Conciliatory note on South Korea . . .
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened the annual parliamentary season today with a powerful address focused on foreign policy. Abe referred to South Korea as “our most important neighbour” and stressed the need for a decisive rapprochement between the two nations after more than a year of tensions triggered by Korean demands for compensation over wartime forced labour. Abe’s discourse made clear that future-oriented relations with Seoul will be a priority in 2020.
Shared leadership with China . . .
Abe also announced his intention to seize the moment to establish “a new era for Japanese diplomacy” to guarantee peace and prosperity in the region and in world affairs. He said that Japan, alongside China, bear “enormous responsibilities” for global peace and prosperity. His announcement coincides with Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi’s trip to Beijing to prepare for President Xi Jinping’s official visit to Tokyo this spring, in which the two sides hope to secure stronger ties.
Looking West . . .
Japan is also celebrating the 60th anniversary of the agreement for mutual co-operation and security with the United States. Joint statements and conferences in Tokyo and Washington have reflected on the strong partnership since the Second World War. Canada, meanwhile, is also working to keep Japan close as a key ally in upholding the liberal international order in trade and security. As part of this relationship, the University of British Columbia is hosting a two-day conference this Friday on that very issue, analyzing the multi-dimensional facets of Japan’s leadership in Asia.
- Japan Times: In policy speech, Abe vows to establish a new era of Japanese diplomacy
- South China Morning Post: Japan vows to tackle outstanding issues with China
- University of BC: Japan’s leadership in the liberal international order