"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Policy Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi

[Place] Nippon Kisha Club
[Date] March 18, 2002
[Source] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since I assumed the post of Minister for Foreign Affairs on 1 February, I have attached my highest priority, through reform of the Ministry, upon restoring the faith of the people in diplomacy. On 12 February I announced Ten Reform Principles to Ensure an Open Foreign Ministry. I held the first meeting of the "Reform Advisory Board" on 6 February, in order to provide a forum for discussions on concrete reform measures to be implemented based on those ten reforms. Valuable and honest opinions were expressed by the members of this Board. I am determined to carry out reform of the Ministry, listening to diverse opinions from various fora, including the "Reform Advisory Board."

There will be no change whatsoever to the importance of the reform of the Foreign Ministry. At the same time, there is no doubt that it is my responsibility as the Minister for Foreign Affairs to address Japan's diplomatic challenges and pursue the interests of our nation. Since I assumed the post of Foreign Minister, I have been considering the challenges faced by our nation's foreign policy, as well as how to address them. Today, I will outline my ideas, focusing on some of the most important points.

"Strong", "Caring", and "Straightforward" Foreign Policy

My aim is for Japan's foreign policy to be "strong," "caring" and "straightforward."

Japan's foreign policy must be strong. My aim is a proactive and action-oriented foreign policy in which, in order to ensure and enhance the security and prosperity of our nation, we say what must be said and do what must be done within the international community.

Japan's foreign policy must be caring. We should not forget those who suffer from poverty and conflicts, and we should deepen our understanding of different cultures and traditions. My aim is a foreign policy that is caring and humane.

Japan's foreign policy must be straightforward. My aim is a foreign policy that is straightforward, easy to understand by the people of Japan and will receive the understanding and support of the people.

Relations With Neighboring Countries

The overall environment surrounding Japan's Foreign Policy is a favorable one. Especially, the firm ties that link Japan with its ally, the United States of America, were reaffirmed last month on the occasion of the visit to Japan by President George W. Bush. For my part, I was able to build a close relationship with Secretary of State Colin Powell as the Foreign Ministers of the two countries. As the first and second most powerful economies in the world, Japan and the United States, which share the basic common values, we are important partners who work together to tackle the various issues which exist in the international community. Furthermore, the presence of the United States in Asia is extremely important for the stability of this region.

It is therefore essential that Japan and the United States continue to speak frankly to each other while continuing to make efforts to further develop our inseparable relationship of cooperation.

It is true that there are concerns in our relation with neighboring countries. In particular, the security and humanitarian issues concerning North Korea are serious concerns and we have to cope with these issues with utmost effort. Apart from these parts, however, it is my recognition that we are making positive progress in the relations with other countries. I will encourage such positive to progress further.

Since Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the Republic of Korea and the People's Republic of China last autumn, Japan's relations with those nations have been along a forward-looking path. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and China, the Year of Japan-Republic of Korea National Exchange, and the Year of Japan-China-Republic of Korea National Exchange in 2002. Furthermore, this year Japan and the Republic of Korea will co-host the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan. Many events are coming up before us. This year will provide the best opportunity to further deepen overseas mutual understanding among the young people who will lead our societies in the future. I would like to ensure the success of these various events in order to further strengthen the future-oriented cooperative relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea and between Japan and China. Through exchanges at all levels, I look forward to recognizing our powerful cooperative relations with the Republic of Korea and China with a view to ensuring the security and prosperity of East Asia.

Japan has built close cooperative relations with the nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which are proceeding with democratization and a transition to market economy. The visit made by Prime Minister Koizumi to five Southeast Asian nations in January was a valuable opportunity to advance those relations even further. The ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to take place at the end of July this year will be a debut for my diplomatic efforts to advance regional cooperation and I intend to steadily follow up on the results achieved through that visit by Prime Minister Koizumi.

Widespread and close cooperative relations are also progressing between Japan and the Russian Federation, which continues to transform itself under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, as well as with the nations of Europe, which is in the ongoing process of enlargement and deepening of integration of the European Union. My first task as Foreign Minister was the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov the day after I took office. Moreover, I have had frequent telephone conversations with Foreign Ministers of the European countries.

Issues Facing the International Community

At the same time, as we look out across the overall international community it is clear that we are faced with two major difficult challenges.

First of all, the peace and stability of the international community now face a grave challenge. The regional conflicts that have broken out all around the world are a serious destabilizing factor for the international community. Ever since the series of terrorists attacks that occurred in the United States on September 11th last year, we have been possessed by the feeling that no matter where we may be in the world, we are threatened by terrorism and we are threatened by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Secondly, there are various issues, which threaten the very existence of humanity such as poverty, refugees, environmental destruction and infectious diseases. These are global themes affecting all of humanity. They are high on the agenda in such inter-governmental fora as the United Nations and the G8. Also, they are inspiring the activities of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and civil society all over the world.

In recent years Japan has underscored the importance of human security, stressing the importance of the need for the international community to tackle the threats to the survival, dignity and livelihood of individual human beings. This perspective is an important element in considering the peace and stability and the prosperity of the overall international community. This perspective has now come to be broadly shared within the international community.

An e-mail message is being transmitted around the world through the Internet. The concept of this e-mail has recently been reproduced as a popular picture book and I am sure that many of you are familiar with it. That e-mail suggests us to imagine what it would be like "If the world were a village of 100 people." Based on that premise, this e-mail suggests that 20 of those 100 people would be "undernourished," while 1 would be "dying of starvation." It also says that 20 would be living "in fear of death by bombardment, armed attack, landmines, or of rape or kidnapping by armed groups". The world is now, indeed, a "small village", as a result of the process of globalization. It is not possible for only a select segment of the residents to continue to live in prosperity. In this age of information and communications technology (IT) and globalization, we have come to cultivate such a sense of caring and an ability to see the world through an objective perspective.

The objective of diplomacy is none other than to ensure the security and prosperity of our nation. To this end, it is essential that we strive to realize the peace and stability and the prosperity of the entire international community. For our nation, which is not rich in natural resources, there is no other way forward but the path of cooperation with the international community. There is absolutely no doubt that ridding the world of regional conflicts and ensuring that the benefits of economic development and globalization are not monopolized by only some countries but are widely shared in all corners of the world including the developing countries, is in line with the national interest of Japan. Challenges such as terrorism and poverty can pose serious obstacles to achieving the peace and stability and prosperity of the international community. For that reason they are also serious obstacles for ensuring the security and prosperity of our own nation.

What then is required of our nation's foreign policy so that we can tackle the serious issues faced by the international community such as conflicts, terrorism and poverty? Clearly, it is required that we be "strong" in firmly standing up against lawlessness and chaos. We must look with "caring" eyes at each and every human being without forgetting to consider the needs of the weaker and vulnerable individuals in the international community. Furthermore, our foreign policy must be "straightforward" so that the people of our nation will be able to pay attention to what we are undertaking and give their understanding and support to those who are involved in pursuing these policies. As Foreign Minister, I intend to tackle the important issues that we face through "strong," "caring" and "straightforward" foreign policies.

Based on the points that I have outlined herein I would like to focus my comments on two points that are currently of particular importance to Japan's foreign policy. The first point is the threats to the peace and stability of the international community. The second point is the issue of development.

Terrorism, Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Conflict

The series of terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States on September 11th last year has made it clear that the terrorist group Al Qaeda based in Afghanistan, a nation plagued with a prolonged civil war, had developed a network of global operations. Furthermore the world witnessed the risks that terrorists may acquire the technologies and material related to weapons of mass destruction. Consequently, those events have awakened an awareness in us that issues such as terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and regional conflicts are no longer belonging to somewhere in another world far apart from our daily life. We, as ordinary citizens, face such real threat no matter where we are in the world, whether it be New York, Tokyo, New Delhi or elsewhere. This sense of crisis has come to be widely shared. Indeed, the incidents on September 11th were a great turning point for the world.

What is important is that faced with such threats, the international community has been united to fight against terrorism. Since then various measures have been taken with a view to cutting off the financial sources of terrorists, preventing them from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, ensuring the security of airplanes and various facilities such as nuclear power plants and striving to ensure that the legal network covers the entire world. As a part of such international efforts, Japan must continue to thoroughly implement the necessary measures such as swiftly conclude the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, which was recently submitted to the Diet. In particular, a central issue is the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, which requires all member states to take comprehensive measures to combat terrorism, including those to suppress the financing of terrorism. Moreover, in order to eradicate international terrorist networks, it is not sufficient only for each nation to undertake domestic efforts. Cooperating with regional frameworks, such as ASEAN, we need to endeavor to widely share among the nations of this region, experience, knowledge and information on measures to counter terrorism and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It is also important to continue practical approaches to cope with problems of landmines and small arms and light weapons, that exacerbate conflicts and instability. Japan is prepared to play a leadership role in this area. The fight against terrorism will be a long and difficult one. We must bear in mind that if we let down our guard and lose our dedication to this cause we may likely pay the price for our negligence.

Efforts are ongoing in Afghanistan toward the creation of a stable nation by the Afghan people with the cooperation of the international community. As the host of the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan in Tokyo, January of this year, and a Co-chair of the Steering Group for Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan, Japan has been playing a leading role in bringing about the reconstruction of that country. Japan further intends to take an active role in addressing the issues of demining and counter-narcotics. At the beginning of this month a Preparatory Mission for Supporting Afghanistan composed primarily of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) staff, visited Afghanistan in order to advance the reconstruction process, thus providing support to the political process toward domestic stability. Furthermore another mission, the Joint Survey Mission on Afghanistan Reconstruction Assistance of the Cabinet Secretariat was in Afghanistan until yesterday. The military operations being carried out primarily by the United States' military forces against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan are continuing with the support of the international community. Japan is continuing to carry out cooperation activities based on the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law.

It is a source of great pride to me that, together with the United States, the nations of Europe as well as with the Islamic nations, Japan is bearing an important part of the coalition aiming for peace and stability in the international community. I believe that one of my important tasks, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, will be to appropriately lead Japanese foreign policy in these kinds of activities.

That is why, with the approval of the Diet, I would like to visit Afghanistan during the national holidays that fall from the end of April into the beginning May. In order for me to be able to best advance our foreign policies there is no better way than for me to visit there to see with my own eyes the local situation, to listen with my own ears those involved on the ground have to say and to be able to feel for myself just what kind of atmosphere pervades there. In addition to meeting with officials of the Interim Administration, I would like to also have an opportunity to speak directly with members of international organizations and NGOs working there.

Furthermore, in implementing reconstruction assistance for Afghanistan, it is also important for Japan to cooperate with neighboring countries such as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran. These nations, closely linked with Afghanistan in terms of geography, history, language, traditions and in other ways, can certainly play a beneficial role in cooperating for capacity building of the government of Afghanistan. Furthermore if the cooperation of neighboring countries can be secured, it will be possible to expand the spectrum of reconstruction assistance, which for the interim is centralized on the capital of Kabul, to include regional elements as well. It is from this perspective as well that, at an appropriate timing, I would like also to visit the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The immediate task at hand is to establish an administration that will be supported by the people of Afghanistan, to ensure stability and public safety throughout the nation and to steadily advance reconstruction. This is no easy challenge. The international community must support the Interim Administration centering on Chairman of the Afghan Interim Administration, H.E. Mr. Hamid Karzai and must combine its knowledge and abilities together with the Interim Administration. Japan intends to play a proactive role in such efforts.

In addition to the fight against terrorism and the situation in Afghanistan, another threat to the peace and stability of the international community is the issue of development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In particular, the case of Iraq is of serious concern for the international community. If, as it claims, Iraq is indeed "innocent," it should unconditionally accept inspections by the United Nations and thereby prove its own "innocence." The international community is united in calling for that to be proven. We must continue to urge the country to resolve such concerns and to engage in effective dialogue, while maintaining international solidarity. For its part, Japan will be proactive in undertaking efforts in this regard.

When we look at those conflicts that plague the international community, the situation in the Palestinian territories, where the vicious cycle of violence persists, is presently a case of foremost concern. It is vital that Japan and the rest of the international community continue to call upon both parties to exercise maximum self-restraint and to return to the path to peace. There are various ideas expressed to achieve a breakthrough in current situation in the Middle East; such as the initiative taken by His Royal Highness Crown Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the United State is increasing its efforts for peace, including dispatching General Zinni as Special Envoy to the region once again. These efforts represent the firm resolve of the international community not to allow the conflicts to develop into destabilizing overall the international community, and Japan also welcomes these efforts.

Such people as Mr. Abu Ala (Ahmad Qrei), Chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), and Foreign Minister Muasher of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan are scheduled to visit Japan. I intend to seize upon these opportunities to conduct frank discussion on what Japan can do to bring both parties closer in order to break the current deadlock and achieve peace. Moreover, I believe that it is important to support those Israelis and the Palestinians who continue to make efforts without losing their hope for peace. Japan will consider the possibilities to host a forum and invite them for candid dialogue.

Development Issues

Allow me to speak next about our second important challenge, that of development. The international discussions on issues such as poverty eradication, environment and infectious diseases lead to those on economic growth in developing countries, in other words, issues of development. Recognizing that liberalization of trade and investment should benefit developing countries to a satisfactory extent, during the recent years, we have seen development issues hold one of the primary positions even in the discussions of the WTO, an international organization which is, first and foremost, a forum on trade issues. In addition, emphasis has been placed more than ever on the significance of development in the context of conflict prevention, while the recognition is growing of the importance of achieving social stability through economic growth. Furthermore, some recent discussions have focused on development from the perspective of measures against the "hotbed of terrorism".

In such an environment, two challenges face the international community. The first of these is the reality that funds for development will not endlessly increase. This fact is not only limited to Japan, where the stringent economic situation led to the reductions in the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget by 10%. Throughout the world, statistics show the flow of development funds to developing countries in the form of ODA, private flow and others, reached a peak in 1996, and has since fallen by about 30% over a period of three years. On the other hand, however, developing countries have been appealing for an increase in development assistance. In this way the gap between supply and demand in development funds has been becoming increasingly serious.

The second challenge is the relationship between development and the environment. In order to ensure that development is sustainable an important challenge is also to ensure conservation of the environment. The issue of the environment is also extremely important from the perspective of human security. According to the e-mail that I mentioned initially, "if the world were a village of 100 people," of those 100 people, 17 would "have no clean and safe water to drink." If we allow the threats to each and every person posed by environmental destruction to go unresolved, then development will be unsustainable. At the same time, in order to advance environmental measures, it is important that the lives of the people be improved through development. I believe that development and the environment are two issues that can co-exist. Indeed, it is imperative that they are advanced together.

This year a number of important international conferences will be held in succession on the subject of development, such as the International Conference on Financing for Development that is going to be held in Monterrey in the United Mexican States this week, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development which will be held in Johannesburg in the Republic of South Africa from the end of August. In addition, it is expected that the G8 Summit to be held in Kananaskis in Canada in June will take up the issue of economic development of developing countries, including Africa. The World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg will be a meeting of great importance with leaders from around the world gathering in the milestone year of the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) (Earth Summit). I would like to ask Prime Minister Koizumi to attend this Summit and, should the opportunity arise for appropriate Minister-level representation, I too would be willing to attend this meeting. I intend to convey clearly Japan's idea at the meeting.

The two challenges I have just outlined will be important points for discussion at these meetings. In such a situation, there are great expectations being placed on Japan as the world's foremost donor nation by developing countries and other donor nations. The issue of development is no less important than terrorism and weapons of mass destruction and is an important challenge for Japanese diplomacy this year. If the peace, stability and prosperity of the international community are hindered because the development issue is not properly addressed, and if global-scale environmental destruction advances, Japan too will lose its own security and prosperity.

What, then, should Japan do to tackle these challenges? Firstly, Japan, through active participation in this series of important international conferences, will ensure that the international community makes no mistake in its response to the issue of development. Through shared responsibility and shared knowledge and experience, Japan intends to call for the sharing of the benefits of economic growth, social stability and environmental conservation on a global scale. When considered from this perspective, self-help efforts by developing countries, education, human resources development and the utilization of wide-ranging resources for development including not only ODA but also investment and trade, are all-important. In addition, I am committed to calling for the necessity of a shift in perception, to focus on development outputs of how much improvements have been made to peoples' livelihoods as a result of development, rather than development inputs, i.e. what volume of assistance and investment have been transmitted from developed countries to developing countries.

From the perspective of coexistence of the environment and development, one of the issues of continuing importance is that of global warming. As I have already pressed to Secretary of State Colin Powell of the United States of America recently, Japan will continue to seek a constructive response from the United States, using all appropriate opportunities provided by the meetings I have mentioned previously. In addition, I will endeavor towards the formulation of international rules with the participation of developing nations. Based on the situation that Japan is already playing a leading role in this area, I am committed to channeling all energies into seeing that during the current session of the Diet the conclusion of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is approved.

In tackling issues related to development, one of the most important efforts for Japan is to enhance efficiency and transparency of ODA. This is one of the objectives in the Ten Reform Principles to Ensure an Open Foreign Ministry. We must not waste taxpayers' money and use funds inappropriately. In order to make the utmost use of a limited amount of the ODA budget, we must promptly introduce concrete measures for transparent implementation of ODA. To this end I will swiftly implement specific measures such as a new mechanism to increase transparency of ODA, recruitment of external staff as a senior-level official of the Economic Cooperation Bureau, and the introduction of appropriate auditing methods for the implementation of ODA. Concerning ODA reform, for a period of about six months since last year, the 2nd Consultative Committee on ODA Reform has been discussing concrete measures for reform. I intend to promote ODA reform based on a final report of the Committee to be published in the near future.

Finally, I would like to mention measures for Africa, a continent where a number of issues faced by the international community, such as conflict, refugees, poverty, infectious diseases and environmental issues, are concentrated. Africa is a region above all others throughout the world where efforts based on the perspective of human security are necessary.

The countries of Africa, which, in the 1960s and 1970s were on a par with the countries of Asia in their economic growth, are now being left behind in the global development trend. Almost half of all the people living in sub-Saharan Africa today subsist on less than one dollar per day, or in other terms, the cost of one canned soft drink. In one African country, one-third of the adult population is infected with HIV/AIDS. What is more, in Africa, one in five people are adversely affected by conflict and the number of refugees and displaced persons now total more than six million. At the same time, the sub-Saharan region accounts for 20% of total global landmass, and 10% of global population. It is of course natural that these African issues are the main themes for a number of international conferences. As former-Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori stated on the occasion of his visit to sub-Saharan Africa in January last year, the first such visit to the region by a serving Japanese Prime Minister, "there will be no stability and prosperity in the world in the 21st century unless the problems of Africa are resolved."

Japan has led the international community in making steady efforts to shed light on the importance of issues surrounding Africa. After the Cold War, in 1993, with the interest of the international community in Africa on the wane, the Government of Japan convened the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Tokyo. The second such conference (TICAD II) was held in 1998 and progress is steadily being made in preparation for the convening of TICAD III, to be held in the latter half of 2003. In addition, on the occasion of the 2000 G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, Japan, in its capacity as presidency of the G8, established for the first time in the history of the G8, a dialogue with the leaders of developing countries, including the countries of Africa. These results were carried over to the Genoa Summit in 2001, and will be further continued at the Kananaskis Summit this year. On the bilateral level too, Japan as one of the top donors to Africa, along with former colonial powers such as the United Kingdom and France, is providing assistance in earnest to nations in Africa.

In recent years the move towards ownership in Africa has gained momentum. In July last year, the countries of Africa drafted the first development strategy compiled by their own hands, known as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). In summer this year, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) will be reshaped as the African Union (AU). The African Age is about to begin. It will not do for the interest of the international community to be limited to the fight against terrorism. What is called for is the continued efforts of the international community, including Japan, to provide proactive support for such ownership efforts initiated by Africa.

From now on, I will designate the next one-year or so until the convening of TICAD III as the "Year for Soaring Cooperation with Africa," and will take specific measures that will move to further enhance Japan's policies toward Africa. Above all, what I would like to first do is visit the countries of Africa in the near future. For example, if I am able to attend the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa at the end of August, I would take this opportunity to visit other countries in Africa and engage in a frank exchange of opinions not only with government officials from each country, but also with Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) and NGO representatives who are working in the field in Africa. In addition, I will make every effort, on timely and appropriate occasions such as town meetings, to deepen the understanding of the people of Japan concerning the issues facing Africa and the appeal and potential of that continent.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would now like to come back again to the e-mail I referred to at the opening. If the world were a "village of 100 people", Japan, would perhaps be one of "the richest eight" referred to in the e-mail, which previously enjoyed lavish consumption and is now beginning to tighten its belt. While it may be the case that in Japan, we are currently experiencing life that is more rigorous than that of ten years ago, the reality is that in the "village of 100 people" we are still the envy of many people. In our "village", what is important is to see that all "houses" ring with laughter, that every child each "house" is brought up healthily, that the "village" itself is surrounded by greenery and that the security of all the people of the "village" can be secured. These things will further assure the happiness of this one of the "richest eight" in the "village".

For the good of "my family" that is Japan, and also for the good of "the village as a whole" where Japan finds itself, I am committed to do my utmost to carry out "strong", "caring", and "straightforward" policies. In such efforts it is vital that I receive the guidance and cooperation of you all.

Thank you for your kind attention.