Japan calls 2022 "a turning point in history"

Japan's Foreign Ministry has labeled 2022 a "turning point in history" in its annual report of foreign policy and diplomacy. The ministry presented what is known as the Diplomatic Bluebook at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The report condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine and expresses concern about China and Russia increasing their military cooperation.

The North Korean threat

North Korea, and its missile launches in particular, figure prominently in the 2023 report, which says the country poses a "grave and imminent threat" to Japan's national security and has launched ballistic missiles with "an unprecedented frequency and manner."

North Korea's military parade
Japan says North Korea fired a missile on Thursday morning.

China's military buildup

The Bluebook describes the security environment around Japan as the most severe since the end of World War Two, not just because of North Korea's nuclear and missile development but also because of China's military buildup.

The report calls Japan-China ties "an important bilateral relationship" but also says China represents the "biggest strategic challenge" in terms of reinforcing the international order based on the rule of law. It says Japan should cooperate with the US and other like-minded nations when dealing with China.

Chinese warships
China stages a military parade October 1st, 2019.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine

The 2023 report condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a "reckless act that has shaken the foundation of the international order," and says no country or region should consider it "someone else's problem."

Chinese warships
Burned-out tank in Mariupol, Ukraine

It says Russia's actions have brought about a global food and energy crisis, and Russia's nuclear threat has plunged the world into fear.

The report also warns that joint actions by Chinese and Russian military forces around Japan are an effort to strengthen military cooperation between the two countries. It says the Japanese government is gravely concerned.

Security and the Global South

The report uses the term Global South for the first time, referring to emerging or economically developing countries.

The Bluebook says many of the Global South countries are in a political middle ground between the West and Russia. It says cooperation with the Global South countries is extremely important to maintaining international order and resolving global issues.

Japan is expected to announce plans to increase its engagement with Global South countries when it chairs the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May.