Efforts for Peace, Prosperity, & Stability Worldwide

Article excerpt

As we stand at the dawn of the new millennium, the world faces a number of challenges in the political, economic and social fields. Freed from the fear of a global war by the end of the Cold War, the world is still witnessing frequent outbreaks of ethnic and regional conflicts. It is incumbent upon humanity to overcome its differences stemming from ethnic and religious identity, and build an international community that can resolve issues through dialogue and cooperation. It is dialogue, not confrontation that serves as the key.

Advances in the globalization of the economy and revolutionary changes in telecommunications technology have given rise to unparalleled prosperity in the international community. Nevertheless, we must not forget to take care of the people and regions left behind in the wake of such change. To ensure the sustained stability and prosperity of the international community, the international community must continue to cooperate together to address such issues as poverty and the socially vulnerable, as well as maintaining social justice and global environmental issues.

After many ordeals in various countries, freedom, democracy and respect for basic human rights, the central pillars of the Constitution of Japan, are now more firmly established in the international community, and this should be warmly welcomed. The international community must continue its efforts to prove that putting these values into practice serves as a cornerstone for the peace and development of the society and the economy. In order to realize such shared values, we must promote dialogues among countries and civilizations with differing cultural and social backgrounds with a spirit of sensitivity and tolerance.

Japanese Foreign Policy

In recognition of this, I am determined to exert all my efforts under the banner of "foreign policy that opens up a path to a brighter future together with the Japanese people," to move a step closer to achieving "a more peaceful and stable future," "a more humane future," and "a more prosperous future."

Relations with Other Countries

In order to create "a future of greater peace and stability," endeavors toward ensuring the peace and stability of both Japan and the Asia-Pacific region are indispensable. And it is our alliance with the United States that serves as the foundation for this purpose.

The United States, sharing with Japan such values as freedom, democracy and respect for basic human rights, is a nation which has the willingness and ability to play a leadership role in the international community not only on security issues, but also on issues such as the Middle East peace process and trade. Our cooperation with the United States is the cornerstone of Japan's foreign policy. In order to further enhance the credibility of the Japan-US Security arrangements, the Government of Japan will continue to make efforts to ensure the effectiveness of the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation.

I recently visited Okinawa, where I was able to familiarize myself with the current situation in Okinawa. In regard to the relocation of Futenma Air Station, I would like to offer my heartfelt respects to the efforts of all involved, including Governor Keiichi Inamine of Okinawa Prefecture and Mayor Takeo Kishimoto of Nago City. I would also like to make every effort in dealing appropriately with issues in relation to the relocation of Futenma

Air Station, based on the Cabinet decision of 28 December 1999. I will, in all sincerity, continue to devote myself to reducing as much as possible the heavy burden taken on by the people of Okinawa Prefecture for the sake of peace and security of Japan.

In addition to the presence and engagement of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region in which Japan is located, the strengthening of bilateral relations with neighboring countries is of paramount importance, and as part of these efforts, it is of utmost necessity that we deepen multilateral dialogue and cooperation in the region. …