Japan faces threats to its land, sea and airspace, as well as to the lives of its people, as Chinese vessels repeatedly enter waters around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, the government’s annual foreign policy report said Friday.
Under such circumstances, the Diplomatic Bluebook, as the Foreign Ministry’s report is widely known, says the government is resolved to buttress the alliance with the United States as a cornerstone of national security policy, because enhancing deterrence is “indispensable.”
The report, submitted by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to the Cabinet, says no ownership dispute exists between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands. It restates the position, firmly held by the government for decades, that the uninhabited islets, called Diaoyu in China, are “inherent Japanese territory both historically and under international law.”
The report describes North Korea’s nuclear ambitions as posing a threat not just to Asia but to the entire international community.
It continues to refer to Takeshima, a pair of tiny islands in the Sea of Japan that are controlled by South Korea, as Japan’s “inherent territory.” South Korea calls the islets Dokdo.
In Seoul later Friday, a South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman issued a statement that strongly protested the contents of the report.
The report also touched on another territorial row with Russia, saying Japan is ready to make great efforts to resolve the dispute over control of four islands off Hokkaido — Kunashiri, Etorofu, Shikotan and the Habomai islets — although the two sides are still far apart on the issue. Japan wants the islands returned.
On the economic front, the report says Japan will “try its best to realize its national interest in a maximum manner through strong negotiating power” as it tries to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks as soon as possible.
The report renews Japan’s stated determination to tackle terrorism following the Algerian hostage incident mounted by Islamist militants in January, in which 10 Japanese were among dozens of foreign workers killed.
Kishida to attend G-8
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday he will attend the two-day Group of Eight foreign ministerial meeting next week in London to discuss North Korea and Syria.
During a five-day trip to Europe starting Monday, Kishida will first attend a ministerial meeting Tuesday in the Netherlands between 10 nonnuclear countries to discuss nonproliferation and disarmament.
After attending the meeting of the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative in The Hague, he is scheduled to go to London to attend the G-8 meeting on Wednesday and Thursday.
“At the G-8, we plan to discuss regional affairs such as North Korea and Syria, and strengthening efforts for cross-border issues, including antiterrorism measures,” Kishida said.
The G-8 consists of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. A representative of the European Union is also expected to attend the foreign ministerial meeting.