Under these circumstances, 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. Japan will continue to coordinate closely with the U.S. and the ROK and cooperate with the international community, including China and Russia, toward the resolution of the issues concerning North Korea.

As well as being a critical issue concerning the sovereignty of Japan and the lives and safety of Japanese citizens, abduction by North Korea constitutes a universal issue for the international community as a violation of basic human rights. Japan has positioned the resolution of the abductions issue as the most important issue and will continue to make utmost efforts to realize the return home of all abductees at the earliest possible date while working closely with relevant countries, including the U.S.

【3 Diplomacy with Neighboring Countries, such as China, the Republic of Korea, and Russia】

Building stable relations with neighboring countries is critical in ensuring peace and prosperity in Japan.


The relationship with China, a neighboring country across the East China Sea, is one of Japan's most important bilateral relationships. The two countries have close economic relations as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges. The year 2019 was a year in which high-level dialogues were actively held, including by the two countries' leaders and foreign ministers, elevating the Japan-China relationship to a new stage for a “new era of Japan-China relations.” The two countries' leaders and foreign ministers also made reciprocal visits. 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 various fields.

In June, President Xi Jinping made the first visit to Japan by a Chinese President in approximately nine years to attend the G20 Osaka Summit, and the two leaders shared the view in principle regarding President Xi's state visit to Japan in the following spring. In December, Prime Minister Abe visited China to attend the Eighth Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit. With regard to President Xi's state visit to Japan, Japan and China shared the view in March 2020 that top priority must be given to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and that both sides need to prepare adequately for President Xi's state visit to be fully successful. They decided to reschedule the state visit to a time that is convenient for both.

At the same time, the ongoing 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 take a calm and resolute approach to the situation while strengthening coordination with the relevant countries. Japan will also boost communication with China in order to make the East China Sea a “Sea of Peace, Cooperation and Friendship.”

(Republic of Korea)

The Republic of Korea (ROK) is an important neighboring country for Japan. The two countries have built a close, friendly and cooperative relationship based on the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea, the Agreement on the Settlement of Problems concerning Property and Claims and on the Economic Co-operation between Japan and the Republic of Korea, and other relevant agreements that the two countries concluded when they normalized their relationship in 1965. In spite of the above, in 2019, following on from the previous year, the relations between Japan and the ROK continued to face difficult situations amid unceasing negative moves by the ROK, including the ROK's continued failure to remedy its accumulated breaches of international law regarding the issue of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula (hereinafter referred to as “CWKs”), the notification to terminate the Japan-ROK Agreement on the Protection of Classified Military Information (GSOMIA) (note: the ROK later suspended the effect of the notification of termination), moves to dissolve “the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation” regarding the comfort women issue, landing on Takeshima by South Koreans including the members of the National Assembly of the ROK and military exercises on Takeshima, the sailing of the ROK's maritime search vessels in waters surrounding Takeshima, and raising unconstructive questions regarding the ALPS treated water1 at the Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Under these circumstances, a Japan-ROK Summit Meeting was held in December for the first time in one year and three months, and consultations between the diplomatic authorities were held frequently between the two countries.

  • 1 Water treated through multiple treatment facilities including the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS)

Japan held political dialogues actively with Russia, including three Summit Meetings and seven Foreign Ministers' Meetings. At the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting in Osaka in June, Prime Minister Abe and President Putin shared the view that they would continue to advance the negotiations under their determination to “accelerate negotiations on a peace treaty on the basis of the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration of 1956” as announced by both sides in Singapore in November 2018. At the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting in Vladivostok in September, the two leaders had a candid and open exchange of views on the issue of concluding a peace treaty and reconfirmed to work in a future-oriented manner. The two leaders also reiterated instructions to their respective foreign ministers, who are responsible for the negotiations, to advance joint work in order to find a mutually acceptable solution. In response to this, Foreign Minister Motegi and Foreign Minister Lavrov held the Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers' Meetings in New York (September) and Nagoya (November) respectively and exchanged views on how to proceed with the consultations, including the negotiations on a peace treaty. At the Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Moscow in December, the two Foreign Ministers held discussions at length and were able to commence full-fledged consultations. Under the strong leadership of the Japanese and Russian leaders, the Government of Japan will continue to persistently negotiate with Russia to conclude a peace treaty by resolving the issue of attribution of the Four Northern Islands.

(Key Partners in the Indo-Pacific Region)

The Indo-Pacific region is one of the world's growth centers, and realizing a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific is one of the highest priorities of Japan's diplomacy. From this perspective, Japan places a high priority on achieving a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” based on rules in accordance with international law, working with countries that share this vision. Today, this vision is spreading, from the U.S. to Australia and India, as well as ASEAN and Europe.

In particular, ASEAN plays an important role at the center of regional cooperation in East Asia. In 2015, the ASEAN Community comprised of the Political-Security Community, the Economic Community, and the Socio-Cultural Community was established. Under such a context, Japan strengthens its relations with ASEAN and its member states by pursuing synergy between FOIP and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) adopted by ASEAN in June 2019 (see the Special Feature on page 81) and supporting ASEAN's efforts toward further integration while respecting ASEAN centrality and unity.

Japan and India celebrated the fifth year since their bilateral relationship was elevated to the “Special Strategic and Global Partnership” in 2014. In 2019, bilateral summit meetings were held on the margins of the G20 Osaka Summit, the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, and the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings in Bangkok, Thailand. In November, Japan and India held their first 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting. The meetings resulted in many concrete outcomes, including confirming their cooperative relationship for realizing FOIP.

Japan and Australia held bilateral summit meetings on the occasions of Prime Minister Morrison's visit to Japan for the G20 Osaka Summit in June and the G7 Biarritz Summit in August. The leaders have developed their personal, trusted relationship. As Special Strategic Partners sharing fundamental values and strategic interests, Japan and Australia are further deepening their multilayered cooperation and collaboration in a range of areas, including security, economy, and regional affairs. Furthermore, minilateral collaboration and partnerships, such as Japan-U.S.-Australia and Japan-U.S.-Australia-India relations, have been steadily enhanced.

In addition, Japan is further strengthening its relations with Pacific Island countries through the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) process and frequent mutual visits at a high level.

【4 Addressing the Increasingly Tense Situation in the Middle East】

In recent years, Japan has sought to strengthen its relations with Middle Eastern countries in a wide range of fields that include not only the economy but also politics and security as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges. In 2019, Japan made proactive diplomatic efforts in response to the rising tensions in the Middle East, including Prime Minister Abe's visit to Iran in June and President Rouhani's visit to Japan in December. To ensure the safety of navigation of Japan-related vessels, the Government of Japan has made a Cabinet decision in December to make further diplomatic efforts toward easing tensions and stabilizing the situation in the region, implement thorough measures for ensuring the safety of navigation, and utilize the Self-Defense Forces for strengthening its information gathering posture.

【5 Economic Diplomacy in which Japan will Lead Efforts to Establish New Common Rules】

With a changing economic structure, the international community is confronted with a variety of issues, including the rise of protectionism and trade disputes. Under these circumstances, Japan hosted the G20 Osaka Summit in June. As a result of Japan's leadership as the G20 presidency, the leaders of the major countries were able to demonstrate to the world their readiness to take united actions in response to major global economic issues by, for example, confirming principles underpinning free trade such as free, fair and non-discriminatory trade and a level playing field (see the Opening Special Feature on page 4).

(Rule-Making to Bolster Free and Open Global Economic Systems)

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) help capture the vitality of the growing market overseas and strengthen the basis of the Japanese economy through measures such as the reduction or elimination of tariffs on goods as well as barriers on trade in services, and through rule-making for trade and investment. The Government of Japan has signed and brought into force 18 EPAs/FTAs with 21 economies to date. In addition, the Japan-U.S. Trade Agreement entered into force on January 1, 2020. This Agreement, together with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP11 Agreement) and the Japan-EU EPA, created a free economic sphere covering 60% of the global GDP (see the Column on page 269).

The Government of Japan will continue to play a leading role in the steady implementation and membership expansion of the TPP11 Agreement and the early signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement. Alongside this, Japan will vigorously pursue negotiations for trade agreements such as the Japan-China-ROK FTA and will promote 21st-century rules for free and fair trade and investment worldwide. Furthermore, Japan will lead discussions on free trade and inclusive growth at international organizations, such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and relevant fora. At the G20 Osaka Summit, under Japan's leadership, the G20 leaders reaffirmed their support for reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the face of various challenges, including the dysfunctional rule-making process and paralysis of the WTO's Appellate Body. Going forward, Japan will continue to lead the WTO reform (see the Special Feature on page 280).

(Support for Japanese Companies' Overseas Business Expansion by Promoting Public and Private Partnerships)

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) provides support for Japanese companies' cultivation of foreign markets through various initiatives such as providing consultation to Japanese companies and holding events to promote Japanese products at Japan's diplomatic missions overseas. MOFA also provides support to Japanese companies already operating overseas in response to the developments of the Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU. In order to tap into infrastructure demands mainly in emerging countries and promote infrastructure exports by Japanese companies, Japan is taking proactive steps, including the dynamic undertaking of top-level trade promotions by the Government and systemic improvements aimed at the strategic use of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

With regard to the import restrictions on Japanese agricultural, forestry, fishery and food products following the Great East Japan Earthquake and the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the Government of Japan has continued requesting relevant countries and regions to lift these restrictions expeditiously based on scientific evidence and disseminating information about the safety of Japanese food with the aim of dispelling harmful rumors about those products (see the Column on page 287).

【6 Addressing Global Challenges】

One country alone cannot address global challenges, such as peacebuilding, terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, the rule of law, human rights, women's empowerment, disaster risk reduction, global health, and the environment and climate change, and the international community needs to mount a united response. These issues are directly connected to the peace and prosperity of Japan and the rest of the international community. In this respect, the initiatives to address these challenges are one critical part of Japan's “Proactive Contribution to Peace.”

Japan is also advancing international contributions under the concept of human security in order to ensure that freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law are respected as universal values in the international community, to take good care of socially vulnerable people, and to realize a society where individuals can make the most use of their potential.

(Promotion of International Peace Cooperation)

Japan has placed importance on cooperation in the field of peacekeeping and peacebuilding, including 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 28 missions, including UN PKOs. Most recently, along with the four staff officers dispatched to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), two Self-Defense Forces personnel are engaged in international peace cooperation assignments as staff officers for the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt since April 2019.

(Measures to Counter Terrorism and Violent Extremism)

In response to the growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism, Japan has bolstered its fight against terrorism through a comprehensive approach in accordance with relevant international initiatives such as the “G7 Action Plan on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism,” which Japan compiled at the G7 Ise-Shima Summit. Japan's comprehensive efforts consist of (1) initiatives for 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. At the G20 Osaka Summit in June, the “G20 Osaka Leaders' Statement on Preventing Exploitation of the Internet for Terrorism and Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism (VECT)” was adopted. 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 relevant countries. In parallel with these initiatives, Japan is also engaged in strengthening measures for the safety of Japanese nationals overseas.

(Proactive Initiatives for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation)

As the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings in war, Japan has the responsibility to take the lead in the international community's efforts to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. Japan continues to pursue bridge building between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states through measures such as the Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament launched in 2017, and has carried out realistic and practical measures that also involve nuclear-weapon states.

Japan places importance on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, and has participated actively in the discussions leading up to the next NPT Review Conference (see the Special Feature on page 203). The Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), which was launched under the leadership of Japan and Australia, has also proactively contributed to the NPT review process through realistic and practical proposals. In November, the 10th Ministerial Meeting of the NPDI was held in Nagoya, Japan.

Japan attaches great importance to promoting the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as a realistic measure for nuclear disarmament where both nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states can participate. Japan has continued diplomatic efforts to encourage countries that have not signed or ratified the CTBT, including countries whose ratifications are required for CTBT's entry-into-force. At the 11th Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT held in September, Foreign Minister Motegi presented Japan's initiatives and expressed his hope and determination for the steady advancement of nuclear disarmament efforts.

Since 1994, Japan has submitted a draft resolution on the elimination of nuclear weapons to the UN General Assembly. This draft resolution incorporates concrete and practical measures toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The 2019 resolution was adopted with wide support from 160 countries.

In addition, Japan puts effort into non-proliferation policies, including through maintaining and strengthening international non-proliferation regimes and rules, appropriately implementing non-proliferation measures in Japan, as well as closely coordinating with other countries and providing capacity-building assistance.

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

Japan has served as a non-permanent member of the UNSC 11 times, the most frequent among the UN Member States.

To ensure that the UNSC can respond more effectively to various issues faced by the international community, Japan has been making efforts in pursuit of the early realization of UNSC reform that reflects the realities of the international community and Japan's admission as a permanent member. Furthermore, with a view to continuing to contribute to the maintenance of peace and security in the international community prior to its admission as a permanent member, Japan is running for a non-permanent membership in the UNSC elections in 2022.

In addition, Japan has been making policy and financial contributions as well as personnel contributions for the UN and other international organizations to tackle a variety of issues. Japan is also making efforts to encourage the employment of more Japanese staff and their appointment to executive posts at international organizations.

(Proactive Efforts to Strengthen the Rule of Law)

Japan promotes rule-making and the implementation of these rules in various fields, and also actively cooperates with international judicial organizations such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to strengthen their functions via contributions both in terms of human and financial resources (see the Column on page 223). In order to maintain and develop free, open and stable seas upheld by a maritime order governed by laws and rules and not by force, Japan as a maritime nation 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 for the realization of FOIP; 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 Centre (ISC); international rule-making to strengthen the rule of law in outer space and cyberspace (see the Special Feature on page 196); and the enhancement of the rule of law in the Arctic.

(Human Rights)

The protection and promotion of human rights serve as the cornerstone of peace and stability in the international community. In this field, from the viewpoints of serving as a bridge builder in Asia and protecting the socially vulnerable, Japan has striven to improve the human rights situation globally by holding bilateral dialogues, proactively participating in a number of multinational fora, such as the UN, and engaging in constructive dialogues with the UN human rights mechanisms.

(Toward a Society in Which All Women Shine)

In order to expand opportunities for women's education in developing countries, Prime Minister Abe announced at the fifth World Assembly for Women (WAW!) in March that Japan will provide quality education and opportunities for human resources development for at least four million girls and women in the next three years up to 2020 (see the Special Feature on page 233). At the G20 Osaka Summit in June, women's empowerment was one of the main agenda items. The G20 leaders and heads of international organizations gathered together and reaffirmed the G20's commitment to women's empowerment.

(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, thereby securing Japan's national interests.

(Quality Infrastructure)

With respect to infrastructure development, the leaders at the G20 Osaka Summit in June endorsed the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment, which includes such elements as openness, transparency, economic efficiency, and debt sustainability. Japan is working to promote and establish these principles as international standards and to reflect and practice them in individual projects.

(Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs])

The SDGs are a set of 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. In September, Prime Minister Abe attended the SDG Summit 2019. The Prime Minister shared Japan's achievements in SDGs promotion over the past four years, including the outcomes of the G20 Osaka Summit and TICAD7, and presented his efforts to advance the SDGs by harnessing all of Japan's resources and capabilities as the Chief of the SDGs Promotion Headquarters (see the Special Feature on page 251). At the eighth meeting of the Headquarters held in December, the SDGs Implementation Guiding Principles was revised for the first time in three years since its formulation in 2016, taking into account the outcomes of the G20 Osaka Summit and the SDG Summit 2019, recommendations made by members of the Roundtable Meeting, and the views of various stakeholders. In accordance with the concept of human security, Japan will continue to contribute to such areas as disaster risk reduction, education, agriculture, and water, in addition to the areas listed below.


While Africa has made remarkable growth in recent years, it has also faced many challenges. Japan has contributed to African development through TICAD since 1993 and hosted TICAD7 in Yokohama in August. Based on TICAD7's outcomes, Japan will continue to strengthen its relations with Africa and to resolutely support African-led development through initiatives that leverage Japan's advantages and its unique characteristics.

(Global Health)

Health is critically essential for the embodiment of human security, which is a concept of protecting individuals and unleashing their potential. In cooperation with other countries and international organizations, Japan has made significant achievements in overcoming challenges such as infectious diseases, maternal and child health, and nutrition. At the G20 Osaka Summit in June, the leaders discussed topics including the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which ensures the provision of primary health services to all people throughout their lives. The G20 also held its first Joint Session of Finance and Health Ministers. In addition, on the occasion of TICAD7 in August and the High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on UHC in September, Prime Minister Abe reiterated the importance of promoting a cross-sectoral approach encompassing nutrition, water, and sanitation, and of strengthening health financing (see the Special Feature on page 255).


In recent years, addressing marine plastic litter has become an increasingly important issue of urgency. At the G20 Osaka Summit in June, Prime Minister Abe shared with the G20 leaders the “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision,” which aims to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050 (see the Special Feature on page 257).

(Climate Change)

At the 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in 2018, the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement were adopted. Regarding negotiations on the implementation guidelines for market mechanisms, however, an agreement was not reached even at COP25 in 2019, and the guidelines are still under review. In Japan, “The Long-term Strategy under the Paris Agreement” was approved by the Cabinet in June 2019, which was later submitted to the UN. At the G20 Osaka Summit held in June, the G20 as a whole agreed on the importance of the concept of the virtuous cycle of environment and growth.

(Utilizing Science and Technology for Diplomacy)

Science and technology constitute the foundational elements of peace and prosperity. By harnessing its own advanced science and technology, Japan promotes Science and Technology Diplomacy, thereby contributing to the development of science and technology at home and abroad, the promotion of relations with other countries, the peace and stability of the international community, and the resolution of global challenges.

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

A Strategic Communications

Winning public understanding and support for Japan's policy and initiatives both at home and abroad is indispensable for the implementation of Japan's foreign policy. MOFA conducts strategic communications based on a three-pillar approach: (1) making further efforts to disseminate Japan's policies and initiatives, including an accurate image of Japan; (2) sharing Japan's rich and varied attractiveness; and (3) expanding the circle of people with a great affinity toward or knowledge of Japan.

Specifically, MOFA provides information about the details of policies and the role of the Government of Japan through various mediums, such as media outlets, lectures, and publications. MOFA is also engaged in prompt and effective PR activities using the Internet, including social media platforms. Presenting Japan's various attractiveness, such as culture and food, helps increase understanding of Japan in the international community, and is also important in the economic aspect such as tourism and exports. In 2019, large-scale cultural exchange programs were carried out in Southeast Asia and the U.S. In regard to communicating the attractiveness of Japan's regions, MOFA is working not only to promote such attractiveness from the regions to the world but also to attract tourists and inward investment from the world to the regions.

B Strengthening the Foreign Policy Implementation Structure

As diplomatic issues become more complex and diverse, MOFA must enhance its foreign policy implementation structure in order to achieve steady outcomes by pursuing “diplomacy with a sense of caring and robustness” to further advance “diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map.” While continuing its streamlining efforts, MOFA will further expand its foreign policy implementation structure through strategically reinforcing its overseas missions and personnel.