"We, the Japanese people . . . have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world."

This passage from the preamble of the Japanese Constitution, in effect since May 1947, expresses the principle behind the nation's unarmed foreign policy. The present international situation, however, is a bit too austere for such noble idealism, leading to criticism that Japan has failed to adapt herself to contemporary international realities. The need is for a "new realism"-a foreign policy that is more clear and positive, and yet retains basic idealistic purposes.

Japan's diplomacy is in fact inhibited by two constraints. One is an international environment in which the Japanese people perceive themselves to be extremely vulnerable and limited in their options. The political-security dimensions of this environment are reflected in the tripolar structure involving the United States, the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. Economically, Japan's vulnerability lies in her near-total dependence on imports for fuel, feed and food (other than rice) and virtually all the essential industrial raw materials, as well as a corresponding dependence on fair access to foreign markets for her exports.

The other constraint is internal, a legacy of defeat and occupation which reinforces this sense of vulnerability, and contributes to the fragmentation and polarization of contemporary Japan's domestic politics.

Whether a "new realism" emerges in Japan's diplomacy over the next few years will depend on an easing of both constraints. The international political and economic situation will need to develop in ways which favor-or require-greater Japanese activism. At the same time, Japan's domestic politics will have to undergo transformations which will permit the emergence of a broad consensus in support of a more realistic and activist foreign policy.

At present there are tentative indications that political trends, both international and domestic, are beginning to move in these favorable directions. Economically, however, Japan continues to feel threatened by what Prime Minister Takeo Miki recently described in New York as attempts at "fragmenting the global system into rival blocs of rich versus poor, industrialized versus developing, and commodity producers versus commodity consumers."


Although Japan finds herself locked into the tripolar structure of the U.S.-China-Soviet power balance in the Northwestern Pacific, Japan's own relations with the three are by no means equidistant. Take, for illustration, the figures on trade and personal contacts-which for convenience also include data on Japan's continuing relationship with Taiwan:




1970 1974

United States $11,498.1 $24,120.1

Chinese People's Republic 822.8 3,120.4

(Taiwan) 951.2 2,796.2

Soviet Union 821.9 2,384.9

SOURCE: Ministry of International Trade and Industry



(Number of Persons)

From Japan To Japan

United States 650,610 287,988

Chinese People's Republic 10,238 1,991

(Taiwan) 341,096 50,866

Soviet Union 16,055 3,804

SOURCE: Ministry of Justice

The pivotal relationship in Japan's overall foreign policy is with the United States, the ally on whom her own security ultimately depends, and by far her largest trading partner. The Japanese-American "permanent friendship," as Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has called it, has never been more cordial and harmonious than it is at present.

This was demonstrated during Prime Minister Miki's official visit this August, which resulted not merely in the issuance of a routine communiqué cataloguing topics of bilateral interest, but also in a joint statement by Miki and President Ford of the principles which guide the multilateral relations of both countries. The two leaders pledged that their countries "will continue to work together to build a more open and free international community," based on such principles as "a cooperative rather than a confrontational approach to economic issues," and "a creative international dialogue, transcending differences of ideology, tradition or stages of development."

This upgrading of Japanese-U.S. consultations, from the onetime preoccupation with bilateral trade issues to a concern with shared international obligations, has been cautiously welcomed in Japan. However, the fact remains that only the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) supports without reservation the Japan-U.S. Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, the framework governing relations between the two nations. The treaty relationship, in effect since 1951, obliges Japan to furnish military bases to the United States, not only for the defense of Japan, but also in support of U.S. commitments to maintain peace and stability in the Far East.

This provision, which in the past raised the specter of Japan's being dragged into the Vietnam War, or into hostilities involving U.S. defense of Taiwan, has been the principal basis for opposition to the treaty. The three largest opposition parties, the Socialists (JSP), Communists (JCP) and Komeito, have all traditionally called for scrapping of the treaty and removal of U.S. bases, while the fourth, the Democratic Socialists (DSP), favor a gradual phasing out of the treaty and the bases, leaving only a residual U.S. commitment to defend Japan in an emergency.

The combined popular vote of the opposition parties has actually exceeded the LDP vote in recent elections, and over the long term the opposition vote has been growing at LDP expense. This trend raises some uncertainties about the permanence of the mutual security arrangements in their present form. However, the climate of public opinion regarding Japan's security appears to be shifting somewhat in the post-Vietnam environment in Asia. Withdrawal of U.S. military forces from the Southeast Asian mainland, and concern that the U.S. military presence in South Korea may in time be drastically reduced or terminated, have had a sobering impact.

Thus when the scholarly Defense Minister Michita Sakata recently recommended initiating continuing top-level consultations between Japanese and American military planners, public opposition was unexpectedly muted. Sakata's soft-spoken and literate manner in stating the problem may have been partially responsible for the mild reaction, but under the circumstances his logic was also persuasive.

Only future international and domestic political developments, including trends in Japanese popular opinion, will reveal whether one or more of the opposition parties will begin to modify its views on Japan's security. Such a trend would have direct implications for the durability of Japan-U.S. mutual security arrangements.


Japan's most ancient and complex relations have been with China, the source (both directly and through Korea) of Japan's written language and important aspects of her religious and aesthetic heritage. Not for centuries has China herself been regarded as a threat to Japan's security. Early in the Meiji era of modernization, however, Japan felt threatened by great-power encroachments on a weak China. The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 signaled Japan's entry into the great-power rivalry for influence and preferences in China, and resulted in Japan's annexation of Taiwan. This course led in time to the conquest of Manchuria in the 1930s and undeclared hostilities against both the Nationalist (Kuomintang) and Communist Chinese forces during the late 1930s and early 1940s, not to mention Japan's military sweep into Southeast Asia and the disastrous decision to attack the United States in December 1941.

Following Japan's defeat and the 1951 peace settlements, diplomatic relations were established between Japan and the Nationalist regime, which had been expelled two years earlier from the mainland to Taiwan by the Communist victors in China's civil war. Finally, in 1972, Japan and the People's Republic of China inaugurated full diplomatic relations, and the formal tie with Taiwan was severed. Nonetheless, as the earlier figures show, commercial and cultural relations have continued to flourish.

Attitudes among the Japanese people toward the people of China are ambivalent, reflecting a historical sense of both national indebtedness and national guilt. China also exerts a magnetic attraction or repulsion on the internal politics of all of Japan's major parties. Within the LDP, the Center-Left has been the principal force for normalizing diplomatic and commercial relations with Peking, while that sector of the Right which is inordinately suspicious of the People's Republic, or has business or other ties to Taiwan, has accepted normalization while insisting on maintaining the de facto relations which continue between Japan and Taiwan.

The JSP is sharply divided into pro-Peking and pro-Moscow wings, partly on ideological grounds and partly for reasons of personal connections in one or the other of the two great communist countries. Both wings have accepted normalization, but the pro-Peking wing also indulges in an accusatory politics which equates U.S. and socialist (i.e., Soviet) "imperialism," following the classic Peking line.

The more pragmatic JCP has so far based much of its electoral appeal (and successes) on a nationalistic stance, ostentatiously rejecting the influence of either Peking or Moscow. The other two opposition parties, Komeito and DSP, have supported normalization of relations with the People's Republic, while striving to maintain equidistance from both China and the Soviet Union.

China, although nuclear-armed and until recently openly hostile to Japan's security arrangements with the United States, is not now viewed by a majority of Japanese as a threat to Japan's security. Friendly relations between Japan and China are recognized as essential to peace and stability in the Far East. Accordingly, relations have progressed cordially, at a moderate pace, since normalization. As the tables show, trade between Japan and China had nearly quadrupled even by 1974 and has continued to rise this year, yet at the same time trade with Taiwan has also increased so that it is only slightly less than with the People's Republic. The comparison in terms of personal visits (Table II) is also striking, although it should be noted that an increasing proportion of Japanese going to the mainland are technicians who will stay for long periods.1

Taken alone, relations between Japan and China could be expected to develop reasonably smoothly. However, this year there has been difficulty in completing negotiations for a treaty of peace and friendship; the stumbling block has been China's insistence that the treaty contain a clause opposing the hegemony of any third power in the Asian region. Since some in Japan can see such a clause only as aimed at the Soviet Union, and since the Soviet Union has made clear its objections, this further step has become entangled with the issue of Sino-Soviet relations, and with Japan's desire to keep a balance between relations with China and relations with the Soviet Union.

Of the tripolar relations, those between Japan and the Soviet Union have historically been the coolest. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Russia and Japan pursued competing interests on the Asian mainland, especially in Manchuria, going to war over those interests in 1904-05. Japan's territorial gains as a result of her victory over Russia were returned to the Soviet Union, following Japan's surrender in 1945. The Soviet Union, which had unilaterally abrogated its nonaggression pact with Japan in order to join in the final weeks of the Pacific War, also occupied a cluster of small islands off the coast of Japan's northernmost main island, Hokkaido.

The Soviet Union refused to sign the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty with Japan, but diplomatic relations were resumed in 1956, following a visit to Moscow by Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama. Conclusion of a formal treaty of peace and friendship between Japan and the Soviet Union has been stalled for three decades by the refusal of the Russians to discuss the return to Japanese administration of the occupied "northern territories."

Despite this irritating problem, there is general recognition in Japan that a correct and mutually cooperative relationship with the Soviet Union is essential to Asian stability. There is genuine interest as well in the potential for mutually beneficial economic cooperation between Japan and the Soviet Union, especially in developing the oil, gas and lumber resources of Siberia. These economic questions cannot be separated from the political, however, especially the dynamics of the tripolar U.S.-China-Soviet relationship.

The Sino-Soviet ideological rivalry and territorial dispute undoubtedly facilitated the partial rapprochement between the United States and China in 1972. (It remains to be seen whether it will continue to be a factor in the further normalization of Sino-American relations.) Chinese fears of Soviet "ambitions" in Asia also apparently eased the way toward Sino-Japanese diplomatic normalization, and may have brought Peking to accept Japan-U.S. mutual-security arrangements as a kind of insurance that Japan herself will neither rearm nor go nuclear.

At the same time, continuing Sino-Soviet antagonism creates uncertainties which are detrimental to Asian stability and embarrassing to Japanese diplomacy. The feud is not an asset but a liability for Japan's foreign policy. It does not enhance Japan's bargaining power, and it has the effect of dividing the Japanese public on policies toward both China and the Soviet Union.

The dispute has already intruded into Japan's commercial relations with the two countries. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko's visit to Japan in January 1972, and a following economic mission, led to the proposal that Japan provide a bank loan in excess of $1 billion, plus credits, to finance the construction of a 6,600-kilometer pipeline from the Tyumen oilfields in Western Siberia to the Pacific. The loan was to be repaid in shipments of 25 to 40 million tons a year of low-sulphur crude oil to Japan, over a 20-year period.

The following year, 1973, China made what amounted to an alternative proposal to supply Japan with very high-quality crude from the Taiching reserves in China's Northeastern province. This oil, which had been discovered in 1959 and went into production in 1963, contains only 0.07 percent sulphur, compared for example with 0.1 percent in the oil Japan has been importing from Indonesia.

Prior to 1973, Japan had been importing only 60-80,000 tons annually of partially refined oil from China. Under China's offer of Taiching oil, Japan imported one million tons of crude in 1973, an estimated four million tons in 1974, and an estimated eight million tons in 1975. After five years, China is expected to be able to export to Japan around 60 million tons annually of this high-grade crude.

China apparently now has not only an oil surplus for export, but also a political motive for discouraging Japanese participation in Siberian economic development. Japanese-Soviet negotiations on the Tyumen project, meanwhile, are dormant.

In terms of Japan's ability to conduct amicable relations simultaneously with both China and the Soviet Union, the hegemony issue in the Sino-Japanese treaty negotiations is an even more volatile test. Not only does it inject Japan into the Sino-Soviet dispute, but it has also become a divisive issue within the LDP and across the spectrum of Japanese politics.

China's insistence on an antihegemony clause in the treaty stems from her opposition to the standing Soviet proposal for an Asian collective security system-a proposal seen in Peking as a scheme for "bottling up" China. The Soviet Union, in a statement issued on June 17, 1975, called on Japan to reject the anti-Soviet stipulation (i.e., the antihegemony clause) which, it said, China was forcing on Japan. A few days later, the Information Bureau of the Chinese Foreign Ministry hit back, charging the Soviet Union with interfering in Japan's internal affairs.

In Article VII of the joint statement signed by then Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and Premier Chou En-lai on September 29, 1972, both countries pledged not to seek hegemony and not to allow a third country or group of countries to establish hegemony in the region. Nonetheless, Japanese opinion is divided on inserting a comparable clause into the treaty. Some Japanese legal experts argue that a joint statement and a treaty are different in character, that the meaning of "hegemony" is imprecise, and that in any event it is improper in a bilateral treaty to allude to third powers. It is also argued that, in a treaty which defines the rights and obligations of the signatories, an antihegemony clause would obligate Japan to take joint actions with China in opposition to a third country's pursuit of hegemony.

Although these arguments appeal to the pro-Taiwan wing of the LDP, there is substantial and growing support in the party for inserting the antihegemony clause in the Sino-Japanese treaty. This is also the position of all four opposition parties. The Miki government supports the interpretation that the clause should be inserted as a universal principle of peace. Miki intends to seek broader support in his own party for this view, which is based not simply on the 1972 Tanaka-Chou joint settlement, but on other precedents as well.

For example, on February 27, 1972, President Nixon and Premier Chou signed a joint statement in Shanghai which included this clause: "Neither should seek hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region and each is opposed to efforts by any other country or group of countries to establish such hegemony." According to Premier Chou, this clause was inserted at Secretary Kissinger's initiative. Nor has Kissinger denied it. Moreover, in his address to the Japan Society in New York on June 18, 1975, the Secretary said, "The United States will continue to oppose the efforts of any country or group of countries to impose their will on Asia by a preponderance of power or blackmail."

The Soviet Union voiced no objections in 1972 to the antihegemony clauses in either the Sino-American or Sino-Japanese joint statements. Moreover, the basic principles agreed to by Soviet Communist Party General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and President Nixon in Moscow in May 1972 stated that "The U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. make no claims for themselves and would not recognize the claims of anyone else to any special rights or advantages in world affairs."

Since in 1972 all four countries concerned-the United States, China, the Soviet Union and Japan-were unanimous in renouncing and opposing hegemony, the principle can surely be treated as a universal one, aimed at no specific country. Even though China's main target may currently be the Soviet Union, China may also subconsciously see the United States and Japan as potential targets. Indeed, in light of Japan's past record of military expansionism, any indication that Japan is now dragging her feet on the hegemony issue could raise anti-Japanese suspicions in Asian countries other than China.

The Miki government places a high priority on the prompt conclusion of a mutually satisfactory treaty of peace and friendship between Japan and China. The word "peace" in this context signifies a perpetual "state of no war" between the two countries, a permanent reversal-as China sees it-of the unfortunate decades since the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95. It will be a pact, not of specific obligations between two allies, but one which affirms the basic principles governing relations between the two countries.

History has demonstrated that the stability of Sino-Japanese relations is inseparable from the stability of Asia as a whole. Without complete reconciliation between Japan and China, there can be no real peace in Asia.


This brings us back to Japanese-Soviet relations, and to Japan's desire for the return of the northern territories. The Soviet Union has long taken the position that a treaty of peace and friendship with Japan could be concluded promptly by shelving this issue. This position was reiterated on February 13, 1975, when Soviet Ambassador to Tokyo Oleg A. Troyanovsky delivered to Prime Minister Miki a personal message to that effect from General Secretary Brezhnev. Miki, however, rejected the Soviet leader's proposal, insisting that the territorial problem be settled first.

The background to the issue has been described previously in these pages.2 Essentially it stems from the Yalta Agreement assigning "the Kuril Islands" to the Soviet Union-so that in the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty Japan renounced all claims to "the Kurils" without precisely defining their geography. Even at the San Francisco Conference the late Shigeru Yoshida, Japan's chief delegate, declared that Kunashiri and Etorofu Islands, the southernmost of the 20-island Kuril Archipelago, were "Japan's inherent territory," and had never been the subject of conflicting claims between Japan and Russia.

In a 1956 Japan-U.S.S.R. joint statement, it was agreed that, of the occupied islands, the Habomai Islands and Shikotan Island shall be handed over to Japan on the conclusion of a Japan-Soviet peace treaty. Technically, therefore, the only pending issue is the reversion of Kunashiri and Etorofu Islands.

However, the Soviet Union now maintains that Japan renounced her claims to all four areas in the San Francisco Treaty, based on the Yalta Agreement and Japan's acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, which stipulated that Japan's territory be restricted to the four major islands plus adjacent small islands. Japan counters that the Soviet Union is not entitled to quote the San Francisco Treaty, which it did not sign; that Japan is not bound by territorial provisions in the Yalta Agreement; and that Soviet annexation of Kunashiri and Etorofu Islands, which are Japan's inherent territory, would be contrary to the Cairo Declaration, in which the wartime Allies disavowed any intention to expand their territory.

The issue is further complicated by a pending territorial issue between China and Japan-the disposition of the Senkaku Islands, a group of barren, uninhabited islets lying between Okinawa and Taiwan. During the period of U.S. administration of Okinawa, the Senkaku Islands were included in the Okinawa Area, as territory under Japan's latent sovereignty. Internationally, the island group had never been the subject of territorial dispute. In 1970, however, undersea petroleum deposits were found in the Senkakus. As a result, when Okinawa reverted to Japanese administration in May 1972, both China and Taiwan disputed Japan's position that the Senkaku Islands, also, automatically reverted to Japanese sovereignty.

The conflict between China and Taiwan on this matter is of no concern to Japan, since in the Sino-Japanese joint statement of 1972 Japan acknowledged Taiwan as an "inseparable part" of China's territory. How Japan and China handle the Senkakus issue between them, however, is of considerable interest to the Soviet Union, not only as a possible precedent for the northern territories issue, but also in relation to Sino-Soviet territorial disputes along their 4,150-mile common border. In Asia, as in Europe, Soviet foreign policy has consistently sought to preserve the immediate postwar status quo on all territorial and boundary questions; an exception even for small islands may thus seem dangerous.

Since Japan and China are presumed to have already reached a tacit understanding to shelve the Senkakus issue, making no mention of it in the presently proposed treaty, the Soviet Union proposes this precedent be followed by Japan and the Soviet Union. Let us, the Soviets say, pigeonhole the northern territories issues in order to conclude a peace and friendship treaty.

The Japanese people see no parallels between the two territorial issues. The Senkaku Islands, they point out, are barren and uninhabited, valuable only for their oil potential. The northern territories, in contrast, were inhabited in prewar days by 16,500 Japanese fishermen. The difference is substantive and touches deep emotions of Japanese nationalism.

In other words, while the arguments on both sides of the northern territories issue are legalistic and technical, the dispute has profound political implications for both sides. A resolution is inconceivable except through an act of political statesmanship.

Prime Minister Miki is reaching for a solution, although he has so far indicated only the general direction of his thinking, which differs from that of his predecessors. In his administrative policy speech to the Diet in January 1975, he stressed "the historical world significance" of constructive cooperation over the next 30 years between Japan and the Soviet Union (including development of the vast untapped natural resources of Siberia), implying that this was far more important to both countries and the world than inflexible confrontation on the territorial dispute. In effect, Miki has appealed to Brezhnev to join him in a search for a solution when the two leaders meet at some future summit.

My own view is that the deadlock cannot be broken under present circumstances, given the adamant geopolitical stance of the Soviet leaders and the powerful nationalistic sentiments which the issue arouses among the Japanese people. I therefore believe Japan should conclude a peace and friendship treaty with the Soviet Union, leaving the matter of Kunashiri and Etorofu Islands frozen until the end of the present century. This proposal is contingent on agreement that the fishing grounds surrounding these islands will be reopened to Japanese fishermen.

This is a case, I am convinced, where the Japanese people can test their idealism, and their faith in humanity can be put to work to modify the international environment in the direction of accommodation and cooperation. If the atmosphere can be steadily improved and mutual confidence built up over the next 25 years, then Japan and the Soviet Union should be able to sit down together at the opening of the twenty-first century to deal amicably and constructively with the territorial problem. If not, then the prospect will be dim indeed for cooperation on considerably more important matters such as energy resources and food.


In his remarks to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on August 6, Prime Minister Miki offered three observations about the changed climate in Asia, following the ending of the war in Vietnam.

First, he noted "a sense of relief, widely shared in Asia . . . that peace has come at last to Southeast Asia." He suggested, "Now is a time for reconciliation," an opportunity for Southeast Asian nations, "on their own initiative, to work out the political terms for mutual accommodation, and for peaceful cooperation on common problems and concerns."

Second, he declared that "the aspirations of these peoples for both peace-building and modern nation-building would be unrealistic without continuing American-and Japanese-cooperation."

Third, he called for maintaining the present power balance in the Northwestern Pacific, through the "continued presence of American troops in the Republic of Korea as an important contribution to Korean peace and Asian stability," while at the same time every effort is made to promote dialogue between North and South Korea, leading to an easing of tensions and, ultimately, to "peaceful unification on the Korean Peninsula."

In my own view, the recent sudden turn of events in Southeast Asia has not seriously undermined the confidence of Asian peoples in the United States, or caused them to become disillusioned with or alienated from the United States. Asians are too prudent for this, and too realistic.

Governments of non-communist Asian countries have sensed for some time that South Vietnam would not be able to resist indefinitely the pressures of the North. Outwardly those non-communist governments supported America's military intervention in Vietnam, in large measure in order to preserve their cooperative relations with the United States. Privately, however, they regretted what they considered to be an unwise American course of action. Now that the United States has been relieved of its Vietnam burden, I believe Asian nations sense that an awkward part of their relationship with the United States has been removed, thus making their relations with the United States more clear-cut. This, at least, is the feeling that prevails among the Japanese.

The case for the Republic of Korea, however, has been different. South Korea dispatched an expeditionary force of nearly 50,000 troops to South Vietnam, together with other free Asian contingents, in a gesture of military cooperation with the United States. Along with America's young men, Korean youth died on the Vietnam battlefields in defense of South Vietnam against communism. The abandonment of South Vietnam by the United States must, therefore, have come as a severe shock to the South Koreans.

This does not mean, however, that South Korea will attempt to detach itself from the United States in disillusionment. Rather, I suspect it has felt itself more heavily dependent on America than before. The threat reportedly made by President Park Chung Hee that the Republic of Korea would go nuclear if the United States abandoned its nuclear defense of his country was, I should think, a way of emphasizing his continued expectations of the United States.

Currently the Republic of Korea is tormented by mounting fears that, taking advantage of the post-Vietnam situation, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the North may launch an attack on the South. Remembering the repressive actions of the North Koreans against the peoples of the South during the war 25 years ago, South Koreans are fiercely anti-communist. This fact has made it possible for the Park government to enforce its present freedom-curbing policy, although I do not believe that policy can endure for long among a vigorously independent people. This, however, is an internal problem for the people of South Korea.

Confrontation on the Korean Peninsula, however, is a great and continuing concern for Japan, her diplomacy and her domestic politics. There are 600,000 permanent Korean residents in Japan, who are split into pro-South and pro-North factions. Feuding between them is a continuing source of political embarrassment for the Japanese government, and an occasional cause of diplomatic difficulties. In addition, sectors of Japanese public opinion, including minorities within the ruling LDP, lean in their sympathies toward the North or the South.

Most significant, however, is the fact that Japan's own security is intimately related to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Recognizing this, the Republic of Korea maintains it is in Japan's best interest to provide generous economic (but not military) support to South Korea.

Japan's economic cooperation with the Republic of Korea has been substantial and growing over the last decade. Cumulative Japanese private investment in South Korean fisheries, manufacturing and other economic development activities totaled more than $400 million as of March 31, 1974, and two-way trade exceeded $4.2 billion in calendar 1974. Yet the very magnitude of this economic cooperation has been a subject of criticism in both countries. In Japan the complaints include the charge that Japanese economic help tends to bolster President Park's dictatorial regime, and that it is being utilized selfishly by big business and corrupt politicians in both countries. In South Korea the principal complaint is that Japan-R.O.K. economic cooperation is not only contributing to political corruption, but is also leading to Japanese domination of the South Korean economy.

Nonetheless, and with due attention to these criticisms, the Japanese government will continue its close economic cooperation with the Republic of Korea.

The security question is even more delicate because of Japan's constitutional inhibitions as a nonmilitary state. The United States, which is committed by treaty to the defense of the Republic of Korea, understandably wants to know whether, in the event of another Korean war, Japan would permit U.S. military forces to operate directly from their bases in Japan. According to the military-bases agreement which accompanies the Japan-U.S. security treaty, military operations launched directly from U.S. bases in Japan are subject to "prior consultations."

In the joint statement issued by the late Prime Minister Eisaku Sato and President Nixon in November 1969, "The Prime Minister stated that the security of the Republic of Korea was essential to Japan's own security." And in a speech immediately following issuance of the joint statement, Sato declared that, in a prior consultation, the Japanese government would decide its attitude "promptly and positively." The two Sato statements are considered a "package," implying virtual assurance of an affirmative response if and when there is need for "prior consultations."

The Miki government has used different language, but the basic line is the same. In the joint announcement to the press issued August 6, 1975, by Miki and Ford, the two leaders "agreed that the security of the Republic of Korea is essential to the maintenance of peace on the Korean Peninsula, which in turn is necessary for the peace and security in East Asia, including Japan." It is easy in time of peace to indulge in abstract speculation whether Japan would say Yes or No in some future prior consultations, depending on the circumstances. In an actual crisis threatening South Korean territory, which lies only a stone's throw from Japan, it is inconceivable that the Japanese would hesitate or quibble.

Since a second Korean war would inevitably involve Japan, directly or otherwise, the ultimate challenge to Japanese diplomacy is to influence events away from war and toward a stable peace on the whole of the Korean Peninsula. Peaceful reunification of the two Koreas, the common aspiration of all Koreans, is the ideal, however remote it may seem. The specific processes leading to peaceful reunification, however, are essentially the concern of South and North Korea, and should not be complicated by the intervention of a third party. Even so, the North and South should be encouraged to expand the scope of their contacts and dialogue, paving the way at least for peaceful coexistence.

Japanese diplomacy can and should help create an international environment which will make this goal a more realistic possibility. While continuing its economic cooperation with the Republic of Korea, Japan will seek closer contact with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as well, in the fields of trade, cultural cooperation and visitor exchanges. Japan should also explore the possibilities for the reciprocal opening with North Korea of trade offices or consulates, while simultaneously seeking South Korea's understanding for such efforts.

The Miki government would welcome the simultaneous entry of North and South Korea into the United Nations, not as a device for freezing the status of the "two Koreas," but to help expand the venue of dialogue for their eventual reunification, while reducing the chances of an armed clash during the interval.

On a broader front, it would be helpful for the four major powers concerned-Japan, the United States, China and the Soviet Union-to hold bilateral or multilateral talks on the forms of international cooperation which would help stabilize the situation on the Korean Peninsula. To this end, I believe Japan and the United States should make efforts at reconciliation with North Korea, while China and the Soviet Union make parallel efforts in their relations with the South.

Finally, however, the current North-South equilibrium must be maintained throughout the period that these initiatives for cooperation and stabilization are in process. This means, of course, maintaining the deterrent of the U.S. military presence in South Korea. As Miki commented in Washington in August, "We trust there will be no sudden change in this U.S. policy."


In its time-compressed race toward industrialization and modernization over the past century or so, and especially in the last half-dozen years, the Japanese people have learned unforgettably the lessons of their interdependence with the global economy. As the only non-Western nation so far to have achieved the status of one of the world's major economic powers, Japan has been an appreciative beneficiary of the postwar international economic system.

This system, based on fair and widening access by all nations to each other's markets, goods and raw materials, now faces a range of challenges. The more transitory include the recent spate of worldwide inflation and recession, which may at last be responding to various national and multilateral remedies, and the global energy crisis, for which solutions are still being sought. The deeper challenges of national and regional autarky, protectionism, cartelism, and the politicization of both import and export trade are threats to the basic structure of the world economy.

To some extent these challenges to a market-based world economic order are ideologically motivated. But the deeper complaint is the uneven distribution of the world's wealth, a situation in which more than half the world's population lives in poverty. Until these disparities are substantially corrected, there can be no stable world peace.

Japan's own experience demonstrates, as Prime Minister Miki pointed out recently, that "Poverty will be eliminated only when the developing countries are able to educate and train their people and acquire the capital, organization and productive capacity to generate new wealth as self-reliant participants in an interdependent and cooperating world economy."

This means strengthening and improving, rather than abandoning, the existing world economic structure. Recognizing this, the Japanese people over the past decade have liberalized their own economy and expanded their overseas aid and private investment in the developing economies at a faster rate than any other nation on earth. Because of their economic vulnerabilities, and development experience, the Japanese have become one of the world's most active proponents of global economic interdependence.

What remains to be demonstrated is whether the Japanese are prepared to apply the same principle of interdependence to the political sphere, and to engage their nation as actively in creative efforts to help restructure a more stable and peaceful world political order.

Although they have been remarkably successful on the world economic scene, the Japanese people still are highly reticent about taking initiatives in world politics. This is to an extent a legacy of defeat and occupation, of extended dependence on the United States for both economic prosperity and national security, and of the sense of impotence which flows from the postwar constitutional decision to remain perpetually a nonmilitary nation.

Yet the unarmed neutrality advocated by the largest opposition party is at best a naive isolationism, contrary in spirit to the principle of interdependence which Japan embraces in all other areas of her foreign policy. At the other end of Japan's political spectrum, the hawkish LDP minority which urges substantial Japanese rearmament (and perhaps contemplates going nuclear if the international situation deteriorates further) is at odds with the realities of small, crowded, island Japan's strategic vulnerabilities as neighbor to the world's vastest and most populous nuclear powers.

Bridging the gap between the idealism and sense of impotence of the Japanese people and the realities of contemporary global politics is, in the final analysis, a problem of pragmatic political self-education. The political ideals of the Japanese people need to be tested against the realities of such concrete problems as concluding peace and friendship treaties with China and the Soviet Union, promoting stabilization of the Korean Peninsula, fostering both nation-building and peace-building in Southeast Asia, and giving active voice in world councils to the Japanese people's convictions on nuclear and general disarmament and the strengthening of international conciliating and peace-making institutions.

This is an agenda without precedent in world history, with the possible exception of the remarkably idealistic role which a relatively unarmed United States performed in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century world, which was dominated by European balance-of-power politics. Yet it is probably the only role Japan can play, under present circumstances, which will be consistent both with the political ideals and inhibitions of the Japanese people and with the uncertain but hopefully still malleable structures of a global community seeking to reify its interdependence.

Politics in a democracy is always the art of the possible. In the complex and multiparty Japanese democracy, with its powerful cultural tradition of consensus, the possible in recent decades has been that diplomacy which evoked the least strong domestic or international opposition. Times are changing internationally, and domestically there is now at least a chance for the emergence of a more activist Japanese diplomacy in those political and economic areas where Japan can influence the trend of history in the directions her people yearn for.

I believe there are several specific areas where Japan's voice can be both idealistic and practical.

One is on the energy front, where resource-poor Japan is clearly the most vulnerable of all the world's advanced industrialized economies, importing nearly 100 percent of her petroleum. Here I propose that Japan invite the participation of leading energy-producing and energy-consuming nations to launch, in the common global interest, a multilateral crash program-a pooling of technology and capital-for the purpose of speeding the development of alternative sources of energy. It is in the common interest that depletable energy resources, such as petroleum, be conserved for more exotic uses such as petrochemicals and fertilizers. And it is vital to future generations that ample energy be available to fuel economic plenty for all mankind.

Another area is the control and reduction of armaments, which are in themselves a threat to the peace. I believe Japan, as a major unarmed state, has the moral authority to call on the five great nuclear powers-the United States, the Soviet Union, China, Great Britain and France-to convene negotiations for the mutual reduction and control of nuclear armaments, with proper attention to safeguarding during the transition both the nuclear power balance and the security of non-nuclear states.

For Japan's part, although she is capable of going nuclear, an overwhelming majority of her people are determined not to do so. Delays in ratifying the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty have been due solely to domestic partisan politics. Nor will Japan rearm, a step that would unquestionably be met with apprehension by her Asian neighbors. The Miki government intends to hold Japan's defense capacity to the maximum peacetime levels contemplated in the current buildup plan-180,000 land troops, 250,000-280,000 tons of naval craft, and 800 military aircraft. The defense budget will continue to be limited to less than one percent of GNP, and any further buildup will not be quantitative, but qualitative.

Finally, I suggest that Japan has an obligation to take a leadership role in promoting intercultural education, understanding and respect as the very foundations for the stable and peaceful world community Japan's idealism envisages. Few nations have faced greater obstacles of language and other cultural barriers to communication with the rest of the world. None has profited more from the generous efforts of others to penetrate those barriers. This year the headquarters of the U.N. University was established in Tokyo, an honor which must be reciprocated by the people of Japan through expanded public and private support to worldwide exchanges of persons, ideas and information.

The trust the people of Japan chose in 1947 to place "in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world" is ready to be translated into a new realism in Japan's diplomacy. I am confident that this generation of Japanese is equal to the challenge.


1 Ed. Note: See Alexander Eckstein's article on Chinese trade at p. 134 of this issue, especially p. 145.

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