Diplomatic Bluebook 2022
Japan's Foreign Policy by Region
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 Scott Morrison replaced Prime Minister Malcolm 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 TPP11 Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement. Australia is the fifth largest trading partner for Japan, and Japan is the third 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 seventh anniversary of its effectuation, the TPP11 Agreement that entered into force at the end of 2018, and the RCEP Agreement that entered into force in January 2022.
At the June Japan-Australia Summit Meeting between Prime Minister Suga and Prime Minister Morrison, the two leaders affirmed their intention to steadily enhance security cooperation between their countries, and to raise bilateral relations to a higher level. The two leaders also welcomed the announcement of the “Japan-Australia Partnership on Decarbonisation through Technology” including supporting energy transitions in Asia and other regions, and affirmed the importance of enhancing bilateral economic relations together in the public and private sectors. Immediately after Prime Minister Kishida assumed the office of Prime Minister, at the October Japan-Australia Leaders Video Teleconference Meeting, the two leaders confirmed that they would further strengthen the Japan-Australia “Special Strategic Partnership” and continue to work together toward the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).” Regarding bilateral relations, the two leaders affirmed that they would further (1) deepen the cooperation in security and defense and economy areas, (2) strengthen cooperation with allies and like-minded countries, including through Japan-Australia-India-U.S. cooperation, in order to contribute to the peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, and (3) cooperate on global issues including climate change.
At the Japan-Australia Leaders Video Teleconference Meeting in January 2022, the two leaders welcomed the signing of the Japan-Australia Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA). Prime Minister Kishida showed his recognition that security and defense cooperation between Japan and Australia continue to be a model case for Japan to strengthen security and defense cooperation with other countries. The two leaders exchanged opinions on security and defense cooperation, regional affairs, working together with allies and like-minded countries, disarmament/non-proliferation, and the economy, and they shared the view that Japan and Australia will further strengthen bilateral relations and embody their commitment toward the realization of a FOIP.
Between foreign ministers, in May, Foreign Minister Motegi held a Japan-Australia Foreign Ministers' Meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Payne. Minister Motegi shared the view that the range of cooperation between Japan and Australia has been steadily expanding, as shown by the development of security and defense cooperation, as well as cooperation on clean energy including hydrogen in the economic field. The two Ministers confirmed that they will continue to develop bilateral relations. Additionally, at the Japan-Australia Foreign Ministers' Video Teleconference Meeting in November and at the Meeting of G7 Foreign and Development Ministers in December, Foreign Minister Hayashi and Minister for Foreign Affairs Payne agreed to elevate the “Special Strategic Partnership” between Japan and Australia to a higher level and to work through close communication toward the realization of a FOIP.
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.
In June, the Ninth Japan-Australia Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations (“2+2”) were held. The Ministers shared their strategic recognition considering regional security challenges, and confirmed the importance of elevating security and defence cooperation between Japan and Australia to a new level so as to contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific and beyond, thereby realizing a FOIP. In January 2022, the Japan-Australia RAA was signed at the Japan-Australia Leaders Video Teleconference Meeting. The Agreement establishes the procedures and the status of the forces of either Japan or Australia when they visit the other country to engage in cooperative activities, and will facilitate the implementation of cooperative activities between the forces of the two countries, will further promote security and defense cooperation between the two countries, and will enable both Japan and Australia to further contribute to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region. The Australia-Japan Leaders' Meeting Joint Statement issued at the meeting states that cooperation between Japan and Australia in the field of economic security will also be strengthened. In addition, both Japan and Australia are U.S. allies, and will work to further strengthen Japan-U.S.-Australia cooperation.
C Economic Relations
As shown by Japan and Australia spearheading the TPP11 Agreement, which entered into force in December 2018, the two countries are working closely and demonstrating leadership in promoting the regional free trade order, including the RCEP Agreement. Mainly industrial products such as automobiles are being exported from Japan to Australia, while mainly energy resources such as coal and natural gas, and agricultural products such as beef are being imported into Japan from Australia, in mutually complementary economic relations that have been developed steadily over the years. In recent years new cooperation efforts have been progressing, such as hydrogen-related efforts. Since the spread of COVID-19, with the movement of goods, funds and people between Japan and Australia stagnating, the two countries are discussing ways to develop economic relations in a way that is compatible with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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. Until travel restrictions were enforced due to the spread of COVID-19, a variety of initiatives had been implemented in order to strengthen the foundation of Japan-Australia relations, including the promotion of mutual understanding through JENESYS, an exchange program to promote understanding of Japan that includes young people, and the “New Colombo Plan” as well as the Young Political Leaders Exchange. Both Japan and Australia will continue to work on the appropriate and steady operation of the Japan-Australia Working Holiday Program.
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. Australia deployed the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS BALLARAT in mid-May and the frigate HMAS WARRAMUNGA in late October to undertake monitoring and surveillance activities in the adjacent ocean areas around Japan. By doing so, for the fifth and sixth times since 2018, Australia has engaged in monitoring and surveillance activities against illicit maritime activities, including ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean flagged vessels, which are prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. In addition, from early to late March and from mid-August to mid-September, Australia engaged in monitoring and surveillance activities for the eighth and ninth time since 2018 by aircraft, using Kadena Air Base.
(2) New Zealand
A Brief Summary
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. In the general election in October 2020, the ruling Labour Party, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, signed a cooperation agreement (non-Cabinet participation cooperation agreement) with the Greens, and a new administration was inaugurated.
B High-Level Discussions
Amidst the global spread of COVID-19, Japan and New Zealand have been closely exchanging opinions on COVID-19 responses, Japan-New Zealand cooperation in Pacific Island countries, and the regional situation. At the 41st Japan-New Zealand Foreign Ministry Consultations in September, the two sides discussed various matters such as cooperation in the COVID-19 response and bilateral relations including strengthening security cooperation as well as global cooperation around the Indo-Pacific region. The two countries reaffirmed that they will cooperate more closely in support of a FOIP.
C Economic Relations
The two countries enjoy complementary economic relations 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 including the RCEP Agreement and WTO reforms. In 2021, private companies in both countries began full-scale hydrogen production projects that use renewable energy. 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 has been implemented since 2014, and the “New Zealand Hokkaido Sheep Collaboration Project” was additionally launched in 2018 with the aim of vitalizing the sheep industry in Hokkaido.
D Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges
People-to-people exchanges between Japan and New Zealand, such as for youths, take place through exchange programs like JENESYS, and a cumulative total of 1,100 people had participated by 2019. By 2021, more than 3,300 people have also participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, which invites foreign youth (on average approximately 100 people annually), and active exchanges are continuing. Additionally, the 44 sister city relations that have been cultivated between Japan and New Zealand over many years are fertile ground for people-to-people exchanges, and networking between sister cities is making progress with the aim of promoting mutual understanding among youth. During the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, New Zealand sent its largest-ever delegation, of more than 210 Olympic athletes, to Japan, and they interacted with local Japanese governments.
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 with North Korean-flagged vessels, which are prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions, between late April and late May and in November, New Zealand engaged in monitoring and surveillance activities for the fourth and fifth times since 2018 by aircraft, using Kadena Air Base. Furthermore, Japan and New Zealand have collaborated in regional cooperation frameworks such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (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
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 FOIP, as they are located at the heart of the Pacific Ocean. As one of Japan's important policies in diplomacy with Pacific Island countries, Japan has been holding the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) once every three years since 1997. In June 2021, the seventh 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 Kihara Minoru and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Izumi Hiroto. In addition to discussing specific measures for strengthening policies toward Pacific Island countries, it was confirmed that, in preparation for PALM9, further discussions would be held in order for relevant ministries and agencies to continue to cooperate and to promote “All Japan” efforts. Afterwards, at PALM9 in July, Prime Minister Suga held bilateral leaders' video teleconference meetings with the leaders of 13 island countries. Amidst the continuing impacts of COVID-19, Japan has utilized a variety of opportunities to further strengthen relations with Pacific Island countries, including through the provision of vaccines and cold chain development.
Additionally, in response to the volcanic eruption in Tonga and the tsunami in January 2022, Japan Disaster Relief teams (Self-Defense Forces) promptly provided emergency relief supplies, and Japan provided emergency grant aid.
B Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM)
In July 2021, PALM9 was held via video conference with Prime Minister Suga and Prime Minister Natano of Tuvalu as co-chairs, and the leaders and representatives of 19 countries and regions participated, including Japan, 14 Pacific Island countries, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and French Polynesia. PALM9 discussions centered on the five priority areas for the next three years: (1) COVID-19 Response and Recovery, (2) Sustainable Oceans based on the Rule of Law, (3) Climate Change and Disaster Resilience, (4) Strengthening Foundation for Sustainable and Resilient Economic Development, and (5) People-to-People Exchanges and Human Resource Development. “The Ninth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM9) Leaders Declaration” and annexed documents “Factsheet – Japan's support since the 8th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8)” and “Joint Action Plan for Strengthening Pacific Bonds and for Mutual Prosperity” were adopted as an outcome of the discussions (see the Special Feature on page 86).
On July 2, the Ninth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM9) was held via video-conference. The Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) is a leaders' summit held once every three years since 1997 with the aim of facilitating candid exchanges of views at the summit level on various challenges faced by the Pacific Islands region, in order to contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region. At the same time, it aims to strengthen the partnership between Japan and the Pacific Islands region. To date, eight PALM meetings have been convened. PALM9 was chaired jointly by Prime Minister Suga and Prime Minister Kausea Natano of Tuvalu, and attended by the leaders of 19 countries and regions: Japan, 14 Pacific Island countries (Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu), as well as Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and French Polynesia.
At PALM9, Prime Minister Suga announced Japan's Pacific Bond (KIZUNA) Policy, which aims to further strengthen Japan's cooperation with the Pacific Island countries through an “All Japan” approach, toward the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).” He also announced Japan's intention to engage in people-to-people exchanges and human resource development for more than 5,500 people, alongside steady development cooperation over the next three years. At PALM9, discussions were held on the following priority areas for the next three years: (1) COVID-19 Response and Recovery, (2) Sustainable Oceans based on the Rule of Law, (3) Climate Change and Disaster Resilience, (4) Strengthening Foundation for Sustainable and Resilient Economic Development, and (5) People-to-People Exchanges and Human Resource Development. In particular, with regard to COVID-19 measures, Prime Minister Suga stated that Japan will provide support to the Pacific Island countries in areas such as the development of cold chain equipment, as well as supply vaccines through the COVAX Facility. The Pacific Island countries greatly appreciated the role that PALM has played so far, and expressed their appreciation toward the realization of Japan's commitments set out in PALM8 and its new commitments for the next three years in the five priority areas.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Suga stated that the PALM process was continuously evolving, and that the leaders were able to have concrete, action-oriented discussions at PALM9. In response, the PALM leaders welcomed the further strengthening of the PALM process and shared the view that Japan and the Pacific Island countries would continue to work closely together.
The outcome of the discussions was the adoption of “The Ninth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM9) Leaders Declaration,” and its annexed documents, “Joint Action Plan for Strengthening Pacific Bonds and for Mutual Prosperity” and “Factsheet – Japan's support since the 8th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8).” The Joint Action Plan summarized concrete actions in the five priority areas to be jointly taken by Japan and the Pacific Island countries over the next three years, under “the Pacific Bond (KIZUNA) Policy.”
C Meetings with Dignitaries
At the bilateral leaders' video teleconference meetings held with the leaders of 13 island countries at PALM9, Prime Minister Suga stated that he would like to continue working to realize a FOIP, and also expressed his intention to continue supporting each country in terms of fighting COVID-19, infrastructure development, and improving disaster response capabilities. In response to this, each country expressed its gratitude, including for Japan's support so far, and confirmed that they would promote cooperation in various fields.
In September, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakanishi Satoshi held a meeting with Republic of Palau Ambassador Matsutaro, and both sides expressed their gratitude to each other for their efforts to develop the relations between Japan and Palau.
D Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges
At PALM9, “People-to-People Exchanges and Human Resource Development” were positioned as one of the five priority areas, and Japan announced that it would actively engage in human exchanges and human resource development for more than 5,500 people at various levels and in various fields over the next three years. As part of those efforts, Japan will promote people-to-people exchanges among university 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. Currently renamed the SDGs Global Leader Program, the program accepts young government officials and private human resources from Pacific Island countries to universities and graduate schools in Japan.