Skip to main content

Home >  News >  Diplomatic Relations >  January 2016 >  Report by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on His Recent Overseas Visits to the Plenary Session of the House of Representatives

Diplomatic Relations

Report by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on His Recent Overseas Visits to the Plenary Session of the House of Representatives

January 4, 2016

[Provisional Translation]

I would like to report on my overseas visits. 

Between September and December of last year, I attended the High-Level Segment of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly session; visited Central Asia; attended the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit, the G20 Summit, the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the East Asia Summit, and the COP21 Summit Meeting; and visited India, among other countries. Throughout this, I proactively promoted diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map.

Through my series of visits, I made clear Japan’s views on what the international community should do for peace and prosperity in the world, as well as what contributions Japan can make to this end, taking into account our national interests. I believe this was fully reflected in the outcomes and yielded significant achievements.

I will report in order on these visits.

In late September, I attended the High-Level Segment of the UN General Assembly.

At the UN General Assembly, participants discussed in a lively manner the development targets that succeeded the Millennium Development Goals.

Japan has always stressed that priority should be given to health, disaster risk reduction, women, and education in line with the concept of “human security.” It was a significant achievement that these views of Japan were clearly incorporated into the 2030 Agenda, which constitutes the new Development Goals.

In addition, on the milestone year of the 70th anniversary of the UN, I attended the meeting of G4 leaders on UN Security Council reform with Chancellor Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Modi of India, and President Rousseff of Brazil. We confirmed our determination to vigorously promote Security Council reforms.

In mid-October, I visited Central Asian countries.

Central Asia is in the heart of Asia, and is a geopolitically vital region as the nexus of East and West.

Central Asian countries have thus far relied on exports of natural resources. However, today, they aspire to have economies with greater added value, and seek quality infrastructure. This is an area in which Japan can play a role.

On this visit I was accompanied by members of the business community. We were able to generate future business opportunities worth more than three trillion yen, as well as further deepen friendship and cooperative relations with each country.

In early November, I attended the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit that was held in Seoul.

I have for some time reiterated the importance of Japan and China as well as Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) holding candid talks without attaching any prerequisites, also at the leader level, precisely because challenging issues exist between us as neighboring countries. These talks were realized.

At the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit, the three countries agreed upon the following:
(1) The Japan-China-ROK trilateral cooperation framework has been completely restored;
(2) The Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit should be held on a regular basis; and
(3) Japan will take the chairmanship this year.

Japan, China, and the ROK all share a major responsibility for peace and prosperity in the region.

It was critically significant that at the Summit, President Park Geun-hye, Premier Li Keqiang, and I were able to hold frank exchanges of views on encouraging trilateral cooperation in a broad range of areas, including the economy, the environment, disaster risk reduction, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges, as well as on the critical issues facing the region and the international community, including North Korea.

At the Japan-China Summit Meeting with Premier Li Keqiang, we shared the view that Japan-China relations were seeing improvements based on the concept of a “Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests,” and that this needed to add further momentum.

Furthermore, we concurred on specific outcomes, such as resuming the mutual visit of the Foreign Ministers and holding the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue early this year.

At the Japan-ROK Summit Meeting with President Park Geun-hye, discussions took place on the various issues between Japan and the ROK, as well as the North Korea issue.

We appreciated the fact that the bilateral relationship is gradually deepening as a result of efforts to pursue communication between Japan and the ROK. We also agreed to continue to strengthen cooperation between Japan and the ROK in various fields, including security, people-to-people exchanges, and the economy.

With regard to the comfort women issue, we agreed to accelerate consultations between the two countries from the standpoint that it was important not to allow the issue to be an impediment to future generations. In this light, through the agreement reached at the Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on December 28 and my telephone talks with President Park Geun-hye, it was decided that this issue would be resolved finally and irreversibly.

With this agreement, I am convinced that Japan-ROK relations will enter a new era of a future-oriented relationship.

In mid-November, I attended the G20 Summit, the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, and ASEAN-related summit meetings.

At the series of meetings, leaders from key countries gathered to hold serious discussions on how to ensure the sustainable growth of the world economy, and how to deal with the variety of issues facing the international community, including terrorism.

Today, amid concerns about a decelerating world economy, the top theme is economic growth.

I explained in detail about the second stage of Abenomics, in particular, the new concept of firing my new “three arrows” at the three clear “targets,” namely: achieving a 600 trillion yen GDP, Japan’s largest in the post-war era; raising the birthrate to 1.8 children per woman, the level the public has indicated as desirable; and eliminating cases in which people have no choice but to leave their jobs to provide nursing care. I explained that Japan aims to realize a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged, and gained the understanding and support of the leaders.

At the TPP Leaders meeting held in Manila, the leaders concurred that they would swiftly complete their domestic procedures for the early entry into force of the TPP Agreement.

The TPP Agreement will create an economic zone covering 40% of the world, under new rules that will be developed with countries that share fundamental values.

The centripetal force of the TPP Agreement has resulted in other countries and regions expressing interest in joining the Agreement.
Shortly before the G20 Summit, terror attacks occurred in Paris. Through the series of the Summit meetings, the leaders urged that the world must stand in solidarity against challenges to the common values of humanity. Japan, the United States, Russia, China, and Middle East countries sent out a clear, united message that the entire international community will be steadfast in joining together in the fight against terrorism.

At the East Asia Summit that I attended in late November, the major theme was compliance with the rule of law, including freedom of navigation and the peaceful settlement of disputes, with a focus on the situation in the South China Sea.

At the Summit, many leaders expressed concerns about the unilateral changes in the status quo in the South China Sea. They noted the importance of not resorting to the threat or use of force, and of resolving disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international law. These aspects were incorporated into the Chairman’s Statement.

Based on my position of prioritizing the rule of law in the international community, I proposed the following three principles at the Shangri-La Dialogue:
(1) States shall make their claims based on international law;
(2) States shall not use the threat of force or change the status quo through coercion; and
(3) States shall settle issues peacefully based on international law.

I perceive that these three principles are steadily taking hold across the international community.

In late November, I attended the Leaders Event of COP21 that determined the new framework on climate change that will replace the Kyoto Protocol.

At the Leaders Event, I explained Japan’s new policies of contribution called “Actions for Cool Earth 2.0 (ACE 2.0).” It consists of two pillars: (1) strengthening innovative technologies, which  is key to acting against climate change without sacrificing economic growth; and (2) providing support worth 1.3 trillion yen to developing countries in 2020. I emphasized that now is high time to build a new framework for reducing greenhouse gases, with developed and developing countries joining together.

Reflecting this consistent assertion of Japan, the Paris Agreement was adopted at the subsequent ministerial-level negotiations. The Agreement is a fair framework to be participated in by all parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including 195 countries and the EU, for the first time in history.

I highly value this agreement. Japan will continue to lead the world in developing innovative technologies and play a leading role in the international community in this area.

In mid-December, I visited India. At the summit meeting with Prime Minister Modi, we confirmed that the Japan-India relationship has entered a new era, and released “Japan and India Vision 2025,” a joint statement that will serve as a guidepost for the new era in the Japan-India relationship.

As a project appropriate for the beginning of this new era in the Japan-India relationship, it was decided that Japan’s Shinkansen system would be adopted for the high-speed railway connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Japan will provide concrete cooperation to realize India’s first high-speed rail making use of Japan’s Shinkansen system that has excellent safety and accuracy.

In addition, we reached an agreement in principle on the Agreement that will provide a basis for overall nuclear cooperation for peaceful proposes between Japan and India.

This Agreement ensures that India will take responsible actions related to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Therefore, if India were to conduct a nuclear test, Japan’s cooperation would be ceased.

This Agreement will contribute to having India participate in the international non-proliferation regime in a substantive manner, and is in line with Japan’s position of promoting non-proliferation with the aim of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.

Together with Prime Minister Modi, I will continue to resolutely open up a new era in the Japan-India relationship. Japan and India, two of the largest democracies in Asia that share universal values, will cooperate closely, and drive the achievement of peace and prosperity in Asia and the world.

This year, Japan will chair the G7 Ise-Shima Summit and join the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member. TICAD will be held in Africa for the first time. In addition, Japan will take the chairmanship of the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit. It will be a year in which Japanese diplomacy will lead the world.

This year, I will continue to promote Japan’s national interests from the perspectives of the economy and security, and address the variety of issues facing the international community by working closely with the rest of the world and demonstrating leadership.


Page Top

Related Link