Foreign relations of Japan


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Foreign relations of Japan is handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Since the surrender after World War II and the Treaty of San Francisco, Japanese diplomatic policy has been based on close partnership with the United States and the emphasis on the international cooperation such as the United Nations. In the Cold War, Japan took a part in the Western world's confrontation of the Soviet Union in East Asia. In the rapid economic developments in the 1960s and 1970s, Japan recovered its influences and became regarded as one of the major powers in the world. Japanese influences are viewed as highly positive[citation needed], except by two countries: China and South Korea.[1]

During the Cold War, Japanese foreign policy was not self-assertive, relatively focused on their economic growth. However, the end of the Cold War and bitter lessons from the Gulf War changed the policy slowly. Japanese government decided to participate in the Peacekeeping operations by the UN, and sent their troops to Cambodia, Mozambique, Golan Heights and the East Timor in the 1990s and 2000s.[2] After the September 11 attacks, Japanese naval vessels have been assigned to resupply duties in the Indian Ocean to the present date. The Ground Self-Defense Force also dispatched their troops to Southern Iraq for the restoration of basic infrastructures.

Beyond its immediate neighbors, Japan has pursued a more active foreign policy in recent years, recognizing the responsibility which accompanies its economic strength. Prime Minister Fukuda stressed a changing direction in his recent policy speech to the Diet: "Japan aspires to become a hub of human resource development as well as for research and intellectual contribution to further promote cooperation in the field of peace-building."[3] This follows the modest success of a Japanese-conceived peace plan which became the foundation for nationwide elections in Cambodia in 1998.


East Asia


Japan strongly supports the U.S. in its efforts to encourage Pyongyang to abide by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Despite the August 31, 1998 North Korean missile test which overflew the Home Islands, Japan has maintained its support for the Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and the Agreed Framework, which seeks to freeze the North Korean nuclear program. The U.S., Japan, and South Korea closely coordinate and consult trilaterally on policy toward North Korea, at least on a government level. Japan has limited economic and commercial ties with North Korea. Japanese normalization talks halted when North Korea refused to discuss a number of issues with Japan.

Japan and South Korea have had many disputes. The former president of South Korea Roh Moo-hyun rejected a conference with the Prime Minister of Japan. However, both the former Prime Minister of Japan, Fukuda Yasuo, and Korean President Lee Myung-bak emphasized the importance of "open[ing] a new era in Japan-South Korea relations."


People's Republic of China

During the Meiji Era, China was one of the first countries to feel Japanese Imperialism. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, relations with Japan changed from hostility and an absence of contact to cordiality and extremely close cooperation in many fields. During the 1960s the two countries resumed trade for the first time since World War II under the Liao-Takasaki Agreement. On September 29, 1972, Japan and China signed a treaty establishing diplomatic relations between the states. The 1990s led to an enormous growth in China’s economic welfare. Trade between Japan and China was one of the many reasons China was able to grow in the double-digit rates during 1980s and 1990s. Japan was in the forefront among leading industrialized nations in restoring closer economic and political relations with China. Resumption of Japan's multi-billion dollar investments to China and increased visits to China by Japanese officials, culminating in the October 1992 visit of Emperor Akihito, gave a clear indication that Japan considered closer ties with China in its economic and strategic interest. Despite a 1995 apology regarding World War II by Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, tensions still remain, mostly because many Chinese feel there is a lack of true remorse for wartime crimes committed by Imperial Japanese forces. This has been reinforced by numerous visits to the Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese Prime Ministers, attempts to revise textbooks by Japanese nationalists, the continued dispute over Japan's atrocities in the Nanking Massacre, and the resurgence of nationalism and militarism in Japan.

Republic of China (Taiwan)

Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895 and was a major Japanese prefecture in World War II. Taiwan was liberated from Japan by the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951. Current relations are guided by the 1972 Japan-PRC Joint Communique. Since the joint Communique, Japan has maintained non-governmental, working-level relations with Taiwan. Japan refers to the Republic of China on Taiwan with the neutral name "Taiwan."

South-East Asia

By 1990 Japan's interaction with the vast majority of Asia-Pacific countries, especially its burgeoning economic exchanges, was multifaceted and increasingly important to the recipient countries. The developing countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regarded Japan as critical to their development. Japan's aid to the ASEAN countries totaled US $1.9 billion in Japanese fiscal year (FY) 1988 versus about US $333 million for the United States during U.S. FY 1988. Japan was the number one foreign investor in the ASEAN countries, with cumulative investment as of March 1989 of about US $14.5 billion, more than twice that of the United States. Japan's share of total foreign investment in ASEAN countries in the same period ranged from 70 to 80 percent in Thailand to 20 percent in Indonesia.

In the late 1980s, the Japanese government was making a concerted effort to enhance its diplomatic stature, especially in Asia. Toshiki Kaifu's much publicized spring 1991 tour of five Southeast Asian nations—Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines—culminated in a May 3 major foreign policy address in Singapore, in which he called for a new partnership with the ASEAN and pledged that Japan would go beyond the purely economic sphere to seek an "appropriate role in the political sphere as a nation of peace." As evidence of this new role, Japan took an active part in promoting negotiations to resolve the Cambodian conflict.

In 1997, the ASEAN member nations and the People's Republic of China, South Korea and Japan agreed to hold yearly talks to further strengthen regional cooperation, the ASEAN Plus Three meetings. In 2005 the ASEAN plus Three countries together with India, Australia and New Zealand held the inaugural East Asia Summit (EAS).


Japan has an embassy in Phnom Penh. Trade is sizable between the two countries:

  • Japan to Cambodia: 14.0 billion yen (2006)
  • Cambodia to Japan: 9.5 billion yen (2006)

Japanese investment in Cambodia includes Phnom Penh Commercial Bank, a joint venture of Hyundai Switzerland and Japanese SBI Group, opened in 2008. Japan remains Cambodia’s top donor country providing some US$1.2 billion in total overseas development assistance (ODA) during the period since 1992.[5] In 2006, Japanese and Cambodian governments signed an agreement outlining a new Japanese aid program worth US$59 million.[6]

The Japanese Government has provided significant assistance for demining and education.[7][8]



Japan has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, which was established in 1957. Malaysia has an embassy in Tokyo. The Japanese and Malaysian Government had visited each other on multiple occasions. Notable visits include the King of Malaysia visiting Japan in 2005 while in 2006, the Emperor and Empress of Japan visited Malaysia.


The Philippines gained independence from the United States in 1945. Diplomatic relations were re-established in 1956, when a war reparations agreement was concluded. By the end of the 1950s, Japanese companies and individual investors had begun to return to the Philippines.


Japan-Thailand relations span a period from the 17th century to the present. Contacts had an early start with Japanese trade on Red seal ships and the installation of Japanese communities on Siamese soil, only to be broken off with Japan's period of seclusion. Contacts resumed in the 19th century and developed to the point where Japan is today one of Thailand's foremost economic partners. Thailand and Japan share the distinction of never having lost sovereignty during the Colonial period.


Vietnamese-Japanese relations stretch back to the at least the 16th century, when the two countries engaged in friendly trade. Modern relations between the two countries are based on Vietnam's developing economy and Japan's role as an investor and foreign aid donor.

South Asia

In South Asia, Japan's role is mainly that of an aid donor. Japan's aid to seven South Asian countries totaled US$1.1 billion in 1988 and 1989, dropping to just under US$900 million in 1990. Except for Pakistan, which received heavy inputs of aid from the United States, all other South Asian countries receive most of their aid from Japan. Four South Asian nations—India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka—are in the top ten list of Tokyo's aid recipients worldwide. A point to note is that Indian Government has a no receive aid policy since the tsunami that struck India but Indian registerred NGOs look to Japan for much investment in their projects

Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu signaled a broadening of Japan's interest in South Asia with his swing through the region in April 1990. In an address to the Indian parliament, Kaifu stressed the role of free markets and democracy in bringing about "a new international order," and he emphasized the need for a settlement of the Kashmir territorial dispute between India and Pakistan and for economic liberalization to attract foreign investment and promote dynamic growth. To India, which was very short of hard currency, Kaifu pledged a new concessional loan of ¥100 billion (about US$650 million) for the coming year. Sri Lanka and Japan are two close friends since the early stages of post World War (II) since Sri Lanka extended a great support for Japanese development plans at the UN secretarial discussions.


Bangladeshi-Japanese relations were established in February 1972.[9] Japan is Bangladesh's 11th-largest export market; imports from Bangladesh make up 26% of all Japanese imports from the least developed countries, second only to those from Cambodia. Common imports from Bangladesh to Japan include leather goods, ready-made garments, and shrimp.[10] By 2004, Japan had become Bangladesh's fourth-largest source of foreign direct investment, behind the United States, United Kingdom, and Malaysia. Japan's political goals in its relationship with Bangladesh include gaining support for their bid to join the United Nations Security Council, and securing markets for their finished goods. Japan is a significant source of development aid to Bangladesh.[11]


Indian, Japanese and US naval warships take part in a military exercise near Bōsō Peninsula in 2007. India is one of the only three nations with whom Japan has a security pact, the other two being the United States and Australia.[12]

Throughout history, bilateral foreign relations between Japan and India have generally been friendly and strong. In December 2006, Prime Minister Singh's visit to Japan culminated in the signing of the "Joint Statement Towards Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership."

According to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's arc of freedom theory, it is in Japan's interests to develop closer ties with India, world's most populous democracy, while its relations with China remain chilly. To this end, Japan has funded many infrastructure projects in India, most notably in New Delhi's metro subway system and Maruti.[13]

Indian applicants have been welcomed in 2006/7 to the JET Programme, starting with just one slot available in 2006 and 41 in 2007.

India and Japan signed a security cooperation agreement in which both will hold military exercises, police the Indian Ocean and conduct military-to-military exchanges on fighting terrorism, making India one of only three countries, the other two being the United States and Australia, with which Japan has such a security pact.[12] There are 25,000 Indians in Japan as of 2008.



  • There has been a regular exchange of high level visits between the two countries.
  • The 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, jointly celebrated by the two countries in 2002, was a significant landmark in the history of this friendship.
  • There are at least 10,000 Pakistanis residing in Japan.

Sri Lanka

  • Japan has an embassy in Colombo.[14]
  • Sri Lanka has an embassy in Tokyo[15]

North America


Japan is accredited to Barbados from its Embassy in Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) and an honorary consulate in Bridgetown. Barbados is represented in Japan through a non-resident ambassador in Bridgetown.


Diplomatic relations between both countries officially began in 1950 with the opening of the Japanese consulate in Ottawa. In 1929, Canada opened its Tokyo legation, the first in Asia;[16] and in that same year, Japan its Ottawa consulate to legation form.[17]

Some Canadian-Japanese contacts predate the mutual establishment of permanent legations. The first known Japanese immigrant to Canada, Manzo Nagano, landed in New Westminster, British Columbia in 1877.[18] Japan's consulate in Vancouver was established in 1889, 40 years before its embassy was opened in Ottawa in 1929.[19]

Canadians G. G. Cochran helped in founding Doshisha University in Kyoto, and Davidson McDonald helped in establishing Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.[17]

In the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, a Canadian steamship, the RMS Empress of Australia and her captain, Samuel Robinson achieved international acclaim for stalwart rescue efforts during the immediate aftermath of that disaster.[20]

Canadian military attaché Herbert Cyril Thacker served in the field with Japanese forces in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05), for which the Japanese government awarded him the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Third Class[21] and the Japanese War medal for service during that campaign.[22]

Canada and Japan have had diplomatic relations since 1928. Both countries are characterized by their active role in the Asia-Pacific community, as well as a relationship consisting of important economic, political, and socio-cultural ties. As major international donors, both Canada and Japan are strongly committed to promoting human rights, sustainable development and peace initiatives.

Canada-Japan relations are underpinned by their partnership in multilateral institutions: the G-7/8; the United Nations; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Quad (Canada, the European Union, Japan and the United States), and by their common interest in the Pacific community, including participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

H.I.M. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Canada in 2009.[23]


The Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation concluded in 1888 between Japan and Mexico was the nation's first "equal" treaty with any country;[24] which overshadows Tokugawa Ieyasu's pre-Edo period initiatives which sought to establish official relations with the New Spain in Mexico.[25]

In 1897, the 35 members of the so-called Enomoto Colonization Party settle in the Mexican state of Chiapas. This was the first organized emigration from Japan to Latin America.[24]

President Álvaro Obregón was awarded Japan's Order of the Chrysanthemum at a special ceremony in Mexico City. On November 27, 1924, Baron Shigetsuma Furuya, Special Ambassador from Japan to Mexico, conferred the honor on Obregón. It was reported that this had been the first time that the Order had been conferred outside the Imperial family.[26]

In 1952, Mexico becomes the second country to ratify the San Francisco Peace Treaty, preceded only by the United Kingdom.[24]

Mexico and Japan on September 17, 2004, signed the "Agreement Between Japan and The United Mexican States For The Strengthening of The Economic Partnership." This was the among many historic steps led by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to strengthen global economic stability.

United States

The United States is Japan's closest ally, and Japan relies on the U.S. for its national security to a high degree. As two of the world's top three economic powers, both countries also rely on close economic ties for their wealth, despite ongoing and occasionally acrimonious trade frictions.

Although its constitution and government policy preclude an offensive military role for Japan in international affairs, Japanese cooperation with the United States through the 1960 U.S.-Japan Security Treaty has been important to the peace and stability of East Asia. Currently, there are domestic discussions about possible reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution. All postwar Japanese governments have relied on a close relationship with the United States as the foundation of their foreign policy and have depended on the mutual security treaty for strategic protection.

The relationship probably hit a post-war nadir around the early 1990s, when Japan's "economic rise" was seen as a threat to American power. Japan was the primary financier of the Gulf War, yet received major criticism in some US circles for its refusal to commit actual military support. Following the collapse of the so-called Bubble economy and the 1990s boom in the US, the Japanese economy was perceived as less of a threat to US interests. Some observers still feel that Japan's willingness to deploy troops in support of current US operations in Iraq, as spear-headed by Koizumi and the conservative LDP, reflects a vow not to be excluded from the group of countries the US considers friends. This decision may reflect a realpolitik understanding of the threat Japan faces from a rapidly modernizing China, which from its continued and indeed growing pattern of anti-Japanese demonstrations reveals the belief that old historical scores remain unsettled.



Katsuya Okada (left) and Stephen Smith (right)

Australia-Japan relations have elements of tension as well as acknowledged mutuality of strong interests, beliefs and friendship. Memories of World War II linger among the older members of the Australian public, as does a contemporary fear of Japanese economic domination over countries, particularly Australia, although such fears have fallen off in response to Japan's economic stagnation in the 1990s. At the same time, government and business leaders see Japan as a vital export market and an essential element in Australia's strong future growth and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region.

Australia is also a major source of food and raw materials for Japan. In 1990 Australia accounted for 5.3 percent of total Japanese imports, a share that held relatively steady in the late 1980s. Due to its ability to export raw materials, Australia had a trade surplus with Japan. Australia was the largest single supplier of coal, iron ore, wool, and sugar to Japan in 1990. Australia is also a supplier of uranium. Japanese investment by 1988 made Australia the single largest source of Japanese regional imports. Resource development projects in Australia attracted Japanese capital, as did trade protectionism by necessitating local production for the Australian market. Investments in Australia totaled US$8.1 billion in 1988, accounting for 4.4 percent of Japanese direct investment abroad. Australia and Japanese relations have been growing for some time and will most likely continue to do so in the future. There is some tension regarding the issue of whaling.


Japan and the Kingdom of Tonga have maintained official diplomatic relations since July 1970.[27] Japan is Tonga's leading donor in the field of technical aid.[27] The Japanese government describes its relations with Tonga as "excellent", and states that "the Imperial family of Japan and the Royal family of Tonga have developed a cordial and personal relationship over the years".[27]


The first Japanese ambassadors to a Western country traveled to Spain in 1613. All five converted to Christianity and were promptly executed upon their return[citation needed], bans on Christianity having been imposed in their absence.

Although cultural and noneconomic ties with Western Europe grew significantly during the 1980s, the economic nexus remained by far the most important element of Japanese-West European relations throughout the decade. Events in West European relations, as well as political, economic, or even military matters, were topics of concern to most Japanese commentators because of the immediate implications for Japan. The major issues centred on the effect of the coming West European economic unification on Japan's trade, investment, and other opportunities in Western Europe. Some West European leaders were anxious to restrict Japanese access to the newly integrated European Union (until November 1993, the European Community), but others appeared open to Japanese trade and investment. In partial response to the strengthening economic ties among nations in Western Europe and to the United States-Canada-Mexico North American Free Trade Agreement, Japan and other countries along the Asia-Pacific rim began moving in the late 1980s toward greater economic cooperation.

On July 18, 1991, after several months of difficult negotiations, Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu signed a joint statement with the Dutch prime minister and head of the European Community Council, Ruud Lubbers, and with the European Commission president, Jacques Delors, pledging closer Japanese-European Community consultations on foreign relations, scientific and technological cooperation, assistance to developing countries, and efforts to reduce trade conflicts. Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials hoped that this agreement would help to broaden Japanese-European Community political links and raise them above the narrow confines of trade disputes.

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Armenia 1992-09-07 See Armenia–Japan relations
 Austria 1869 See Austria–Japan relations
 Belarus See Foreign relations of Belarus
 Bulgaria 1959 See Bulgaria–Japan relations
 Croatia See Foreign relations of Croatia
 Cyprus See Foreign relations of Cyprus
 Czech Republic 1920[30] and restored 1957[31] See Foreign relations of the Czech Republic
 Denmark 1867 See Denmark-Japan relations
 Estonia See Foreign relations of Estonia
 Estonia 1959 See Japan – European Union relations
 Finland See Foreign relations of Finland
 France See France–Japan relations

The history of Franco-Japanese relations (日仏関係 Nichi-Futsu kankei?) goes back to the early 17th century, when a Japanese samurai and ambassador on his way to Rome landed for a few days in Southern France, creating a sensation. France and Japan have enjoyed a very robust and progressive relationship spanning centuries through various contacts in each others' countries by senior representatives, strategic efforts, and cultural exchanges.

 Georgia 1992-08-03 See Georgia–Japan relations
 Germany January 1861 See Germany–Japan relations

Regular meetings between the two countries have led to several cooperations. In 2004 German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi agreed upon cooperations in the assistance for reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan,[32][33] the promotion of economic exchange activities,[34] youth and sports exchanges[35] as well as exchanges and cooperation in science, technology and academic fields.[36]

 Greece 1899 See Greece–Japan relations

There has been a Greek embassy in Tokyo since 1960, and a Japanese embassy in Athens since the same year, when it was decided to upgrade the Japanese Consulate which had opened in 1956. Since then the two countries have enjoyed excellent relations in all fields, and cooperate closely.[37]

 Holy See 1942-03 The first Papal visit to Japan took place in 1981. the present Apostolic Nuncio to Japan is Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello (since 2005) Japan first sent an ambassador, Ken Harada, to the Vatican during World War II.
 Hungary 1959-08 See Hungary–Japan relations
 Iceland See Foreign relations of Iceland
 Ireland See Foreign relations of the Republic of Ireland
 Italy See Foreign relations of Italy
 Kosovo See Japanese–Kosovan relations

Japan recognised it in 18 March 2008.[40] The first Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Kosovo is Akio Tanaka. He is subordinate to the Japanese Embassy in Vienna, Austria[41]

  • Japan has an embassy in Vilnius, established in 1997.[42]
  • In 1998, Lithuania has an embassy in Tokyo.[43]
  • Ambassador to Lithuania is Miyoko Akashi, ambassador to Japan is Dainius Kamaitis.
  • In 2007 the Emperor and Empress of Japan Akihito and Michiko paid an official visit in Lithuania.
 Netherlands See Japan–Netherlands relations

The relations between Japan and the Netherlands after 1945 have been a triangular relationship. The invasion and occupation of the Netherlands East Indies during World War II brought about the destruction of the colonial state in Indonesia, as the Japanese removed as much of the Dutch government as they could, weakening the post-war grip the Netherlands had over the territory. Under pressure from the United States, the Netherlands recognised Indonesian sovereignty in 1949 (see United States of Indonesia).

 Moldova 1992-03-16
 Montenegro July 24, 2006 See Japan–Montenegro relations

Japan recognised Montenegro on 16 June 2006 and established diplomatic relations on 24 July 2006. Montenegro had declared war on Japan in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese war and never signed a peace treaty until 2006, shortly before the opening of diplomatic relations. The war lasted for 101 years. Trade, mostly related to electronics, exports from Japan to Montenegro (163 million yen per annum) outweigh Japan's imports (2 million yen per annum).

 Romania August 1917
 Russia See Japan–Russia relations

Japan's relations with Russia are hampered by the two sides' inability to resolve their territorial dispute over the four islands that make up the Northern Territories (Kuriles), which the U.S.S.R. seized towards the end of World War II. The stalemate has prevented conclusion of a peace treaty formally ending the war. The dispute over the Kuril Islands exacerbated the Japan-Russo relations when the Japanese government published a new guideline for school textbooks on July 16, 2008 to teach Japanese children that their country has sovereignty over the Kuril Islands. The Russian public was outraged by the action the Foreign Minister of Russia criticized the action while reaffirming its sovereignty over the islands.[46][47]

 Serbia 1997-05-20 See Japan–Serbia relations
  • Japan has an embassy in Belgrade.
  • Serbia has an embassy in Tokyo and an honorary consulate in Osaka.
 Slovenia 1992-10
 Soviet Union See Japan – Soviet Union relations

Relations between the Soviet Union (1922–1991) and Japan were always tense. For one, both countries were in opposite camps during the Cold War. A second strain on relations is territorial conflicts, dealing with both the Kuril Islands dispute and the South Sakhalin dispute. These two, and a number of smaller conflicts, prevented both countries from signing a peace treaty after World War II, and even in 2007 matters remain unresolved.

Strains in Japan-Soviet Union relations have deep historical roots, going back to the competition of the Japanese and Russian empires for dominance in Northeast Asia. In 1993, nearly fifty years after the end of World War II, a state of war between Japan and Russia existed technically because the government in Moscow had refused in the intervening years to sign the 1951 peace treaty. On July 30, 1998, the newly elected Japanese prime minister Keizō Obuchi had focused on major issues: signing a peace treaty with Russia, and reviving the Japanese economy. Before his death, his policy with the Russian Federation has eluded implementation and the relations between the two nations remained under a state of war. The main stumbling block in all Japan's subsequent efforts to establish bilateral relations on what it called "a truly stable basis" was the territorial dispute over the Kurils, which are known as the Northern Territories in Japan.

 Spain First contact in 1613, officialized in 1868.
 Switzerland 1864
 Turkey 1924
 Ukraine 1992-01-26 See Japan–Ukraine relations
  • Japan extended diplomatic recognition to the Ukrainian state on December 28, 1991, immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union
  • Ukraine maintains an embassy in Tokyo.[54]
  • Japan maintains an embassy in Kiev.[55]
 United Kingdom See Japan – United Kingdom relations

The relationship between the United Kingdom and Japan began in 1600 with the arrival of William Adams (Adams the Pilot, Miura Anjin) on the shores of Kyūshū at Usuki in Ōita Prefecture. During the Sakoku period (1641–1853) there were no relations, but the treaty of 1854 saw the resumption of ties which, despite the hiatus of the Second World War, remain very strong in the present day.


Japan is increasingly active in Africa. In May 2008, the first Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize will be awarded at Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV),[56] which signals a changing emphasis in bilateral relations.


Angola-Japan relations were established in September 1976, shortly after Angola received formal sovereignty. As of 2007, economic relations played "a fundamental role in the bilateral relations between the two governments".[57] Susumu Shibata is the ambassador of Japan to Angola.[58]


Japan considers Egypt to be a key player in the Middle East and, as such, sees Egypt as a vital part of its diplomacy in the region.[59] The two heads of government have been known to support each other on issues pertaining to the peace process in the Middle East.[60]

Additionally, the two countries claim to share a common vision for world peace.[61] The two countries maintain a "Joint Committee" dedicated to exploring developments in areas of mutual interest to the two countries.[62]


Japan and Nigeria engage in strong economic and political cooperation. Both countries established diplomatic relations on October 1, 1960; and there are remote similarities between the Japanese language and several Nigerian languages.[63]

South America

Japan has continued to extend significant support to development and technical assistance projects in Latin America.[64]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Argentina 1898-02-03 See Argentina–Japan relations

Argentina maintains an embassy in Tokyo and Japan maintains an embassy in Buenos Aires. Diplomatic relations were restored by the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1952. Argentine president Arturo Frondizi visited Japan in 1960, and subsequently bilateral trade and Japanese investment into Argentina have increased in importance. Japanese imports were primarily foodstuffs and raw materials, while exports were mostly machinery and finished products.

Members of the Imperial Family of Japan have visited Argentina on a number of occasions, including Prince and Princess Takamado in 1991, Emperor and Empress Akihito in 1997 and Prince and Princess Akishino in 1998. Argentine President Raúl Alfonsín visit Japan in 1986, as did President Carlos Menem in 1990, 1993 and 1998.

 Brazil 1897 See Foreign relations of Brazil
  • The Brazilian government declared war on the Japanese Empire on August 22, 1942.
 Chile 1897 See Foreign relations of Chile
  • During World War II, relations between both countries were severed. In 1943, President Juan Antonio Ríos suspended relations with Japan and in February 1945, he declared an "state of belligerancy". Finally, on April 12, 1945, Chile declared war against Japan. Relations were re-established by the signing of San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1952.
  • Japan has an embassy in Santiago de Chile
  • Chile has an embassy and a consulate-general in Tokyo and three honorary consulates in Osaka, Sapporo and Nagasaki.
 Colombia See Colombia–Japan relations

The relationship was officially established in 1908, only interrupted between 1942 and 1954 with the surge of World War II. Relations are mostly based on commercial trade that has favored Japan interests such as Colombian coffee (which Japan exports a lot), cultural exchanges and technological and philanthropic aid to Colombia.[65]

 Paraguay 1924-11-17
 Uruguay 1921-09
 Venezuela 1938 See Japan-Venezuela relations

Formal diplomatic relations between the countries were established in August 1938.[70] Venezuela broke off diplomatic ties with Japan (and the other Axis Powers) in December 1941, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.[71]

In 1999, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a three-day trip to Japan. He made another two-day trip in 2009, during which he met Prime Minister Taro Aso.

Western Asia

Japan has expanded ties with the Middle East, including controversial water supply activities in Iraq.[72] Japan's contribution to peacekeeping troops in Sudan remains steady.[24]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Azerbaijan See Foreign relations of Azerbaijan
 Iran See Iran–Japan relations

Japan's foreign policy towards and investments in Iran have historically been dominated by the desire to secure reliable energy supplies; Iran is Japan's third-largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.[73] Iran and Japan signed a visa-free travel arrangement in 1974, but it was terminated in April 1992 due to large-scale illegal Iranian migration to Japan.[74] Iran and Japan also cooperate on regional foreign policy issues in the Middle East, such as the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[75] Since 2004, Japan has been working on developing Iran's largest on-shore oil field, located at Azadegan.[76]

 Israel 1952-05-15 See Israel–Japan relations

The Japanese government refrained from appointing a Minister Plenipotentiary to Israel until 1955. Relations between the two states were distant at first, but after 1958, as demand no break occurred. This had been at the same time that OPEC had imposed an oil embargo against several countries, including Japan.

 Lebanon 1954-11
 Saudi Arabia See Japan – Saudi Arabian relations

Saudi Arabian - Japan relations were established during the past half a century. Saudi-Japanese relations are based on mutual respect and common interests in all areas.


Debates and frictions

Japan has formally issued statements for its military occupations during and before World War II, but it has done little in helping to improve its relationships with neighboring countries, especially the People's Republic of China, North Korea and South Korea. Despite some formal statements of regret from Prime Ministers Hosokawa Morihiro and Murayama Tomiichi, these countries still insist that Japan has yet to formally express remorse for its wrongdoings in the 20th century. Japan’s official stance is that all war related reparation claims have been resolved (except for North Korea). Unofficial visits to the controversial Yasukuni Jinja by past Prime Ministers belonging to the Liberal Democratic Party and the exclusion or generalization of some elements of Japan’s military history in a number school textbooks have also clouded the issue.

In 2004 the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, and South Korea also criticized Japan for sending its Ground Self Defence Forces to Iraq, which was seen as a return to militarism. The government of Japan insisted that its forces would only participate in reconstruction and humanitarian aid missions.

There is a strong anti-Japanese sentiment in the People’s Republic of China, North Korea and South Korea. However, division is not always the case. South Korea and Japan successfully dual-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup together bridging a physical and political gap between the two countries. The high popularity of Bae Yong Joon, a South Korean actor, in Japan was also seen as a sign that the two cultures had moved closer together.

Disputed territories

Japan has several territorial disputes with its neighbors concerning the control of certain outlying islands.

Japan contests Russia's control of the Southern Kuril Islands (including Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai group) which were occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945.[79] South Korea's assertions concerning Liancourt Rocks (Japanese: "Takeshima", Korean: "Dokdo") are acknowledged, but not accepted by Japan.[80] Japan has strained relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (Taiwan) over the Senkaku Islands;[81] and with the People's Republic of China over the status of Okinotorishima.

These disputes are in part about irredentism; and they are also about the control of marine and natural resources, such as possible reserves of crude oil and natural gas.

See also


  1. ^ BBC World Service Poll, 6 March 2007 (PDF)
  2. ^ 国連平和維持活動(PKO), Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  3. ^ Komura, Masahiko. "Building Peacebuilders for the Future," Tokyo Peacebuilders Symposium 2008. March 24, 2008.
  4. ^ Japanese embassy in Ulan Bator (in Japanese and Mongolian only)
  5. ^ "Business in Cambodia | Japan - Business People Technology". 2008-08-31. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  6. ^,com_jcs/Itemid,52/crestrictid,7145/task,add/
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Antara News :". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  9. ^ Japan-Bangladesh Relations. Japan: Ministry of Foreign Affairs. March 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-09. 
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  29. ^ Japanese embassy in Sofia (in Bulgarian and Japanese only)
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  33. ^ "Japanese–German Cooperation and Coordination in the Assistance for Reconstruction of Afghanistan". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 2004-11-09. Retrieved 24 November 2008. 
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  39. ^ Japanese embassy in Budapest (in Hungarian and Japanese only)
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  43. ^ (Lithuanian) (Japanese) (English) Embassy of Lithuania in Japan
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  45. ^ Romanian embassy in Tokyo
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  49. ^ Slovenian embassy in Tokyo
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  52. ^ Japanese embassy in Ankara
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  65. ^ (Spanish) Colombian embassy in Japan
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  67. ^ Japanese embassy in Asuncion (in Japanese and Spanish only)
  68. ^ Paraguayan embassy in Tokyo
  69. ^ Japanese embassy in Montevideo (in Japanese and Spanish)
  70. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan: Japan-Venezuelan relations
  71. ^ "Venezuela Breaks with Axis Regimes," New York Times, Jan. 1, 1942
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  78. ^ Embassy of Lebanon in Japan
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  81. ^ MOFA, The Basic View on the Sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.

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