"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] Statement by Prime Minister Takeshita on the Occasion of the Luncheon Given by the Rt. Hon. the Lord Mayor and the Corporation of London at the Mansion House: Opening a New Era in Japanese-European Relations

[Place] London
[Date] May 4, 1988
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Opening a New Era in Japanese-European Relations

My Lord Mayor,

Your Excellencies,

My Lords, Aldermen, Sheriffs,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am greatly honoured to have been given the opportunity to address such a distinguished audience on my first visit to Europe as Prime Minister, and I would like to thank you, My Lord Mayor, and all those who have so graciously extended their hospitality to me during my visit to the United Kingdom.

I understand that The Mansion House is an edifice of great historical significance, not least because His Majesty The Emperor came here during his visit to the United Kingdom. As I gaze at this imposing and sumptuous interior, I cannot help but be aware that Great Britain is a country of rich history and tradition.

At the same time, however, during my present visit, I am again reminded most forcefully that the United Kingdom is a country of progress and innovation. When I arrived in London yesterday, I had the opportunity to take a brief tour of the city. I heard the loud rhythmic noises of construction in progress. I saw the streets filled with people who seemed to be buoyed up with vitality and confidence; I felt I was witnessing for myself the birth of a "New Britain" in front of my very eyes. In meeting the challenges of a new era, Britain has undertaken efforts towards tax reform and privatisation which have been steadily bearing fruit. I believe those efforts can be an invaluable guide for Japan as it implements its own economic structural adjustments. I would like to express my sincere respect for the efforts made both by the British Government led by Prime Minister Thatcher, and the British people.

I would also like to express my thanks to you for the warm hospitality extended to the many businessmen and other members of the Japanese community in the City of London, the prestige of which as a centre of international finance has been further heightened since the 'Big Bang.'

I must confess, however, that, during my tenure as Finance Minister, which lasted for four years, I was sometimes chagrined at the very existence of the London Financial Market which opens soon after the activities on the Tokyo Market come to a close at the end of the day. Indeed, the unpredictability of the foreign exchange market, with its volatile fluctuations, can never be a good sleeping pill, particularly for one who is responsible for his government's financial and monetary policies.

My Lord Mayor,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In this dynamic era the countries of Western Europe as well as Japan have been rapidly expanding their international roles and responsibilities. In order to make a greater contribution to the people of the world, I believe our countries should embark upon a new era in Japanese-European relations by stepping up considerably the level of their cooperation. It is for this reason I was so eager to visit Europe early in my tenure as Prime Minister of Japan.

Today, as we approach the 21st Century, unprecedented changes of great magnitude, both political and economic, are taking place in various parts of the world.

The agreements on INF and Afghanistan seem to augur well for East-West relations. At Japan's doorstep in the Asian and Pacific region, the developing countries are achieving dynamic growth and showing an energy which is causing the world economic map to be redrawn. In Europe, the partnership between the European Community and EFTA, together with the economic integration and the political cooperation of the EC is furthering the formation of an economic space with a population of 360 million.

On the other hand, the world still faces a multitude of problems relating to regional conflict, human rights, the macro-economy and the accumulation of debts.

In this situation it is of utmost importance that the trilateral partners of Japan, Europe, and the United States, which share the same set of values, fulfil their respective responsibilities. At the same time, they should combine their strength in order to foster world peace and prosperity. It cannot be denied, however, that the relations between Japan and Europe, which form one side of the triangle, have perhaps not been close enough, compared with the other two sides, that is, the relations between Japan and the United States on the one hand, and Europe and the United States on the other.

However, in view of the situation confronting the world in recent years, and of the growing influence which the countries of Western Europe and Japan possess in the international community, we must not allow this state of affairs to continue. Interdependence in the international community has deepened to an extent unimaginable in former times. There is an imperative need for effective and balanced cooperation, both politically and economically, between the trilateral partners of Japan, Europe and the United States.

It was for this very reason that in my policy speech at the first ordinary session of the Diet after assuming office as Prime Minister I made the following statement:

"Cooperation with the countries of Western Europe is an important principle of Japan's foreign policy, and I shall strive to add greater depth and breadth to Japanese-European relations in all fields, political, economic, cultural and others."

It is my intention during my visit to gain first-hand experience of present-day Europe. I also intend to reaffirm with European leaders the significance of Japanese-European cooperation, and to search for ways in which this cooperation can be enhanced.

I sincerely hope that my visit will contribute to the sound development of relations between Japan and Europe, and further, of relations between Japan, Europe and the United States.

My Lord Mayor,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since assuming the office of Prime Minister I have upheld as a primary goal of my Cabinet the building of a "Japan contributing to the world." This is because I believe it is the responsibility of Japan, as a major industrialised democracy, to play a positive role, commensurate with its increased national strength, in order to maintain peace in the world and to secure the prosperity of the international community.

Based on this conviction, I would like to take this opportunity, here at The Mansion House, to announce to the world Japan's "International Cooperation Initiative," which is comprised of the following three pillars.

First, the strengthening of cooperation to achieve peace.

As you may know, Japan is firmly committed to the furtherance of world peace, and its Constitution does not permit it to extend any military cooperation. This does not mean, however, that Japan should stand idly by with regard to international peace. I believe that Japan, from a political and moral viewpoint, should extend cooperation to the utmost of its ability. I will pursue "Cooperation for Peace" as a new approach toward enhancing Japan's contributions to the maintenance and reinforcement of international peace. This will include positive participation in diplomatic efforts, the dispatch of necessary personnel and the provision of financial cooperation, aiming at the resolution of regional conflicts.

The second pillar is the strengthening of international cultural exchange.

Japan must make further efforts in the area of exchanges between diverse cultures, both in response to the heightened interest that the countries of the world are showing in Japan and to promote Japan's own internationalisation. At the same time, I consider that Japan should make a positive contribution, cooperating with appropriate international organisations, to the preservation of the cultural heritage of mankind and the promotion of culture.

The third pillar is the expansion of Japan's official development assistance.

ODA is the most valued aspect of Japan's international contribution. In an effort to strengthen its assistance to developing countries, Japan has set three successive medium-term targets to expand its ODA. I intend to continue to improve Japan's ODA both quantitatively and qualitatively, so that Japan may be able to make an even more positive contribution in the future.

From the point of view of "Japan contributing to the world" which I have just outlined, I would like to offer my thoughts on how Japan should proceed to deepen and broaden its cooperative relationship with Europe.

Since assuming the office of Prime Minister, I have consistently advocated the creation of an 'affluent society with a flourishing culture' which is based on the harmonious balance between material and spiritual richness.

I wish today to begin with cooperation in the cultural field, prior to political and economic issues.

Cultural exchange, I believe, is no less important and, in fact, may be even more important than cooperation in the political and economic fields in adding depth and breadth to Japanese-European relations.

At the beginning of my speech, I referred to international cultural exchange as one of the three main pillars of "Japan contributing to the world." Cultural exchange in the broad sense is of fundamental importance in building a foundation of understanding and mutual respect among peoples as equal human beings - transcending differences in political systems and values - and also in promoting smoother relations in political and economic fields.

The diverse cultures of the world should be appreciated widely by all nations for the universal values they embody and as the common assets of all mankind. Cultural exchange fosters tolerance of different cultures, thereby leading to the establishment of an open international community and even to the achievement of international harmony and world peace. Exchange among diverse cultures provides a stimulus for the invigoration of the international community and the vitality for development. I intend to promote interchange among the various cultures of the world, while encouraging the preservation of each nation's precious culture; I will also promote Japan's contribution to the enrichment of the world's cultures as we approach the 21st Century.

It is gratifying to note that very deep foundations have already been laid for interchange between the cultures of Europe, for which the Japanese people have a profound and enduring appreciation, and Japan's own culture, which has been developed over the past two thousand years. In the process of the modernisation of the Japanese state in the latter half of the nineteenth century, we learnt much from European civilisation. But we did not merely import and imitate; we adapted what we learned, and made it part of our own culture. When European intellectuals and men and women of letters first experience Japanese culture, they often show an almost instant understanding and sensitive appreciation of it. This is perhaps because there is something which Japanese and European cultures have in common.

Centuries ago there was the Silk Road which linked the East and the West. More recently, the great Indian poet, Sir Rabindranath Tagore, looked forward to the birth of the civilisation of a new era through the fusion of Oriental and Occidental cultures. I am sure that, as we approach the 21st Century, cultural exchange between Japan and Europe will open up a new "Silk Road," an East-West "Passage of Hearts," which will be of great value in creating the culture of the new era.

Needless to say, if culture is to play this role in Japanese-European relations in the future, mutual effort and cooperation by both Japan and Europe will be more necessary than ever. I would, therefore, like to take a number of concrete measures in a variety of areas.

Of primary importance is the expansion of personnel exchange.

Personnel exchange is an important means of deepening mutual understanding directly between the people of Japan and Europe linking heart with heart. However, personnel exchange between Japan and Europe, like trade, is at present not quite balanced. We thus have to encourage more Europeans to see Japan.

Various invitation programmes between Japan and Europe are being implemented at the government level. In view of the importance of intellectual exchange, I would like to initiate a new fellowship programme under which European scientists and researchers would carry out research in Japan for about one year.

The English Teaching Recruitment Programme, which grew out of a British idea, developed last year into the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (which is commonly referred to as the JET Programme). Under this Programme, teachers from abroad spend one year teaching English in schools all over Japan. This Programme is having a considerable effect, not only in terms of language training, but also in terms of mutual understanding between people of different cultures. In 1988 Japan will invite approximately 1,500 young people from Britain, the United States and other English-speaking countries, and I am delighted to add that there are plans to increase this number in the coming years. We have also decided to extend this Programme to the teaching of other European languages, such as French and German.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am sure that if there had existed a JET Programme when I was at lower secondary school, my English would certainly be better now.

I am also considering the possibility of implementing a "working holiday" scheme, under which young Japanese would go to Europe and Europeans would come to Japan for a stay of several months.

Science and technology continue to offer many possibilities and a wide scope for co-operation. There is a need for knowledgeable people from Japan and Europe to re-explore comprehensively possible areas and types of cooperation, and to consider what would be the most desirable cooperation.

I also intend to increase assistance to Japanese studies and the teaching of the Japanese language. As a Japanese, I am much delighted to learn that in Europe the number of people who are enthusiastically studying the Japanese language and Japanese affairs is rapidly increasing. This demonstrates the extent of European interest in Japan. This interest is to be very much welcomed also from the point of view of international cultural exchange, and I intend to lend as much support as possible to activities in this regard.

Another means of promoting exchange lies in the expansion of knowledge on each other's cultures and in the expansion of organisations serving Japanese-European exchange and dialogue.

The Great Japan Exhibition held in 1981 in London was a very popular event. I have been informed that a "Japan Festival" is being planned for 1991, with events to be held all over Britain. The "Europalia 1989 Japan" is planned in Brussels in the autumn of next year. In Japan, cultural events from the various countries of Western Europe are always a success. Right now the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet, so full of grace and poetry, is performing there and the prestigious La Scala Opera also is soon to visit Japan. Events such as these provide valuable opportunities for deepening understanding between Japan and Europe.

Among the organisations for Japanese-European dialogue, the Japan-UK 2000 Group studies how the co-operative relationship between the two countries should be expanded as we look ahead to the 21st Century. It is envisaged that the Japan-German Centre in Berlin will play a significant role in promoting exchange in academic, political, economic and cultural fields not only between the two countries, but also between Japan and Europe as a whole. Japan and France are also drawing up plans for the construction of a cultural centre.

Supplementing these endeavours, my Government intends to make constant efforts under its "Cultural Exchange Programme to bridge Japanese and European minds" and will take the necessary measures for its realisation.

Naturally, stability and development in the political and economic fields set preconditions for the promotion of cooperation in the cultural field. I wish, therefore, to move on to cooperation in the political field.

Solidarity and unity are indispensable for the safeguard of the values of freedom and democracy which are shared by all the countries of the West. It was from this viewpoint that at the Williamsburg Summit in 1983, the then Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone stressed that Western security was indivisible. For this reason, Japan joined in consultations among the countries of the West on the INF issue. By the same token, stability in Asia and the Pacific is also a matter of great interest for the countries of Europe.

I take this opportunity to reiterate that the security of the West is indivisible.

Japan is keenly interested in developments in European security even after the removal of INF, including the talks on the reduction of conventional forces, in as much as it continues to affect Japan's security. There are not a few cases in which regional conflicts, not only in Asia but also in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere, have a great impact on Japan and Europe. I consider it Japan's responsibility to contribute, in consultation with European countries and the United States, to the resolution of these conflicts as well as to reconstruction efforts in a manner commensurate with its strength and the state of its national affairs.

European countries are capable of making a considerable contribution to the future not only of Africa but also of Asia and the Pacific region. I believe that if Japan and Europe cooperate in these areas, more effective and greater results can be expected.

It is hoped that the forthcoming Summit between President Reagan and General-Secretary Gorbachev, the special session of the United Nations General Assembly on disarmament, and the Summit meeting of major industrialised countries in Toronto will all contribute to a resolution of the important political and economic problems confronting the world. Japan, as a member of the West, and from the viewpoint of trilateral cooperation between Japan, Europe and the United States, is determined to expand further its political dialogue with Europe, and to strengthen in concrete terms its cooperative relations for international peace.

I would now like to state my views on cooperation in the economic field.

In recent years Japan has in particular devoted considerable efforts to making its economic structure more internationally harmonious; to helping restore the balance in the world economy by expanding domestic demand and other measures; to improving as far as possible access to its market and to expanding imports; and to making use of its accumulated surplus for the benefit of the world.

Many concrete results have already emerged. In 1987 Japan's economy shifted to a pattern which was led entirely by domestic demand. In fact, domestic demand contributed 5.0% to Japan's real growth rate, while overseas demand contributed minus 0.7%, and an overall growth of 4.2% was achieved.

Progress is also being made in improving market access. Many issues with Europe have been resolved during the last one or two years. Imports from Europe for the last two years showed growth by 84.3%. This trend continues unchanged in 1988.

Furthermore, Japan is making ever greater efforts in its official development assistance to the developing countries. Its ODA budget amounts to US$10 billion for fiscal 1988, and is the largest in the world, exceeding that of the United States. We are at present implementing measures such as the financial recycling of more than US$30 billion over three years, and non-project type grant assistance of about US$500 million over three years to African and other countries. I shall continue to address in a positive manner the subject of Japanese-European cooperation in the Third World.

Europe, together with Japan and the United States, has the strength to make a great impact on the world economy. For this reason alone, it is Europe's grave responsibility as it strives to achieve integration, to maintain a free trade system that is rid of protectionism for the sake of building an open and truly international world order. Japan and Europe, I believe, should contribute to the maintenance and reinforcement of the free trade system through the Uruguay Round of GATT talks, and other means.

Adam Smith, the great British economist, advocated the rejection of protectionist policies and a shift to economies based on liberal policies. His theories eventually became the foundation for the development of the world economy. It is my fervent hope that the countries of Western Europe will be at the forefront of the movement to uphold the spirit of Adam Smith's ideas and continue to steadfastly support the free trade system.

My Lord Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I believe that with the 21st Century in sight Japan must build a society that is more open to the world by connecting the results of its economic development with real affluence and comfort for its people. It is my firm conviction that Japan must contribute to the countries of the world as a creative and vigorous cultural nation in which, with balanced land development, people can live comfortably and peacefully, nurturing their individual aspirations and their prospects for a happy family life.

I have made this notion of creating a furusato, that is, a place like one's own home town which is bound up with one's identity, the starting point of my political activity.

With its rich natural endowments, its splendid cities with their comfortable living environment, and its diverse peoples who are imbued with a spirit of individuality and creativity - Europe has many valuable lessons which I would like to learn and absorb in order to realise my notion of creating a furusato for all people.

Japanese-European interchange played a particularly significant role in the building of Japan as a modern state during the period following the Meiji Restoration. I trust that Japan will again benefit from the interchange with the peoples of Europe as it strives to build a state which will contribute to the world as we approach the 21st Century.

Japan and Europe have great responsibilities with regard to world peace and development. Just as a bud grows bigger and bigger until it is ready to burst into bloom, so is the potential for Japan and Europe ripening; the potential to deepen their relationship by thinking and working together from a global viewpoint in every field - political, economic, cultural - within the framework of trilateral cooperation while developing their relations with the United States. Now is the time to allow that bud to burst into bloom. Now is the time to open a new era in Japanese-European relations. Let us build an even more fulfilling Japanese-European cooperative relationship and join forces for the benefit of people everywhere.

My Lord Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would now like to propose a toast to the enduring prosperity of the United Kingdom and Japan, and a strengthening of our already close relations, to the well being of our peoples, to the prosperity and further development of the Corporation of London, and to the health and happiness of you, My Lord Mayor and of each of the distinguished guests here today.