Background Notes: Japan

PA/PC Source: Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs Date: Dec 15, 199012/15/90 Category: Country Data Region: East Asia Country: Japan [TEXT] Official Name: Japan


Area: 377,765 sq. km. (145,856 sq. mi.); slightly smaller than California. Cities: Capital-Tokyo. Other major cities-Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Kobe, Kyoto. Terrain: Rugged, mountainous islands. Climate: Varies from subtropical to temperate. People: Nationality: Noun and adjective-Japanese. Population (mid- 1987 est.): 123,100,000. Annual growth rate (1989): 0.5%. Ethnic groups: Japanese; Korean 0.6%. Religions: Shintoism and Buddhism; Christian 0.8%. Language: Japanese. Education: Literacy-99%. Life expectancy (1987)-males 75.5 yrs., females 81.3 yrs. Work force (60.7 million, 1988): Agriculture-7.9%. Trade, manufacturing, mining, and construction-32.4%. Services-43.3%. Government-7.2%.
Type: Parliamentary democracy. Constitution: May 3, 1947. Branches: Executive-prime minister (head of government). Legislative-bicameral Diet (House of Representatives and House of Councillors). Judicial-Civil law system with Anglo-American influence. Subdivisions: 47 prefectures. Political parties: Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Japan Socialist Party (JSP), Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), Komeito (Clean Government Party), Japan Communist Party (JCP). Suffrage: Universal over 20. Flag: Red sun on white field.
GNP (1989): $2.836 trillion. Real growth rate: 4.9% (1989); 4.4% (1987-89). Per capita GNP (1989): $23,040. Natural resources: Negligible mineral resources, fish. Agriculture: Products-rice, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat, silk. Industry: Types-machinery and equipment, metals and metal products, textiles, autos, chemicals, electrical and electronic equipment. Trade (1989): Exports-$269.7 billion: motor vehicles, machinery and equipment, electrical and electronic products, metals and metal products. Major markets-US 33.8%, Western Europe 20.5%, developing countries 37.7%, communist countries 4.6%. Imports-$210.7 billion: fossil fuels, metal ore, raw materials, foodstuffs, machinery and equipment. Major suppliers-US 22.9%, Western Europe 16.7%, developing countries 47%, communist countries 7.4%. Fiscal year: April 1- March 31. Exchange rate (avg. 1989): 138 yen= US$1. Total net official development assistance: $8.9 billion (1989 disbursements, 0.3% of GNP).
Membership in International Organizations:
UN and several of its specialized and related agencies, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Court of Justice (ICJ), General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), International Labor Organization (ILO), International Energy Agency (IEA), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), INTELSAT.


Japan is one of the most densely populated nations in the world, with almost 318 persons per square kilometer (823 persons per sq. mi.). The growth rate has stabilized at about 0.5% in recent years, giving rise to some concern about the social implications of an increasingly aged population. The Japanese are a Mongoloid people, closely related to the major groups of East Asia. However, some evidence also exists of admixture with Malayan and Caucasoid strains. About 675,000 Koreans and much smaller groups of Chinese and Caucasians reside in Japan. Buddhism is important in Japan's religious life and has strongly influenced fine arts, social institutions, and thought. Most Japanese still consider themselves members of one of the major Buddhist sects. Shintoism is an indigenous religion founded on myths, legends, and ritual practices of the early Japanese. Neither Buddhism nor Shintoism is an exclusive religion; most Japanese observe both Buddhist and Shinto rituals, the former for funerals and the latter for births, marriages, and other occasions. Confucianism, more an ethical system than a religion, profoundly influences Japanese thought. About 1.5 million people in Japan are Christians, of whom approximately 60% are Protestant and 40% Roman Catholic.
Japan provides free public schooling for all children through junior high school. Ninety-four percent of students go on to 3-year senior high schools, and competition is fierce for entry into the best universities. Students may attend either public or private high schools, colleges, and universities, but they must pay tuition. Japan enjoys one of the world's highest literacy rates (99%); nearly 90% of Japanese students complete high school.
Mass communications in Japan are more extensive than those of most other advanced, industrial nations. The mass media are highly competitive, even though they are dominated by four national daily newspapers-the Yomiuri, the Asahi, the Mainichi, and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun-with individual circulations of 4-14 million (combined morning and evening editions) daily. These newspapers and several smaller ones publish weekly magazines and have interests in commercial radio and television. The combined circulation of Japan's 178 newpapers totals more than 65 million (in a nation of 120 million people), and Japan publishes more than 3,500 magazines. Radio and television follow the British pattern, with a nationwide, government-owned network competing with commercial networks. The Japanese motion picture and publishing industries rank among the largest in the world. The Japanese publishing industry creates more new titles each year than the United States.
Social Welfare
In Japan, as in other parts of Asia, care of the sick, aged, and infirm until recently has been the responsibility of families, employers, or private organizations. However, to meet the needs of a modern industrial society, this system has changed greatly, and the government conducts a broad range of modest, but successful, social welfare programs. These include health insurance, old-age pensions, a minimum wage law, and the operation of various hospitals and institutions for orphans, the handicapped, and the elderly. All major political parties are committed to providing increased and more effective social welfare services.


Traditional Japanese records contain the legend that the nation was founded in 600 BC by the Emperor Jimmu, a direct descendant of the sun goddess and ancestor of the present ruling imperial family. About 405 AD, the Japanese court officially adopted the Chinese writing system. During the sixth century, Buddhism was introduced. These two events revolutionized Japanese culture and marked the beginning of a long period of Chinese cultural influence, which resulted in a strong affinity for China. From the establishment of the first fixed capital at Nara in 710 until 1867, the emperors of the Yamato dynasty were the nominal rulers, but actual power was usually held by powerful court nobles, regents, or "shoguns" (military governors).
Contact With the West
The first contact with the West occurred about 1542, when a Portuguese ship, blown off its course to China, landed in Japan. During the next century, traders from Portugal, the Netherlands, England, and Spain arrived, as did Jesuit, Dominican, and Franciscan missionaries. During the early part of the 17th century, growing suspicions that the traders and missionaries were actually forerunners of a military conquest by European powers caused the shogunate to place foreigners under progressively tighter restrictions. This culminated in the expulsion of all foreigners and the severing of all relations with the outside world, except severely restricted commercial contacts with Dutch and Chinese merchants at Nagasaki. This isolation lasted for 200 years, until Commodore Matthew Perry of the US Navy forced the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854. Renewed contact with the West profoundly altered Japanese society. In 1868, the shogun was forced to resign, and an emperor was restored to power. The feudal system subsequently was abolished, and many Western institutions were adopted, including a Western legal system and constitutional government along quasi- parliamentary lines. The Meiji Constitution initiated many reforms. Eventually, in 1898, the last of the galling "unequal treaties" with Western powers was removed, signaling Japan's new status among the nations of the world. In a few decades, by creating modern social, educational, economic, military and industrial systems, the Emperor Meiji's "controlled revolution" had transformed a feudal and isolated state into a world power.
Wars with China and Russia
Japanese leaders of the late 19th century regarded the Korean Peninsula as a "dagger pointed at the heart of Japan." It was over Korea that Japan became involved in war with the Chinese Empire in 1894-95 and with Russia in 1904-05. The war with China established Japan's dominant interest in Korea, while giving it the Pescadores Islands and Formosa as well. After Japan defeated Russia, the resulting Treaty of Portsmouth awarded Japan certain rights in Manchuria and in southern Sakhalin, which Russia had received in 1875 in exchange for the Kurile Islands. Both wars gave Japan a free hand in Korea, which it formally annexed in 1910.
World War I to 1952
World War I permitted Japan, which fought on the side of the victorious Allies, to expand its influence in Asia and its territorial holdings in the Pacific. The postwar era brought unprecedented prosperity to the country. Japan went to the peace conference at Versailles in 1919 as one of the great military and industrial powers of the world and received official recognition as one of the "Big Five" of the new international order. It joined the League of Nations and received a mandate over Pacific islands north of the Equator formerly held by Germany. During the 1920s, the country progressed toward a democratic system of government. However, parliamentary government was not rooted deeply enough to withstand the economic and political pressures of the 1930s. During this period, military leaders were increasingly influential. Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 and set up the state of Manchukuo. In 1933, it resigned from the League of Nations. The Japanese invasion of China in 1937 followed Japan's signing the "anti-Comintern pact" with Nazi Germany the previous year and was part of a chain of developments culminating in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After almost 4 years of war, resulting in the loss of 3 million Japanese lives and including the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan signed an instrument of surrender on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor on September 2, 1945. As a result of World War II, Japan lost all of its overseas possessions and retained only the home islands. Manchukuo was dissolved, and Manchuria was returned to China; Japan renounced all claims to Formosa; Korea was granted independence; southern Sakhalin and the Kuriles were occupied by the USSR; and the United States became the sole administering authority of the Ryukyu, Bonin, and Volcano Islands. The United States returned control of these islands to Japan by 1972 with the reversion of Okinawa. After the war, Japan was placed under international control of the Allied Powers through the Supreme Commander, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. US objectives were to ensure that Japan would become a peaceful nation and to establish democratic self-government supported by the freely expressed will of the people. Political, economic, and social reforms were introduced. The method of ruling through Japanese officials and a freely elected Japanese Diet (legislature) afforded a progressive and orderly transition from the stringent controls immediately following the surrender to the restoration of full sovereignty when the treaty of peace with Japan went into effect on April 28, 1952.


Japan's parliamentary government-a constitutional monarchy- operates within the framework of a constitution that became effective on May 3, 1947. Japan has universal adult suffrage with a secret ballot for all elective offices. The government consists of an executive branch, responsible to the Diet, and an independent judicial branch. Sovereignty, previously embodied in the emperor, is vested in the Japanese people, and the emperor is defined as the symbol of the state. The cultural prestige of the imperial institution remains great, however, and the enthronement of Emperor Akihito in November 1990 was a major national event. The government is essentially patterned on the British parliamentary model, with a House of Representatives and a House of Councillors. Executive power is vested in a cabinet composed of a prime minister and ministers of state, all of whom must be civilians. The prime minister, who must be a member of the Diet, is appointed by the emperor on designation by the Diet and has the power to appoint and remove ministers, the majority of whom must be from the Diet. Japan's judicial system, based on the model of Roman law, consists of several levels of courts, with the Supreme Court as the final judicial authority. The Japanese constitution includes a bill of rights similar to the US Bill of Rights, and the Supreme Court has the right of judicial review. Japanese courts do not use a jury system, and there are no administrative courts or claims courts. Because of the system's basis in Roman law, court decisions are made in accordance with statute law, and only Supreme Court decisions have any direct effect on later interpretation of points of law. Japan does not have a federal system, and its 47 prefectures are not sovereign entities in the sense that US states are. Most are not financially self-sufficient and depend on the central government for subsidies. Governors of prefectures, mayors of municipalities, and prefectural and municipal assembly members are popularly elected for 4-year terms.
Principal Government Officials
Prime Minister-Toshiki Kaifu Minister of Foreign Affairs-Taro Nakayama Ambassador to the United States-Ryohei Murata Ambassador to the United Nations-Yoshio Hatano Japan maintains an embassy in the United States at 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20008 (tel. 202-939- 6700). Consulates general are in Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Guam, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle; honorary consulates general are in Buffalo, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Nashville, Miami, Minneapolis, Mobile, Phoenix, St. Louis, San Diego, and San Juan; and an honorary consulate is in American Samoa. The Japan National Tourist Organization, at 630 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10111, also maintains offices in Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Honolulu.


Japan is one of the most politically stable of all postwar democracies, ruled for more than 40 years by moderate and conservative political interests. A generally close cooperation among politicians, an efficient and dedicated bureaucracy, and the business community have tended to give cohesion to national policymaking. The political organization representing Japanese moderate conservatism is the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The party is a coalition of several well-organized factions, the success of which depends on the factional leaders' ability to obtain a position of power in the cabinet or party. In the February 1990 lower house election, the Socialist party (JSP) increased its strength by 55 seats (from 83 to 138), making it overwhelmingly the largest opposition party. Continuing ideological conflict between the Marxist class-struggle approach of its left wing and the more pragmatic approach of the right wing has kept the JSP from consolidating its own position in the Diet, while disputes with other opposition parties have frustrated attempts to form more than temporary alliances. Although advocating reduction and eventual elimination of US military forces in Japan, the JSP has moved to broaden its dialogue with the United States. The Komeito (Clean Government Party) is a political affiliate of the Buddhist Soka Gakkai sect but has attempted to expand its base. The party grew rapidly in its early years, but membership has leveled off. The Komeito is moderate but joins the other opposition parties in parliamentary maneuvers against the LDP. The Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) is a moderate socialist party patterned after the European social democrats. Its membership broke away from the JSP in 1960. Much of its support is from private sector labor unions. No longer stridently revolutionary, the Japan Communist Party (JCP) rejects close ties with the Soviet Union and espouses a parliamentary road to power like the major West European communist parties. However, it remains hostile to the United States. It is highly unlikely that the JCP ever will have a broad electoral base. The LDP has ruled Japan continuously since its founding in 1955. Although Japanese politics are stable, the LDP cannot take its parliamentary majority for granted. In the 1989 upper house elections, the LDP lost its majority. However, in the more powerful lower house, the LDP scored an impressive victory in elections in February 1990. It won 275 races and, together with 11 conservative independents who subsequently joined the party, the LDP's 286 seats in the 512-seat chamber give it chairmanship and voting majorities in every committee. The LDP counts on the inability of its opponents to unite. Its excellent overall performance in achieving high levels of economic growth has improved the lot of the people in the postwar era, and it is still the only party that a majority of the public seems to trust to manage the economy.


Japan's reservoir of industrial leadership and technicans, its intelligent and industrious work force, its high savings and investment rates, and its intensive promotion of industrial development and foreign trade have resulted in a mature industrial economy. Along with North America and Western Europe, Japan is one of the three major industrial complexes among the market economies. Japan has few natural resources, and only 19% of its land is suitable for cultivation. The agricultural economy is highly subsidized and protected. With great ingenuity and technical skill, resulting in per hectare crop yields among the highest in the world, Japan maintains an overall agricultural self-sufficiency rate of about 50% on fewer than 5.6 million cultivated hectares (14 million acres). Japan produces a slight surplus of rice but imports large quantities of wheat, sorghum, and soybeans, primarily from the United States. Given its heavy dependence on imported energy, Japan has aimed to diversify its sources. Since the oil shocks of the 1970s, Japan has reduced dependence on petroleum as a source of energy from over 75% in 1973 to about 57%. Other important energy sources are coal, liquefied natural gas, nuclear, and hydropower. Gold, magnesium, and silver meet current minimum requirements, but Japan is dependent on foreign sources for many of the minerals essential to modern industry. Iron ore, coking coal, copper, and bauxite must be imported, as well as many forest products. Japan's exports amount to less than 10% of its GNP, less than the percentage of some other major trading nations. Although small in terms of GNP, the Japanese traditionally have seen this trade as necessary for earning the foreign exchange needed to purchase raw materials for their advanced economy. Compared with the performance of most industrial nations over the past several years, the Japanese economy has performed well. Its 4.9% real economic growth rate in 1989 is one of the highest of the developed countries.
Japan has a well-developed international and domestic transportation system, although highway development still lags. Tokyo and Osaka International Airports and the ports of Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe, and Nagoya are important terminals for air and sea traffic in the western Pacific. However, greatly increased traffic in the Pacific markets is putting severe strains on Japan's airports. The domestic transportation system depends on the government-owned rail network. Rail transportation is supplemented by private railways in metropolitan areas, a developing highway system, coastal shipping, and several airlines. The rail system is efficient and well distributed and maintained throughout the country. The super express "bullet trains" take as little as 3 hours between Tokyo and Osaka, a distance of 520 kilometers (325 mi.).
Japan's labor force consists of approximately 60 million workers, 40% of whom are women. Members of labor unions number about 12 million (about 27% of the nonagricultural labor force). In 1989, the 3-million member, predominantly public-sector union confederation Sohyo (General Council of Trade Unions of Japan) merged with the 5.5 million member Rengo (Japanese Private Sector Trade Union Confederation) to form the 8-million member Japanese Trade Union Confederation, also called Rengo.
US-Japanese Trade
The United States is Japan's largest trading partner; Japan is the second largest trading partner for the United States after Canada. Bilateral trade totaled $138 billion in 1989. Japan is the largest market for US agricultural products, more than $8 billion annually. Manufactured goods constitute 58% of US exports to Japan. In 1989, the leading US export to Japan was machinery and equipment. Japan is the first- or second-best market for many US manufactured goods, including chemicals, pharmaceuticals, photo supplies, commercial aircraft, nonferrous metals, plastics, and medical and scientific supplies. The US trade deficit with Japan has been a source of significant bilateral friction. US trade policy has concentrated on efforts to encourage structural change to reduce Japan's export orientation and increase imports; negotiation on specific market access problems; coordination of macro-economic policies; and coordination in multilateral fora such as the GATT and OECD. There have been some encouraging trends. Japan's economic growth has been generated more by domestic demand than exports. Between 1981 and 1989, US exports to Japan grew more than twice as fast as our exports to the rest of the world. And the $49 billion US merchandise trade deficit with Japan in 1989 represented a 5% improvement over 1988. Nevertheless, the United States is continuing to focus on opening Japanese markets and increasing US exports. Significant bilateral trade negotiations have occurred. In 1988, the United States signed agreements with Japan covering beef, citrus, other agricultural products, and public works procurement. In April 1990, the two countries reached agreements on the three sectors-satellites, supercomputers, and wood products-identified for trade liberalization under the Super 301 provision of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988. In June 1990, the US and Japan concluded 9 months of intensive talks under the Structural Impediments Initiative (SII) by producing a final report which commits both countries to comprehensive measures to reduce impediments to current account adjustment. Despite the lack of formal barriers to trade compared with other countries, the Japanese market continues to be difficult for new firms to penetrate. Efforts to improve access to that market continue to take place in semiannual bilateral meetings of the trade committee and meetings related to the market-oriented sector- selective (MOSS) process. US follow-up talks with the Japanese government continue in medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, auto parts, construction, semiconductors, intellectual property rights, and services. In August 1990, the US and Japan reached agreement on liberalizing the Japanese telecommunications market for terminal equipment and international value-added services. There are considerable investment flows between the United States and Japan. US direct investment in Japan rose by $1.4 billion from 1988 to 1989, much of it largely in finance, banking, and manufacturing. The total stock of US direct investment at the end of 1989 totaled $19.3 billion. Japanese direct investment in the United States expanded by $16 billion in 1989 over 1988 with substantial increases in real estate, finance, and manufacturing. The total stock of Japanese direct investment in the United States at the end of 1989 was $69.7 billion.


After World War II, the Allies disarmed and occupied Japan. Article IX of the Japanese constitution provides that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained." During the Korean war, this position was modified by the establishment of a national police reserve force. Before the end of the occupation in April 1952, the first steps had been taken to expand and transform the force into the Self-Defense Force (SDF). At the same time, the Japanese government derived from Article 51 of the UN Charter the doctrine that each nation has the right of self-defense against armed attack and that this right is consistent with Article IX of the Japanese constitution. In 1954, the Japan Defense Agency was created with the specific mission of defending Japan against external aggression. Ground, maritime, and air self-defense forces were established under a joint chiefs of staff organization patterned after that of the United States. In recent years, the Japanese public has shown a substantially greater awareness of security issues and increasing support for the security treaty and the SDF. However, there are still significant political and psychological constraints on strengthening Japan's defense. An important minority in Japan advocates strict interpretation of Article IX of the constitution. More generally, there continues to be a strong underlying antipathy, resulting from Japan's experience in World War II, toward military matters.


Japan is a major economic power not only in Asia but also in the world. Japanese foreign policy since 1952 aims to promote peace and prosperity for the Japanese people by working closely with the West and through strong support for the United Nations. Japan has diplomatic relations with nearly all independent nations and has been an active member of the United Nations since 1956. Although a military role for Japan in international affairs is precluded by its constitution and government policy, Japanese cooperation through the US-Japan security treaty has been important to the peace and stability of East Asia. All Japanese governments in the postwar period have relied on a close relationship with the United States as the foundation of their foreign policy and on the mutual security treaty for strategic protection. In recent years, within the context of a close relationship with the United States, Japan has diversified and expanded its ties with other nations. Good relations with its neighbors continue to be of vital interest to Tokyo. After the signing of the peace and friendship treaty with China in 1978, ties between Tokyo and Beijing developed rapidly. Prior to the June 1989 events in Tiananmen Square, the Japanese extended significant economic assistance to the Chinese in various modernization projects. At the same time, Japan has maintained economic but not diplomatic relations with Taiwan, where a strong bilateral trade relationship thrives. Japanese ties with the Republic of Korea have improved since an exchange of visits in the mid-1980s by the Japanese and South Korean political leaders. Most recently, President Roh Tae Woo made a highly successful visit to Japan in May 1990. Japan has limited economic and commercial ties with North Korea; the release in October 1990 of two Japanese seamen held by Pyongyang since 1983 removed a key obstacle to a normalization of relations. Although the Japanese have sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union, relations between Tokyo and Moscow never have been close, because the Soviets continue to occupy the Northern Territories-small islands off the coast of Hokkaido that have been occupied by the USSR since the end of World War II. The Japanese reacted strongly to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and supported various initiatives, including boycotting the Moscow Olympics, to express their opposition. Soviet President Gorbachev's scheduled visit to Tokyo in early 1991 will be the first by a Soviet leader in the post-war period. It may provide the occasion for movement toward a settlement of the territorial dispute and major improvement in Soviet-Japanese relations. The Japanese have pursued a more active foreign policy in recent years, recognizing the responsibility that accompanies Japan's economic strength. Japan has expanded its ties with the Middle East, which provides most of its oil. The Japanese also have been increasingly active in Africa and Latin America and have extended significant support to multilateral and bilateral development projects in both regions. After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, Japan rapidly adopted tough sanctions against Iraq and strongly supported the UN effort to roll back the aggression. Initial Japanese contributions included $2 billion in assistance to countries most affected economically by the crisis, an additional $2 billion for the multinational military force, and aid to refugees. Development assistance is a major tool of Japan's foreign policy. Japan became the world's largest aid donor in 1989, surpassing the United States with aid levels of $9 billion. Japanese aid to other Asian countries far exceeds that of the United States, and Japan is also a major donor to Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Philippines. Japan and the United States hold subcabinet-level consultations regularly to coordinate foreign assistance programs. The United States supports Japan's efforts to open its markets to developing nations' products.


The close and cooperative relationship with Japan is the cornerstone of US policy in Asia and the basis of a strong, productive partnership in addressing global issues. Despite different social and cultural traditions, Japan and the United States have much in common. Both have open, democratic societies, high literacy, freedom of expression, multiparty political systems, universal suffrage, and open elections. Both have highly developed free-market industrial economies and favor an open and active international trading system. Given Japan's economic power and its growing international role, it clearly has become one of the most important countries to the United States. In accordance with Japan's enhanced international influence and its continued close ties with the United States, the two countries have developed a close global partnership in supporting the many values they share. This global cooperation spans fields as diverse as counter-terrorism, anti-narcotics collaboration, human rights, development assistance, support for refugees, and international action to protect the environment. Bilateral trade problems attract significant attention and often generate considerable controversy within the relationship. The United States is working hard to achieve greater access to Japan's markets and has made much progress. Trade problems may be the most visible and contentious part of an extremely broad and important relationship. Overall US policy toward Japan goes well beyond the problem areas and is based on three principles. First, the United States has worked to achieve a close bilateral relationship with Japan as an equal partner. The past decade has brought a significant expansion of Japan's economic and technological prowess, an increase in its defense awareness and capability, and a greater interest and involvement in international political and economic affairs. Although there still are differences in their relative political, economic, and military positions in the world, both nations approach and conduct their relationship as equals. Second, because of the two countries' combined economic and technological impact on the world-together accounting for 40% of world GNP and 60% of the Western industrialized nations' GNP-the US-Japan relationship has become global in scope. Although in the past the partnership has been measured primarily in economic and technological terms, in the future it will have a larger political dimension as Japan assumes a greater international role and associates itself more actively and closely with Western political and security goals. Third, Japan is becoming increasingly assertive in global matters and is forging a wider international role. The United States encourages this trend toward a broader international political and economic role by Japan, within the framework of a continued close bilateral relationship. The United States has called for a "global partnership" with Japan, in which the combined efforts of the two countries can be utilized to promote peace and prosperity throughout the world.
US-Japan Security Relationship
The US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security is 30 years old. The original security relationship dates from the early 1950s, when Japan was virtually defenseless. The present security treaty, revised on a broader basis of equality, came into force on June 23, 1960, and became subject to abrogation by either party upon 1 year's notice in June 1970. At the time, both governments declared their intention to extend the treaty indefinitely. Under the treaty, Japan hosts elements of the US 7th Fleet. The bases and facilities provided by Japan under the treaty do not exist solely for the defense of Japan. They are also important to the US ability to maintain commitments to other allies in Asia. US military assistance to Japan was terminated at the end of 1967. Since 1952, US military forces in Japan have decreased from more than 260,000 to the present level of about 65,000, more than half of whom are stationed in Okinawa. For Japan, the treaty provides a strategic guarantee against external attack. As US forces were withdrawn, the Japanese SDF expanded its capabilities and has assumed primary responsibility for the immediate conventional defense of Japan. Japan's defense roles and missions, which the United States supports, are the defense of its homeland, territorial seas and skies, and sea lines of communication out to 1,000 nautical miles. Japan has been increasing its defense budget annually and continues to make qualitative force improvements. As a matter of policy, Japan has foresworn nuclear armaments and forbids arms sales abroad. A bilateral agreement signed in 1983, however, allows the export of Japanese defense and dual-use technology to the United States. In addition to its own forces, Japan also provides bases and facilities to US forces in Japan and contributes substantially to the support of US forces (over $3 billion in FY 1990). The US Embassy in Japan is located at 10-5 Akasaka 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo (107); tel 224-5000; fax 505-1862; mailing address: American Embassy Tokyo, APO San Francisco 96503. US Consulates General are in Osaka, Sapporo, and Naha, and a Consulate is in Fukuoka. The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan is at 7th floor, Fukide No. 2 Bldg., 1-21 Toranomon 4-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo (105).
Houston Economic Summit, July 9-11, 1990
President Bush hosted the 16th annual G-7 summit for the leaders of the major industrialized democracies-Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States- and the president of the European Community, in Houston, Texas, July 9-11. The summit was held against the backdrop of movement toward democracy and freer markets in many parts of the world, including elections in Eastern Europe and Nicaragua, increasing momentum toward German unification, and political reforms in the Soviet Union. The summit leaders agreed on most international economic and political issues, but intense discussions were needed on agricultural subsidies in the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations, economic assistance to the Soviet Union, and global warming before consensus could be reached. Economic Accomplishments -- Agreement on progressive reductions in internal and external support and protection of agriculture and on a framework for conducting agricultural negotiations in order to successfully conclude by December 1990 the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade talks under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). -- Request to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to undertake, in close coordination with the European Community (EC), a study of the Soviet economy, to make recommendations, to establish the criteria under which Western economic assistance could effectively support Soviet reforms, and to submit a report by the end of 1990. -- Support for aid to Central and Eastern European nations that are firmly committed to political and economic reform, including freer markets, and encouragement of foreign private investment in those countries and improved markets for their exports by means of trade and investment agreements. -- Pledge to begin negotiations, to be completed by 1992, on a global forest convention to protect the world's forests. Political Accomplishments -- Promotion of democracy throughout the world by assisting in the drafting of laws, advising in fostering independent media, establishing training programs, and expanding exchange programs. -- Endorsement of the maintenance of an effective international nuclear nonproliferation system, including adoption of safeguards and nuclear export control measures, and support for a complete ban on chemical weapons.
Principal US Officials
Ambassador-Michael H. Armacost Deputy Chief of Mission-William T. Breer Economic Minister-Counselor-Joseph Winder Political Minister-Rust M. Deming Public Affairs Minister-Robert L. M. Nevitt Administrative Minister-Jose J. Cao-Garcia Commercial Minister-Keith R. Bovetti Agricultural Minister-James V. Parker Consul General-Nancy Sambaiew Labor Counselor-John J. LaMazza Science Counselor-Edward Malloy Defense Attache-Capt. S. A. Van Hoften Customs Attache-Gary W. Waugh Mutual Defense Office Director-Capt. Walter T. Dziedzic


Japan is one of the countries participating in the Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Pilot Program. As such, visitors to Japan for either tourism or business for a period of less than 90 days who possess round-trip or onward tickets on a participating carrier do not need visas. This program expires September 30, 1991, unless it is extended by legislation. Meanwhile, for all other types of travel, including official business, a visa is required and must be obtained from a Japanese consulate or embassy before departure. Travelers transiting Japan for less than a 72-hour stay may routinely apply for a special landing permit upon arrival, provided their passport is properly visaed for onward travel and entry and departure are from the same international airport. If travelers are in any doubt regarding specific transit plans, a visa should be obtained before departure. No immunization is necessary for travel to Japan from the United States. Detailed tourist information can be obtained from the Japan National Tourist Organization, 630 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10111. Published by the United States Department of State -- Bureau of Public Affairs -- Office of Public Communication -- Washington, DC -- December 1990 -- Editor: Peter A. Knecht Department of State Publication 7770. Background Notes Series -- This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission; citation of this source is appreciated. For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402 (###)