Diplomatic Bluebook 2020
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 for foreign policy of the next 10 years, Australia will, among others, promote an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, oppose protectionism, promote and protect international rules, 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 maintaining 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 multi-layered cooperation and collaboration in all areas toward stability and prosperity of the international community. Furthermore, multilateral coordination and partnerships such as the Japan-U.S.-Australia, and Japan-U.S.-Australia-India relations are being steadily strengthened.
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. The two countries are further developing mutually complementary economic relations based on the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which marks the fifth anniversary of its effectuation, and the TPP11 Agreement that entered into force at the end of 2018.
After winning another term in the federal election in May, Prime Minister Morrison made his first visit to Japan in June to attend the G20 Osaka Summit. At the Japan-Australia Summit Meeting held immediately prior to the G20 Summit, the two sides affirmed cooperation aiming for the success of the G20, and shared their views on matters such as continuing to work together to jointly address the issues of terrorism and the Internet in the future, as well as engaging in greater collaboration to achieve a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” A special invitation was extended to Australia to the G7 Biarritz Summit in August, where a Japan-Australia Summit Meeting was held on the opportunity presented by Australia's attendance. There the two leaders deepened their personal relationship of trust, thereby further strengthening relations between Japan and Australia.
The Foreign Ministers held frequent meetings on the margins of various occasions, including the UN General Assembly. Minister for Foreign Affairs Payne visited Japan to attend the G20 Aichi-Nagoya Foreign Ministers' Meeting in November, where a foreign ministers' meeting was held with Foreign Minister Motegi. There, the two Ministers exchanged opinions regarding the situations in Pacific Island countries, North Korea, and the South China Sea, and agreed to continue their close coordination as like-minded nations. Japan is also making advances in strengthening relations with each of the states of Australia, with Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Suzuki visiting Victoria in February. In addition, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Sonoura visited Canberra and New South Wales (Sydney) in August, and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Akiba Kenya visited Victoria (Melbourne) and Western Australia (Perth) in October. Furthermore, the Japan-Australia Parliamentary Friendship League visited Australia for the first time in seven years, visiting Western Australia (Perth). Visits to Japan were made by Premier of Western Australia McGowan in January, Premier of Tasmania Hodgman and Governor of South Australia Le in March, and Premier of Queensland Palaszczuk in May.
In a typical year, forest fire season lasts from September until March in Australia. But the forest fire that broke out in the fall of 2019 was the most massive ever, keeping Prime Minister Morrison fully occupied. For its part, Japan deployed a Disaster Relief Team and Japan Self-Defense Force units between January 15 and February 8, 2020 and provided emergency assistance supplies (masks).
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.
To date, Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations have been held with Australia on eight occasions, where the two sides have held discussions on promoting bilateral security and defense cooperation, in light of the importance of cooperation between the two countries, which have both the intent and ability to actively contribute to regional stability and prosperity. 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 Ninth Japan-U.S.-Australia Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD) was held in August in Bangkok, Thailand, where the three countries welcomed concrete developments of cooperation. Furthermore, the three countries confirmed to continue working even more closely over promoting quality infrastructure investments in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment and through support for the establishment of maritime security functions. In addition, they affirmed that they would continue to work closely with regard to North Korean issues, including the abductions issue.
C Economic Relations
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP11 Agreement), which was spearheaded by Japan and Australia, came into effect in December 2018. The two countries are working closely and demonstrating leadership in promoting the regional free trade order, including the RCEP. 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 to 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 and exchanges of people under the Conference for Promotion of Exchanges between Japan and Australia.
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 400,000 people in Australia learn the Japanese language (the fourth largest group 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, the exchange program including young people, and the “New Colombo Plan”26 as well as the Young Political Leaders Exchange.
In addition, the Rugby World Cup 2019 was hosted in Japan in September, during which many tourists visited Japan from Australia to witness electrifying matches. The start of direct flights between Narita and Perth this same month also contributed to promoting tourism.
- 26 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 early May, Australia deployed the Royal Australian Navy frigate MELBORNE to undertake monitoring and surveillance activities in the adjacent ocean areas around Japan, including the East China Sea. Then in August, aircraft were deployed to engage in monitoring and surveillance activities based in Kadena Air Base against illicit maritime activities, including ship-to-ship transfers by North Korea-flagged vessels, which are prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. In addition, the two countries closely coordinate with regards to the Pacific Island region, which has deep ties to both Southeast Asia and Australia. For the promotion of Japan-U.S.-Australia infrastructure cooperation, joint trilateral missions were dispatched to Papua New Guinea in April and Indonesia in August respectively.
(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, as well as 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 following the first change in government in approximately nine years, places emphasis on Japan-New Zealand relations.
In March, the terrorist shootings occurred at mosques in Christchurch. This subsequently led to the adoption of the G20 Osaka Leaders' Statement on Preventing Exploitation of the Internet for Terrorism and Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism (VECT) in June.
B Mutual VIP Visits
From Japan, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Sonoura visited New Zealand in January and June. During the January visit, he held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Peters, where the two concurred to enhance bilateral relations and promote cooperation in the Pacific Island region. In addition, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Suzuki visited New Zealand in February and attended a memorial service marking the eighth anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake.
From New Zealand, Prime Minister Ardern visited Japan and held a summit meeting in September. There it was agreed that the two countries would take their bilateral relations to the next level and continue cooperating toward the achievement of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Furthermore, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Peters visited Japan and held a foreign ministers' meeting with Foreign Minister Motegi in October. There, the two Ministers agreed to enhance cooperation between the two countries in the Pacific Island region, and released a joint declaration regarding their cooperation in the region. In addition, a special invitation was extended to New Zealand to the G20 Aichi-Nagoya Foreign Ministers' Meeting in November, based on which Minister of Foreign Affairs Peters visited Japan for a second time in 2019.
C Economic Relations
The two countries enjoy a complementary economic relationship and have closely cooperated on the steady implementation of the TPP11 Agreement, which entered into force in December 2018, and the promotion of free trade structures in the region including the RCEP. 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 was implemented from 2014 to 2018. The “New Zealand Hokkaido Sheep Collaboration Project” was launched in 2018, and cooperation over the project has been promoted with the aim of vitalizing the sheep industry in Hokkaido.
D Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges
Approximately 20 university students from New Zealand visited Japan as part of JENESYS2019. More than 1,100 young people from New Zealand have now visited Japan through youth related programs as of 2019.
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 and boating. Under this program, 30 Japanese students were invited to New Zealand in 2019.
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, against illicit maritime activities, including ship-to-ship transfers by North Korea-flagged vessels, which are prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions, New Zealand conducted monitoring and surveillance activities by aircraft based in Kadena Air Base in October. Furthermore, Japan and New Zealand have collaborated in regional cooperation frameworks such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), APEC, and the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM). They are also cooperating over economic development in the Pacific Island region. Through these efforts, the two countries are playing a proactive role for the regional stability and development.
(3) Pacific Island Countries (PICs)
A Brief Summary and Overview
Pacific Island countries and Japan are bound by the Pacific Ocean, have deep historical ties, and are important partners in such areas as cooperation in the international arena and the supply of fishery and mineral resources. They are becoming increasingly important as a cornerstone of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” as they are located at the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Japan has been holding Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (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 its relations with Pacific Island countries through visits at various levels on the occasions of these international conferences, economic cooperation, and active people-to-people exchanges.
B Interagency Committee for the Promotion of Cooperation with Pacific Island Countries
In February 2019, the first meeting of the Interagency Committee for the Promotion of Cooperation with Pacific Island Countries, which is comprised of relevant governmental ministries and agencies, was held under the leadership of Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Sonoura and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Izumi, and concrete measures to strengthen relations with Pacific Island countries were discussed. At the second meeting held in May, a policy direction of strengthening ties with Pacific Island countries was adopted to maintain and promote a regional environment that undergirds a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” such as through ensuring safety and security, resilient and sustainable development, and active people-to-people exchanges.
C Mutual VIP Visits
In August, Foreign Minister Kono visited Fiji, Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands, marking the first visit in 32 years by a Foreign Minister of Japan. In Fiji, he delivered a speech on Japan's policy toward Pacific Island countries. In addition, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Sonoura visited Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands in January; Samoa and Fiji in June; and Palau in August. Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakayama visited Palau in October (for the ceremony of Palau's 25th Independence Day Celebration) as well as Vanuatu and Tonga in December.
In September, Prime Minister Bainimarama of Fiji visited Japan to watch the Rugby World Cup 2019. Prime Minister Tuilaepa of Samoa visited Japan in October, where he held talks with Prime Minister Abe. President Remengesau of Palau visited Japan in January, March, July, October, November, and December, and held summit meetings on two occasions. President Panuelo of Micronesia visited Japan in October and November and had summit meetings with Prime Minister Abe. In addition, numerous governors and heads of state from Pacific Island countries visited Japan for the Ceremony of the Enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor in October.
D Relationship with Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
In August, the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting was held in Tuvalu, and Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Suzuki attended the Post Forum Dialogue as a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister. Japan's policy is to strengthen its commitment to the Pacific Island region, which is important for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” To this end, Japan announced that it will continue to strengthen concerted, nationwide initiatives in the three areas of ensuring safety and security, resilient and sustainable development, and active people-to-people exchanges. During his stay in Tuvalu, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Suzuki held talks with Prime Minister Sopoaga of Tuvalu, and also with the key officials of various Pacific Island countries who attended the Post Forum Dialogue. In addition, he visited Solomon Islands, where he paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sogavare of Solomon Islands.
E Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges
As part of efforts to invigorate and enhance the people-to-people exchanges announced at PALM8 in 2018, people-to-people exchanges were promoted among students through JENESYS. Furthermore, from FY2016 Japan commenced the Pacific Leaders' Educational Assistance for Development of State (Pacific-LEADS) for young government administrators of Pacific Island countries, and it continues to accept administrators from Pacific Island countries.