Diplomatic Bluebook 2022

Chapter 2

Japan's Foreign Policy by Region

Section 1 Promotion of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)”

1 Overview

The Indo-Pacific region, which stretches from the Asia-Pacific across the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and Africa, is the core of the world's vitality and supports more than half of the world's population. At the same time, the region is home to several countries with strong military capabilities, and there have been some acts that undermine the stable order based on the rule of law. The region also faces a variety of threats, such as piracy, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, natural disasters and illegal fishing. 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.

Japan has long emphasized the importance of taking a holistic view of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, as seen in the “Confluence of the Two Seas” speech regarding the Indian and Pacific Oceans delivered by Prime Minister Abe to the Indian Parliament in 2007. In August 2016, this concept was brought to fruition as the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” vision, which Prime Minister Abe announced to the world in his keynote speech at the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Kenya. In his speech, Prime Minister Abe stated that the key to stability and prosperity of the international community is the dynamism created by combining “Two Continents”─rapidly-growing Asia and potential-filled Africa─and “Two Oceans”─free and open Pacific and Indian Oceans─and that Japan would work to realize prosperity in Asia and Africa.

Japan has strategically promoted efforts to realize FOIP in cooperation with like-minded countries from 2016 to the present. As a result, the vision of FOIP first proposed by Japan is now shared by the U.S., Australia, India, ASEAN, EU and other European countries, and has gained broad support in the international community. Various consultations and cooperation are also under way. Various policy documents on the Indo-Pacific have been released, such as the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) adopted at the ASEAN Summit in June 2019, the Council Conclusions on an EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific released by the EU in April 2021 and the Joint Communication on the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific presented by the EU in September 2021. The vision is becoming increasingly important to the post-COVID-19 world, and Japan will continue to pursue wider coordination for its realization.