August 28(Sunday)

Matters undertaken by the Kan administration:
A general report (4)
Diplomacy and National Security

 

The fourth topic in this series is "diplomacy and national security."  This entry will overview the diplomatic and national security-related efforts in which the Kan administration has been engaged, both bilaterally and multilaterally.

(Numbers in red are sequential throughout this series of articles.)

 

Reinforcement of the Japan-U.S. alliance [32]

Prime Minister Kan held meetings with U.S. President Barack Obama four times (eight times, including telephone conversations), and the leaders agreed to reinforce the Japan-U.S. alliance on the three pillars of national security aspects, economic aspects, and also exchanges in culture and human resources, as well as to put forward a common vision for the Japan-U.S. alliance of the 21st century during the next visit of a Japanese Prime Minister to the United States.  In addition, the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (the "2+2" Meeting), which brings together the Cabinet members in Japan and the U.S. overseeing foreign policy and defense, was held in June, with new common strategic objectives formulated.

In order to move ahead with the lightening of the military base burden concentrated in Okinawa, in September 2010 the Okinawa Policy Council convened after a five-year hiatus, with the "Okinawa Promotion Committee" and the "Committee to Reduce Okinawa's Military Base Burden" newly established under the Council's auspices.  With regard to the issue of the relocation of Futenma Air Station, the administration addressed the matter in line with the Japan-U.S. agreement.

The administration has also promoted mutual understanding between the two countries at a full range of levels among the public, including through the dispatch of young Japanese teachers of the English language to the United States, while also engaging in close cooperation with the United States, such as, in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake, the assistance provided under "Operation Tomodachi" as well as assistance in handling the nuclear accident.

 

Fostering relations with neighboring countries

○Development of future-oriented Japan-ROK relations [33]

Last year, concurrent with the one hundredth anniversary of Japan's annexation of the Korean peninsula, Prime Minister Kan issued a Prime Ministerial statement.  In addition, the Kan administration concluded an agreement between Japan and the ROK on archives, in order to hand over to the ROK archives originating from the Korean Peninsula.  Regarding the North Korea issue, Japan, the United States, and the ROK have been handling the matter in cooperation.

 

○Enhancing the "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" with China [34]

Although diplomatic friction arose as the result of the incident of the fishing boat collision off the coast of the Senkaku Islands, the Kan administration endeavored to handle the matter appropriately.  Through meetings with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister Kan, taking a wider perspective, worked to enhance the "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" through broad-based cooperation, yet he also expressed concerns over China's strengthening of its national defenses, which is somewhat lacking in its transparency, and over the intensification of China's maritime activities.  Moreover, he urged observance of international norms of conduct and constructive responses.

 

○Strengthening of Japan-China-ROK cooperation [35]

The 'Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting' was held in Tokyo this May, with documents created on cooperation in the fields of nuclear safety, the promotion of renewable energy and related efforts, and disaster management in addition to the summit declaration, with a view to the strengthening of trilateral cooperation.  In addition, on this occasion Prime Minister Kan invited the leaders of China and the ROK to the disaster-stricken areas.

 

○Strengthening of relations with Russia across all fields [36]

Prime Minister Kan held three meetings with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, with the leaders agreeing to develop their relations across all fields, including politically and economically, aiming at the building of desirable relations as partners in the Asia-Pacific region.  In addition, the Kan administration protested at the summit level regarding the visit of high-level Russian political figures to the Northern Territories.  The leaders agreed to tenaciously engage in negotiations on the territorial issue, continuing discussions in a calm environment.

 

○Strengthening of relations with India, Australia, and ASEAN

As for relations with India, the summit-level joint statement, "A Vision for Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership in the Next Decade," [37] was announced at the Japan-India summit held last October.  With Australia, the strengthening of security cooperation through the Japan-Australia Joint Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations (the "2+2" Meeting), advancement of negotiations on a Japan-Australia EPA [38], and other undertakings brought about a strengthening of bilateral relations.  Regarding its relations with a growing ASEAN, Japan promoted concrete cooperation [39] in the creation of an ASEAN Community and such fields as disaster prevention.

 

○Promotion of economic partnerships through the Yokohama APEC meeting [40]

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting was held in Yokohama in November 2010, with Japan serving as chair.  The "Yokohama Vision" was adopted and agreement was reached on concrete steps towards realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).  Japan also expressed its view that the FTAAP should be pursued with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement serving as the base.

 

Efforts to address global issues

○Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation

Last year Japan submitted the draft resolution "United action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons" to the United Nations General Assembly.  This draft resolution had 90 co-sponsors including the United States, the largest number ever, and was adopted by an overwhelmingly large majority [41].  Atomic bomb survivors and second-generation atomic bomb victims were commissioned as "Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons" [42] as an effort to pass on to the international community the misery of nuclear weapons, and a great many people in countries all around the world have listened to the testimony of a total of 33 Special Communicators thus far.

 

○Millennium Development Goals (the "Kan Commitment") [43]

At the High-level Plenary Meeting of the 65th General Assembly of the United Nations on the MDGs in September 2010, on the basis of the philosophy of realizing "a society with the least unhappiness," Prime Minster Kan announced as the "Kan Commitment" that Japan would provide assistance of five billion US dollars as contributions to the field of health, and also provide assistance to enable greater participation in society.

 

○Efforts to address global environmental issues

At the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD/COP10), which was held in Nagoya in October 2010, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted [44] and Prime Minister Kan announced the "Life in Harmony" Initiative.

 

○Response at the G8 Summit [45]

At the G8 Deauville Summit this past May, Japan sent out a message broadly to the international community of its determination to achieve reconstruction from the earthquake disaster at the earliest possible time and to be actively engaged in international contributions.  Moreover, Japan broadly proposed to the international community a future direction in which renewable energies serve as core energy sources.

 

○Dispatches to international peace cooperation activities and other endeavors [46]

In response to requests from the international community, Japan dispatched its Self-Defense Forces to various international peace cooperation activities as well as to other efforts.

 

(Last year in August, Japan dispatched Self-Defense Forces helicopters as a Japan Disaster Relief Team, providing assistance towards the flood disaster in Pakistan.  In September that year, Japan dispatched two officials from the Self-Defense Forces as military liaison officers to the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).  And, in February this year, a Japan Disaster Relief Team was dispatched via government aircraft in response to the earthquake disaster on New Zealand's South Island.)

 

○Determination of new National Defense Program Guidelines

New 'National Defense Program Guidelines' were formulated [47] in December 2010 in order to respond to the new national security environment.  Rather than the Basic Defense Force (BDF) Concept, which places emphasis on deterrent effects arising from the very existence of defense capabilities, it was decided to forge a "dynamic defense force" that offers greater readiness and mobility than ever before.

 

The next entry will take up the handling of the great earthquake disaster as well as the restructuring of strategies for energy and the environment.



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