Converting to "Presentation of a Future Vision"
Professor, University of Tokyo
In assessing Japanese foreign policy in the year from 1999, it can be said that there were no particularly outstanding failures, but neither were there any major successes. There are three important areas in evaluating foreign policy: crisis management, handling of important international relations, and a future vision. Although there have been no serious errors in any of these areas, there are clearly many problems, including the limitations of the domestic order and the question of political leadership.
There may have been no specific blunders, but there are clearly serious general problems
Looking at crisis management first of all, the most direct problem concerns Japan and Japanese nationals, and a slightly more indirect problem is crisis management in the international community. In the case of the former, in spring of 1999 there was the affair of the suspicious ship in the Japan Sea, and the hostage crisis in Kyrgyzstan in the summer. And in the international community, there were the major crises in Kosovo and East Timor. At first the aspect of crisis management was prominent in the handling of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, but by 1999, it was important international relations and a future vision, rather than crisis, that were prominent.