Diplomatic Bluebook 2022
Overview of the International Situation and Outlook for Japan's Diplomacy
2 Outlook for Japan's Diplomacy
As the international community faces era-defining changes and challenges, Japan must advance diplomacy toward realizing its own goals while cooperating with various countries and regions.
Japan has consistently followed the path of a peace-loving nation since the end of World War II, contributing to the peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and the international community. In addition to providing development cooperation to developing countries based on the principle of human security, Japan has addressed global issues, including the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by leading international rule-making and supporting capacity building in developing countries. Japan has also contributed to disarmament, non-proliferation, and international peacebuilding efforts. The “trust” that Japan has earned from the rest of the world through these efforts is the basis supporting Japan's diplomacy today.
Russia's recent aggression against Ukraine threatens the very foundation of the international order that the international community has built up over a long period of hard work and much sacrifice. Depending on how the situation unfolds, the world and Japan may face the greatest crisis of the post-war era. Unilateral changes of the status quo by force, such as this one, must not be tolerated in any region. The choices and actions of the international community, including Japan, will determine the future course of the international order.
The Kishida Cabinet, in its Basic Policy, states that on the basis of this “trust,” Japan will promote diplomacy and security with: the determination to fully defend universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law; the determination to fully defend Japan's territory, territorial waters and airspace, and lives and assets of its citizens; and the determination to contribute to humanity and lead the international community by addressing global issues such as nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and climate change. With these “three determinations,” Japan will open up a new frontier of its diplomacy with a balanced and stable posture and with a high level of responsiveness in the increasingly severe and complex international situation. Japan will strengthen its solidarity with partners who share universal values and lead the international community's efforts to oppose unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force.
(1) Responding to the Increasingly Severe Security Environment
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 is becoming increasingly severe and uncertain, the Japan-U.S. Alliance is more important than ever.
From the Biden administration's inauguration in January 2021 through the end of February 2022, Japan and the U.S. have continued to coordinate policies frequently at a high level, holding eight summit meetings (including three telephone calls and one teleconference meeting), 15 foreign ministers' meetings (including nine telephone calls), and two “2+2” meetings (including one online meeting). The Japan-U.S. Alliance is stronger than ever. While further strengthening the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, Japan will closely cooperate and collaborate on issues such as ensuring peace and security for Japan, realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)”, and responding to COVID-19 and climate change based on the strong relationships of trust between the two countries.
Against this backdrop, in regard to the realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan, including the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma to Henoko, Japan and the U.S. will continue to closely coordinate in order to mitigate the impact on local communities including Okinawa, while maintaining the deterrence of the U.S. Forces in Japan.
In addition, in order to respond to the severe security environment surrounding Japan, it is also necessary to fundamentally reinforce Japan's own defense capabilities. It is thus important to revise the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Program Guidelines, and the Medium Term Defense Program.
(2) Promoting the Vision of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)”
The Indo-Pacific region is not only the core of the world's vitality which supports more than half of the world's population, but is also a region which has seen complex power dynamics of countries and has experienced drastic shifts in the regional power balance. It is essential to ensure peace and prosperity in the entire region and beyond, through establishing a free and open order based on the rule of law.
From this perspective, Japan has been strategically promoting efforts to realize FOIP based on the rule of law, in cooperation with like-minded counties. This vision is now shared by the U.S., Australia, India, ASEAN, the EU and European countries, and is gaining broad support in the international community, with various consultations and cooperation under way. The significance and importance of this vision are further increasing in the transition to the post-COVID-19 era. Japan will seize opportunities for various bilateral and multilateral dialogues, including the Japan-Australia-India-U.S. (Quad) dialogue, to further promote initiatives toward realizing the vision.
(3) Relations with Neighboring Countries and Others
In order to ensure peace and prosperity for Japan, it is important to build stable relations with neighboring countries.
There are various issues of concern between Japan and China, as they are neighboring countries. Any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea, including the waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands, are absolutely unacceptable, and Japan will continue to take a calm and resolute approach to the situation.
At the same time, Japan-China relations are important not only for the two countries but also for the peace and prosperity of the region and the international community. Japan will firmly maintain and assert its position and strongly request that China take responsible actions, while at the same time cooperate on matters of common interest. It is important that both China and Japan make efforts to build such constructive and stable relations.
(Republic of Korea)
The Republic of Korea (ROK) is an important neighboring country, and Japan-ROK and Japan-U.S.-ROK coordination, including in dealing with North Korea, are indispensable for the stability of the region. Japan-ROK relations are in an extremely difficult situation due to the issues of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula (CWKs) and comfort women among others. However, the situation should not be left as it is. To abide by promises made between two countries is the foundation of bilateral relations. Based on Japan's principled positions, the Government of Japan will continue to strongly urge the ROK to take appropriate actions to restore sound Japan-ROK relations. Takeshima is an inherent territory of Japan both in light of historical facts and based on international law. Japan will deal with the issue in a resolute manner based on this consistent position.
Russia's aggression against Ukraine in February 2022 constitutes a challenge to the fundamental principles of the international community that unilateral change of the status quo by force is unacceptable, and threatens the post-Cold War world order. Japan will unite with the international community, including the G7, to demand that Russia withdraw its troops and cease all acts in violation of international law. Japan will also make clear that Russia's series of actions come at a high price through the implementation of sanctions in cooperation with various countries.
The greatest concern between Japan and Russia is the Northern Territories issue. It is yet to be resolved even after more than 75 years have passed since the end of World War II. There is no change to Japan's position on the Northern Territories issue and to its intention to meet the wishes of the elderly former residents of the islands. However, under the current circumstances of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, now is not a moment Japan can talk about the prospects for negotiations on a peace treaty. Japan strongly urges Russia to take the condemnation of the international community seriously, withdraw its troops immediately, and comply with international law.
(Addressing Outstanding Issues of Concern Regarding North Korea)
In regard to Japan-North Korea relations, the Government of Japan has been 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. Japan will continue to fully implement relevant UNSC resolutions and aim for the complete denuclearization of North Korea, coordinating closely with the U.S. and the ROK, and cooperating with the international community.
Abductions by North Korea is a critical issue concerning the sovereignty of Japan and the lives and safety of Japanese citizens, and at the same time, it is a universal issue of 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 of all abductees at the earliest possible date while working closely with relevant countries, including the U.S.
(4) Regional Diplomacy Issues
For the stability and prosperity of the entire region, it is important for Japan to strengthen relations with ASEAN, which is located at the center of the Indo-Pacific region and is the key to the realization of FOIP. In 2023, which marks the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, Japan will promote concrete cooperation that contributes to the realization of FOIP and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), which share fundamental principles, in order to elevate the ASEAN-Japan relations to a new level. In regard to the situation in Myanmar, Japan will work toward breaking the deadlock in collaboration with the international community.
In regard to Southwest Asian countries, 2022 marks the Japan-Southwest Asia Exchange Year. In this milestone year, Japan will further deepen exchanges with the countries in the region, which are important partners in realizing FOIP, through mutual dignitaries visits and various public and private sector events.
International relations in the Middle East have greatly changed in recent years, and peace and stability in the region have become increasingly important for the peace and prosperity of the international community. Furthermore, as Japan depends on the region for about 90% of its crude oil imports, it is extremely important to work toward the stability of the Middle East region, which is a major source of energy supply for the world, and to ensure the safety of navigation. Japan will continue to contribute through various diplomatic efforts to ease tensions and stabilize the situation in the Middle East, utilizing its strong alliance relations with the U.S. as well as its traditionally friendly relations with various Middle Eastern countries. In regard to the situation in Afghanistan, Japan will continue its efforts for the stabilization of Afghanistan and neighboring countries by extending humanitarian assistance and engaging with the Taliban, in close cooperation with relevant countries.
While Africa has made remarkable growth in recent years, it has also been facing many challenges. Japan has been contributing to African development for many years through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), which has a history of over a quarter of a century. As COVID-19 has had tremendous socio-economic impacts in Africa, international cooperation is more important than ever. Through the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) to be held in 2022, Japan will strongly support African-led development and will set out a pathway for African development looking ahead to the post-COVID-19 era.
Latin American and Caribbean countries, which share universal values and have a strong presence in the international arena, are important partners of Japan. Japan will cooperate with these countries to maintain and strengthen the free and open international order. Japan will also work to extensively fortify relations, taking into account their economic importance, including their abundant mineral and food resources, while cooperating with the Nikkei (Japanese immigrants and their descendants) community.
Moreover, as 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Central Asian and Caucasus countries, which aim for free, open, and sustainable development, Japan will further strengthen relations with these countries as a partner for maintaining and reinforcing the rules-based international order.
(5) Expansion of the Free and Fair Economic Order
As COVID-19 continues to cause stagnation and uncertainty in the global economy, the global economy faces challenges in domains that cut across economics and security, including the further expansion of protectionism, as well as the emergence of innovative civilian technologies that could be converted to military use, and the increase in moves to leverage economic dependency from the perspective of achieving a country's own strategic interests. Against this backdrop, Japan, as a standard-bearer for free trade, continues to lead international efforts to expand the free and fair economic order. At the same time, in a manner that complements such efforts, the Government of Japan as a whole is working on various issues of economic security. In accordance with international law, Japan will actively contribute to strengthening cooperation with its ally and like-minded countries and forming norms to address new challenges.
Japan has been working to maintain and strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system in response to protectionist trends around the world. In regard to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), it has become even more important to maintain its high standards as China, Taiwan, and Ecuador submitted formal accession requests following the United Kingdom. In addition, Japan will work to ensure full implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, which entered into force in January 2022. Furthermore, Japan will lead reform efforts at the WTO, the cornerstone of the multilateral trading system, and strengthen initiatives in APEC and the OECD.
Japan will also continue to work actively to secure stable supplies of energy and mineral resources and to support the overseas expansion of Japanese companies. In regard to import restrictions on Japanese food products, many countries and regions have moved to ease or eliminate restrictions, and the U.S. completely lifted restrictions in September. The Government of Japan as a whole will work as one to achieve the full elimination of import restrictions in countries and regions around the world as soon as possible. The Government will also continue its strong efforts toward the success of the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan.
In the post-COVID-19 era, the realization of “Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT)” is crucial for harnessing the increasingly important digital sector. Japan will continue to play a central role in international rule-making, including WTO e-commerce negotiations, in cooperation with relevant countries and organizations such as the OECD. In addition, amidst the growing threats in cyberspace, Japan will work to promote effective measures against cybercrime and reinforcement of the rule of law in cyberspace.
In regard to outer space, in cooperation with the U.S. and like-minded countries, Japan will promote international rule-making and cooperation to ensure sustainable and stable use of outer space.
(6) Addressing Global issues
No one country alone can address global issues, such as global health, the environment and climate change, disarmament and non-proliferation, human rights, peacebuilding, marine plastic litter, conserving biodiversity, refugees and displaced persons, counter-terrorism, and gender equality, and the international community needs to mount a united response. Japan will continue to advance 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. Japan will also accelerate initiatives for achieving the SDGs and realizing FOIP. As part of this, Japan promotes implementing the “G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment.”
Health is an essential factor to embody the concept of human security, which aims at protecting individuals and unleashing their potential. Japan has been promoting universal health coverage (UHC) with the principle of “leaving no one's health behind.” In December, Japan hosted the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2021 and succeeded in indicating a direction for the international community to improve nutrition. Toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan will continue to work to help ensure equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics, including in developing countries, while also working to strengthen international preparedness and response to future pandemics and helping achieve more resilient, more equitable, and more sustainable UHC.
Addressing climate change is increasingly important as an engine for recovering from the COVID-19 crisis and for creating a new era of growth. Prime Minister Kishida attended COP26, which was held in the UK from October 31, and called on all parties to take ambitious measures against climate change by setting the period until 2030 as the “critical decade.” Based on the outcomes of the COP26 negotiations, Japan will continue to strongly promote efforts to achieve net-zero by 2050 and lead the international community toward the realization of a decarbonized society through the steadfast implementation of the Paris Agreement.
(Disarmament and Non-Proliferation)
As the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings in war, Japan has the responsibility to lead the international efforts to realize a world without nuclear weapons. Japan continues to pursue bridge building between countries with different views, and carries out realistic and practical measures, while taking into account Japan's security. Japan places importance on maintaining and strengthening the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which is the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Japan will make active contributions to international discussions to achieve a meaningful outcome at the 10th NPT Review Conference. Furthermore, 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.
There is growing international concern about the human rights situations in various parts of the world. The protection and promotion of human rights provide the foundation for peace and stability in the international community. The protection of human rights, as a universal value, is a basic responsibility of all countries, regardless of the methods of achieving this goal or political systems. Japan has been firmly speaking out against serious human rights violations, and at the same time, has urged countries that are making efforts to address them through dialogue and cooperation. While leveraging its own contributions, Japan will promote its unique human rights diplomacy based on the current international situation.
(Strengthening Cooperation with the UN and International Organizations / UN Security Council Reform)
Japan has played a key role in maintaining international peace and security, making contributions through UN Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) and serving as a non-permanent member of the UNSC 11 times, the most among the UN Member States. Now, after over 75 years since the establishment of the UN, it is an urgent issue to make the UN body, including the UNSC, more efficient and effective, and suitable for the 21st century. Japan will make efforts to start concrete negotiations in order to realize UNSC reform. In particular, Russia's aggression against Ukraine in February 2022 clearly shows that the UNSC cannot adequately fulfill the functions expected by the international community today. In addition, Japan is seeking to be elected in the UNSC non-permanent membership election in 2022. Furthermore, Japan has been making policy contributions, assessed and voluntary financial contributions, as well as personnel contributions in a broad sense for the UN and other international organizations to tackle a variety of issues. Japan will make efforts to encourage the employment of more Japanese staff and their appointment to executive posts at international organizations.
(7) Strengthening of Comprehensive Diplomatic Capacity
In order to conduct diplomacy with a balanced and stable posture with a high level of responsiveness in the key foreign policy areas described above, it is also important to shore up foreign policy implementation structure, including staffing, financial bases, and the promotion of digital transformation (DX). In addition, as the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic persists, Japan will also continue to make every possible effort to ensure the implementation of border measures and the safety of Japanese nationals overseas. At the same time, in order to obtain the international community's understanding on and support for Japan's policies, initiatives and positions, Japan will vigorously implement strategic communications, strive to expand the circle of people with a great affinity toward or knowledge of Japan and to strengthen cooperation with the Nikkei community.