U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options

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Working Paper No. 20

We, on the Japanese side, should not accept the situation in Afghanistan as a fait accompli, but must cooperate with the Western nations concerned and continue to demand the complete withdrawal of the Soviet forces. We must not forget that this kind of response serve as a deterrent against future Soviet action.

Past Forum

Concerning the situation in Poland, Japan is required to cooperate with the West and clarify its political will shared with the West by demanding self-restraint on the part of the Soviet Union. Additionally, economic relations have now come to be considered as one important aspect of East-West relations. As is illustrated in the conclusions at the two summit meetings in Ottawa and Versailles, there is a consensus among the Western countries that, in dealing with East-West economic problems, it is important for them to seek to ensure that these economic relations be consistent with Western interests in the fields of politics and security.

However, as regards the ways of their actual responses, it is also true that, owing to differences in their historical and geopolitical conditions, and their present political and economic circumstances, there does not necessarily exist a complete unity of views. It is necessary to continue to take up this problem as a major task for policy coordination among the Western nations. The establishment of stable relations based on genuine mutual understanding with the neighboring Soviet Union within the general framework of East-West relations is essential for Japan's security.

For this purpose, it is important to settle the northern territory problem, which still remains unresolved, anti to conclude a peace treaty. At the same time, it is also important to conduct economic exchange with the Soviet Union standing on the principle of the inseparability of political matters from economic matters without unnecessarily seeking confrontation with the aim of establishing true friendly and good-neighborly relations. Triggered by the two oil crises in the s, aggravated inflation, low growth rates, unemployment and balance of payments disequilibrium, especially in the developed nations, can be considered as some of the major disturbing factors of the world economy that have yet to be overcome.

The fact that American high interest rates, in particular, narrow the range of policy options in other countries cannot be denied. Furthermore, with the above-mentioned economic difficulties as a background, increasing protectionist trend have been observed in the United States and European nations. Protectionist moves such as the so-called reciprocity bill and the local content bill in the U. If the world is to fall headlong into this kind of easy-going responses, giving priority to immediate domestic considerations, free trade and market mechanisms will be endangered and the basic values of Western society of freedom and democracy might be jeopardized as well.

However, on the other hand, merely calling for the importance of free trade is not sufficient to prevent protectionism. While recognizing its responsibility, each nation is required to seek expanded equilibrium through the revitalization of not only its economy but the whole world economy, with appropriate macro-economic policies and positive adjustment policies. Wisdom and concrete action are required. As the second largest economic power in the free world, Japan must shed behavioral patterns fostered in the "catch up and overcome" era and take the initiative in developing free trade in the world.

Agreement was reached at the Versailles Summit to consolidate international cooperation for the development of science and technology to revitalize the world economy in both mid- and long-range terms as well as to coordinate further international cooperation in the administration of the economy, including finance and money.

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Having taken a positive initiative at the Summit meeting, Japan is required to assume a significant role in cooperating with other nations to reach these goals. Moreover, the Asian-Pacific region is replete in vitality and dynamism. Thus bringing out the potential and enhancing the development of this region will lead not merely to the regional prosperity but also to the revitalization of the entire world economy. As a consequence, Japan intends to actively promote future cooperation in the Pacific region as stated by Prime Minister Suzuki in his address given in Honolulu.

A prompt and peaceful solution to the current disputes and confusion in the Third World, accompanied by political, economic, and social stability in all nations together with their steady development, is an indispensable condition for the peace and stability of the entire world, just as essential as good East-West relations. The causes of the confusion and disputes seen in various places are not all the same. Complicated causes are interwined, such as those stemming from historical, ethnic, religious, or territorial confrontations, or direct or indirect military intervention by outside forces in the course of independence or the wobbling of the internal structure, as seen in the Arab-Israeli confrontation, the Iran-Iraq conflict, and the disturbances in Lebanon, in the Middle East, and in the disputes and confusion in South Africa, Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Central America.

Still further, all the nations of the Third World have different national circumstances, in regard to their political systems, the stage of economic development, geographical and historical conditions, etc. Consequently, there is no uniform measure for the settlement of these problems, and finely tuned responses suited to each individual case are required. It is important for Japan to maintain close contact and cooperative ties with the Western developed nations and others, while positively participating in joint efforts toward a peaceful solution for conflicts throughout the world as well as the alleviation of conflicts and tensions.

Japan is also required to take the positive initiative as was the case when Japan presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council, concerning the Lebanese problem. The ultimate solution to these problems primarily rests on the efforts of the countries concerned and the role that Japan can assume is subjected to limitations.

This Japanese role is also limited by constraints within Japan. For example, we cannot participate in any UN peace-keeping operations where the purpose or mission presupposes the use of force, and Japan is naturally more concerned in its foreign policy with the Asian-Pacific region, with which Japan has profound historical and geopolitical relations, and with the Middle East region, which occupies a strategic position between East and West and produces vast amounts of petroleum, than with other areas.

In more concrete terms, because of its location in the Asian-Pacific region, Japan must continue to support efforts to alleviate tension between the two parties concerned on the Korean peninsula, to support the search for a comprehensive political solution of the Cambodian problem and to support ASEAN efforts to this end to diplomatically approach Vietnam and other countries for persuation, and Japan must also assist countries such as Thailand and Pakistan, neighboring conflicts, support the nation-building of the Pacific island countries, cooperate in the modernization of China, and thereby strive for maintaining and strengthening peace and stability in this region.

In the Middle East, Japan is required to positively support the activities for peace by the moderate nations to achieve peace in the region. In other aspects, it is of importance for Japan to cooperate, on the African continent, in the activities of the Western Contact Group and the UN for the independence of Namibia, and, in the Central American and Caribbean regions, in the Caribbean Basin Initiative as well.

It is, therefore, necessary for Japan to conduct, in these ways, its diplomacy from a global perspective. Furthermore Japan, as a peace-loving nation, must positively contribute even further to strengthening the U. Thus it may be said that the nation has currently entered an era which necessitates active study of cooperation feasible for it; not only the conventional financial cooperation but also cooperation in terms of human resources such as the dispatching of personnel to participate in peace-keeping operations not presupposing the use of armed force.

It is through such steady efforts that we are able to demonstrate to the international society the desire and determination of Japanese people to survive as a peace-loving nation and, at the same time, win international community's trust. Moreover, Japan's diplomatic efforts for peace and stability in the Third World can be more effective if supported by substantial and powerful economic cooperation backed by Japan's position as the second-largest economic power in the free world.

It can be said that stable life is the foundation of political and social stability. This is especially true of the Third World nations. Contribution to the strengthening of economic, social, and political resiliency through economic cooperation, in the medium- and long-term perspective, deters domestic confusion, conflicts resulting from such confusion, or foreign interventions in these nations. It is in this sense that ODA economic cooperation is not merely Japan's responsibility to international society but also a vital part of our comprehensive security policy. With this understanding, Japan has been trying to expand ODA from interdependence and humanitarian considerations.

Despite the severe financial situation of the Japanese Government, it is important for Japan to further endeavor to steadfastly expand ODA in accordance with the New Medium-Term Target to which Japan has committed herself internationally. Many years have passed since the North-South Problem was taken up as a major problem confronting the international society.

Because of the very nature of this problem, this problem cannot be settled immediately. Even so, it must be admitted that the pace of improving North-South relations up until now has been slow as a whole. Despite this fact, the interdependence between North and South has deepened, as confirmed at the North-South Summit in , and the importance of both sides to cooperate with each other with a view to seeking points of compromise, in the spirit of mutuality of interest and co-operation, has increased. The building up of constructive relations between the North and the South, through interchange in the economic field and through North-South dialogues such as those in the fora of the United Nations can contribute not only to the revitalization of the world economy, but also to the peace and stability of the world, through its contribution to the steady development of developing countries.

In this sense, the appearing of new moves for the launching of the Global Negotiations, based on the agreement reached at the North-South Summit and the Versailles Summit, is appreciated. Japan intends to continue to make positive contribution for the progress toward the launching of the Global Negotiations. Japan, the U.

These nations, of course, have their own positions commensurate with their capabilities and circumstances. Therefore, uniform policy measures for all problems are neither realistic nor useful. In short, Japan played a critical role in constructing the foundations of the Asian century. But these good old days for Japan are now clearly over.


South Korea has caught up with or even passed Japan in some economic and cultural dimensions, and Southeast Asia is forming its own political, economic and cultural communities. The impact of the rise of China now goes beyond the region and extends into various corners of the globe. As a result, Japan is searching for a new mission and a new role in Asian diplomacy. Some say that value-oriented diplomacy is the answer. In recent years, however, this has lacked a coherent theme that resonates across Asia. This was the product of a unique combination of two different considerations. The first aspect dates back to the end of the Cold War, when the Japanese government started searching for a new rationale for the US-Japan alliance in the absence of the Soviet Union as a major threat.

Protecting and promoting universal values was the answer.

The main focus of this new foreign-policy orientation was global rather than regional. This has been sustained by central policymakers and bureaucrats who believe that Japan is or should be a global actor.

The second thread of value diplomacy originates from the mids when Taiwan embarked upon democratisation under the strong leadership of Lee Deng-hui, whom China attempted to intimidate with a series of military exercises. From this time on, anti-China conservative politicians and opinion-makers in Japan began emphasising democracy in their foreign policies.


Foreign Policy - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Universal values like democracy and respect for human rights are, of course, very important in and perhaps even central to promoting peace and stability in the Asian century. But, while Japan might have been right during the Cold War to assert that economic development should precede political democratisation in Asia, the critical question in the Asian century is how universal values will fit into the new Asian context. The concept of middle-power cooperation might provide a clue.

Japan must recognise that it will be a truly equal partner with other Asian countries in the Asian century. Today, it should be even more obvious that Japan is on an equal footing with many of its Asian neighbours.

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This encourages an unhealthy preoccupation with China and breeds regressive attitudes towards the history problem among some important members of the government, while anti-Japan sentiments in China run deep. Thus, China and Japan seem trapped in an emotionally charged vicious cycle. Asia and Japan will continue to need the United States as the ultimate guarantor of security in the region.

U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options
U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options
U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options
U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options
U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options
U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options
U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options
U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options
U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options

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