Friday, February 21, 2014

Japanese FM Kushida: A New Role for Japan

Fumio Kushida, Japanese Foreign Minister, delivered his foreign policy speech to the Japanese legislature outlining foreign policy last month for 2014. In the post World War II decades, Japan has balanced maintenance of national security with a commitment to anti-military and anti-war policies. In light of a weakening U.S role as the “world police” and increased tensions with neighbors China and North Korea, Japan is seeking greater cooperation with both the United States and her neighbors. As the region grows more volatile, Japan is forced to pursue a proactive foreign policy striving for regional peace through strengthened alliances, economic cooperation, and strong reliance on intergovernmental organizations. 

Expectations of the international community toward Japan have positively grown in the past year. Over the course of visiting countries around the world as Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have strongly sensed the steady spread of international support for Japan’s stance of upholding not only freedom, democracy, and basic human rights but also the rule of law and of earnestly endeavoring for peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region as well as worldwide, including the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean .

Meanwhile, the security environment surrounding Japan has become increasingly severe. This year, I will continue to strongly promote our foreign policy, which is centered on the three pillars of strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance, deepening our cooperative relations with neighboring countries, and strengthening economic diplomacy as a means to promoting the revitalization of the Japanese economy. In so doing, I will do my utmost to further Japan’s national interests. I will also redouble my efforts to promote the interests of the world as a whole by contributing to global issues.

In 2015, we will be marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, which Japan has consistently upheld in the postwar decades, have become deeply ingrained among the Japanese people and have come to form the bedrock of the nation. Although recognition of history has been a subject of debate with neighboring countries, the Japanese Government’s recognition of history remains unchanged. Japan will firmly stay its path as a peace-loving nation. I intend to continue providing explanations of this basic position to our neighbors thoroughly and sincerely…

Over the past year, as we engaged in diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map, we have worked to strengthen our relations with countries of ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Russia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Africa. Given the increasingly severe security environment in the Asia-Pacific region, the importance of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, the linchpin of Japan’s diplomacy, is further growing. Since the inauguration of the Abe Administration, we have made tangible achievements through frequent mutual VIP visits between Japan and the United States. As the first pillar of Japan’s foreign policy, we will continue to strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance in all areas.

In the area of national security, in accordance with the outcome of the meeting of the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (SCC) convened last year, Japan will firmly promote cooperation in security and defense including through the revising the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation and further strengthen the deterrence. We will proceed with the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and make our greatest efforts to reduce the impact on Okinawa with the policy of “doing everything we can…”

The second pillar of Japan’s foreign policy consists of deepening its cooperative relations with neighboring countries.

For over 40 years since the normalization of diplomatic relations, Japan and China have endeavored to strengthen ties as neighbors in all areas. China’s peaceful development is beneficial to, and an opportunity for, Japan. Its relations with China constitute one of Japan’s most important bilateral relations, and the two countries share responsibilities for peace and stability in the region and in the international community. For the benefit of both countries and of the region, we will work to improve bilateral relations by reaffirming the basic principles of “Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests”. Meanwhile, Japan continues to call for transparency in China’s military buildup, as well as continues to deal firmly but in a calm manner with China’s attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo by coercive measures, such as Chinese government vessels intruding into Japanese territorial waters off the coast of the Senkaku Islands and its establishment of the “East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone,” with determination to defend resolutely Japan’s territorial land, sea, and airspace.

Strengthening ties with the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan’s most important neighbor, is essential to the shared interest of ensuring peace and prosperity in the region and it is a priority for the Abe Administration. Japan will continue to deepen communication with the ROK at various levels. Japan will deal with problems calmly, and make steady efforts toward building a future-oriented and multilayered cooperative relationship for the 50th anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and the ROK in 2015, from a broader perspective, respecting one another. Japan will also further strengthen its economic ties with the ROK through such measures as promotion of bilateral trade and investment and cooperation between Japanese and the ROK’s companies in third countries. On Takeshima, which is an inherent part of the territory of Japan, Japan will continue to make steady efforts by clearly conveying it’s position…

Japan will actively take part in developing and implementing international economic rules in such frameworks as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the G8, and the G20. As it commemorates 50th Anniversary as a Member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) this year, Japan will fulfill its role as the Chair of the Ministerial Council Meeting…
Japan’s postwar path as a peace-loving nation has won genuine appreciation and respect in the international community. While firmly upholding this path, Japan will spare no effort in making unique contributions toward the realization of a peaceful and prosperous world as a “Proactive Contributor to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation. I am confident that doing so will further deepen understanding of Japan’s position and further solidify the international community’s trust in Japan. I will continue to focus my energies on pursuing policies aimed at protecting Japan and realizing peace and prosperity in the world.

Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, “Foreign Policy Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida to the 186th Session of the Diet,” The National Diet, Tokyo, Japan, January 24, 2014..

--Michael Greenberger

No comments:

Post a Comment