Tanaka: Today I would like to talk to Ambassador Bunroku Yoshino. The main theme of the discussion is the origin of the summit of advanced nations, especially the summit meeting at Rambouillet.
Before we discuss that, I would like to ask you about your background regarding this matter.... You were a Minister at the Japanese Embassy in the United States in late 1960s, right?
Yoshino: That's right. I was assigned to the embassy in the U.S. three times in my career. The first time was around 1949. I was there for 2 1/2 years, and the second time was in 1960 and 1961, when I went to Harvard.. I was technically assigned to the embassy, but in reality I didn't work there. The third time was during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration.
Tanaka: The presidential election was in 1968.
Yoshino: I became the Minister to the U.S. in 1968 and I was there until December 1970, so it was about three years.
Tanaka: While we don't have time today, perhaps I can you ask about the textile issue between the U.S. and Japan at another opportunity.
Yoshino: I would be glad to do that.
Tanaka: I am not very knowledgeable in this subject, but when I met with Ambassador Kikuchi recently, he said that regarding the U.S.-Japan textile issue, a book called "Nichibei Seni Funso [Textile Dispute Between U.S. and Japan]" is widely read and accepted among academics. This book was written by Hideo Sato and Haruhiro Fukui of Tsukuba University and an American I.M. Destler. The English title was The Textile Wrangle and was published in the 1970s. When I asked Ambassador Kikuchi about it, it looked as if the authors and Kikuchi had very different views.... (laughs). So I would have liked to hear your point of view, but this would have to be at another time.
Yoshino: Yes, maybe at another time...
Tanaka: So you became the deputy vice minister for foreign affairs in 1975, right?
Tanaka: Is that after Takeo Miki became the prime minister? I think it was in December 1974 that Miki came to power in "bolt of the blue" fashion.
Yoshino: I think so. My predecessor was Mr. Tsurumi. I was appointed as the deputy vice minister and was told to maintain a balance in economic issues with other countries.
Tanaka: The book says you were the ambassador to OECD before returning to Ministry of Foreign Affairs to become the deputy vice minister. What did you do after you returned to the Ministry and before you assumed your new position?
Tanaka: It was right after your return?
Yoshino: That's right.
Tanaka: So you returned to become the deputy vice minister then.
Yoshino: Yes, it was either in August or September.
Tanaka: I don't have the month here, but personnel changes at the bureaucracy usually occur in early spring to the summer. So was it like that in 1975?
Yoshino: I suppose so, but I think it was August when I left Paris. I suppose I started the new position in September, but I am not so sure.
Tanaka: According to this book by Mr. Nakamura, Miki had the U.S.-Japan summit meeting in August, but here it says end of June at the Ministry.
Yoshino: I had left by then. The book is probably right.
Tanaka: Is it possible that you had returned the year before?
Yoshino: No. It's most likely not the year before but right after my return. August...this was during the Ford administration, right?
Tanaka: Yes, it was Ford.
Yoshino: So it was the year before that. In other words, I had accompanied Miki at Rambouillet.
Tanaka: This is before Rambouillet.
Yoshino: Is that so.
Tanaka: It was before Rambouillet.
Yoshino: Was it Ford who went from the U.S.?
Tanaka: Yes, it was Ford.
Yoshino: I have no impression of which U.S. president went. (laughs) But right after that, in June 1976 or somewhere around that time, there was the San Juan summit. I remember Ford was there, and remember getting the impression that he was the new president. So it was already Ford at Rambouillet.
Yoshino: Okay. So it was right after Ford became the president.
Tanaka: But didn't Nixon resign in 1974? Miki became prime minister in June, and the foreign minister was Kiichi Miyazawa.
Yoshino: Oh yes, it was Miyazawa. I remember now. That's right.
Tanaka: Were there two deputy vice ministers then?
Yoshino: I think there were two more.
Tanaka: Was Togo the vice minister?
Yoshino: Yes, I think so because I was in the U.S. when Togo was the vice minister. I think it was Togo. Mr. Mori was there before Togo, and when I was dismissed as the Director of North American Affairs Division Mori was there. That was when I had the incident during the Okinawa reversion. It was Mori at that time, then it was Mr. Hogan, and after him it was Togo, and after Togo...
Tanaka: Was Mr. Takashima after him?
Yoshino: Takashima was little bit later. Arita, who entered the Ministry the same year as I did, became the vice minister, but I don't remember reporting to him during that time, so it was before that.
Tanaka: According to my memory, Togo was the vice minister in the beginning of the Miki administration.
Yoshino: You're probably right.
Tanaka: When I studied Sino-Japanese relations there was the issue of anti-hegemony.
Yoshino: Yes, there was. It took forever to resolve it.
Tanaka: When Miki became prime minister there was a proposal for a Sino-Japanese Peace and Friendship Treaty, but in early 1975 the "anti-hegemony" clause issue became a problem. The issue dragged on until spring, and I think it was around that time that it became a stalemate.
Yoshino: It was when Takeshima was the Director of Treaty Affairs. He took quite a heat about it. Was Togo vice minister then?
Yoshino: I suppose both Togo and Takashima opposed it. Togo is principled like that. (laughs)
Tanaka: So Miki was preparing for the U.S.-Japan summit meeting in early summer, around July, and when I flip through this book a person named Mr. Hirasawa comes up often.
Yoshino: There was such a person. I often went to him for briefings.
Tanaka: Mr. Nakamura's writes that Ministry officials have complained about Hirasawa acting as Miki's "brain." Was this true?
Yoshino: I think Ministry officials felt that way. I knew him very well personally so it didn't bother me, but I suppose at the Ministry's Administrative division there were many people, even among director-level officials, who said things like that. I had a special relationship with Hirasawa, so I went to brief him a lot and he didn't seem to have problems with it.
Tanaka: If Hirasawa was prime minister's "brain," was he in a special position to advise on foreign policy issues?
Yoshino: I think he often advised Miki on many issues. Putting aside the question of accuracy of his decisions, he spoke in a quite persuasive manner. But it wasn't as if he was especially intelligent or bossy.
Tanaka: Around the time of the first U.S.-Japan summit, a CSCE meeting was held in Helsinki on July 3. According to the chronology, Giscard d'Estaing officially requested Japanese participation at the summit in Rambouillet on August 4. Was there any information beforehand that this summit was going to be held?
Yoshino: I didn't hear anything like that. But if Japan was invited to participate at the U.S.-Japan summit meeting, it would have been reluctant to become involved, since Japan did not have influence in international political issues and didn't want obligations anyway. But our feeling was that since the focus was on economic issues, Japan should go to the summit. Japan can talk about economic issues. But the Japanese attitude was that it didn't want to accidentally interfere in European and American political issues.
Around that time there was a conference at Guadeloupe involving four or five countries. Is this in that book?
Tanaka: No, it's not included.
Yoshino: Japan knew that there was a conference at Guadeloupe at the time of the Rambouillet summit, but Japan didn't say that it wanted to attend that meeting as well. I heard they want to include Japan, and Japan seemed to be happy that it wasn't participating.
Tanaka: Was this Guadeloupe Conference after Rambouillet?
Yoshino: I am not sure. I don't know.
Tanaka: I will check it out.
Yoshino: Please do. They talked about politics and strategic issues there. Japan was not involved in those issues, so I remember feeling relieved.
Tanaka: Even before the Summit of industrialized nations, there were frequent meetings among the finance ministers.
Yoshino: For the OECD there was the G10 and G3 meetings--I forget is G3 was already in place--but at least there were G10 meetings frequently.
Tanaka: When you were the Ambassador to OECD, were you involved in that a lot?
Yoshino: I think so. One time I remember that Ohira came to a OECD meeting. Ohira told me "I have already climbed to the top of the ladder, so I have no choice but to go up." (laughs) But I wasn't expecting that Ohira will become the prime minister later.
Tanaka: Here it says visit to the U.S. on January 12, 1975. He didn't go to Paris. Was it at the beginning of Miki cabinet that Ohira was the Finance Minister?
Yoshino: I think so. I think it was in the beginning of the Miki cabinet that Ohira was the Finance Minister.
Tanaka: I think he was the Finance Minister.
Yoshino: There was a G5 meeting among finance ministers in Washington. Rambouillet meeting was held around November.
Tanaka: There was a U.S.-U.K.-West Germany-France meeting in Paris the year before that.
Yoshino: Yes, there was.
Tanaka: Here it is. In April, G5 Finance Ministers Meeting held in Paris....... It was about this meeting then.
Yoshino: I think so.
Tanaka: He talked about reaching the top at this time.
Yoshino: I think he was letting out his feeling to me that he would have to serve as the prime minister someday. In other words he would have no choice but to fight the Prime Minister. (laughs)
Tanaka: But was there any feeling that there has to be a summit meeting at the prime minister level at this time?
Yoshino: I don't think so. But besides this, there was that Oil Shock in ..Was it 1973?
Tanaka: It was in 1973.
Yoshino: So it was in November 1973. Then it was around January 1974 when that Kissinger proposed to create an international energy mechanism, and OECD tried to attract the return of the dollar.. A meeting was held in Paris in January to talk about that.
Tanaka: There aren't many references to that in here.
Yoshino: At the end, the OECD Secretariat supported the proposal, and the International Oil Agreement was written. Kissinger came to the first meeting of that Agreement. François Jobert was the French Foreign Minister then. He always said things opposite of Kissinger, his wife was an American, and he spoke English quite well. He set himself against things that Kissinger said and opposed him. Later he became known in Japan when he implemented a projectionist policy and detoured Japanese-made VCRs to Potiers and taxed them.
Tanaka: So Kissinger was doing those things, and situation in France wasn't too bright. In that process, it was agreed that normally as far as the summit is concerned, Giscard d'Estaing and Schmidt discus things, do it, and Japan should become involved in that process. It Japan didn't get to the point of proposing ideas.....
Yoshino: I guess so. It didn't seem as if Japan pushed to get itself involved either. I don't think Japan thought it should move because there was that kind of discussion either.
Tanaka: Is that so.
Yoshino: The reason is that first, Giscard d'Estaing and Schmidt got along very well, and European issues had commonalties to a certain extent. Especially after the Oil crisis I suppose Europe, U.S., and Japan were all doing well, but then inflation became worse. And in 1975 the growth rate dropped to zero or even negative. Japan had some difficulties, but recovered quite quickly. Also, the U.S. started to flow the dollar after that Nixon Shock.
So the Europeans were very unhappy. The U.S. did not consider other countries when formulating their dollar policy, which was the core currency. Therefore, to add some balance to it they felt that Japan should be included and ultimately rebuild the world monetary order. That was Giscard d'Estaing and Schmidt's idea. I think that kind of thought had something to do with it.
Also European economy was declining. I think the unemployment rate was not as high as it is now, but there was unemployment and at any rate, the economy was in bed shape. The growth was sluggish. Therefore, that had to beconsidered as well.
On top of that, Europeans probably didn't like the idea that Japan wasn't discouraged by the Oil crisis and its export goods were still competitive with European products. So I think they thought they will include Japan and talk about those things as well. At any rate when Japan was invited to the Rambouillet summit, I don't remember preparing intensely for it.
Tanaka: So specific details came out when Miki went to the U.S.
Yoshino: I think that was the earliest time.
Tanaka: According to this book, when Miki went to the U.S. he was very interested in the fact that it was Giscard d'Estaing who proposed it first. So the state dinner he took only Mr. Kunihiro and secretly met with Ford to talk about it. Do you know anything about it?
Yoshino: I don't remember.
Tanaka: According to this Miki-Ford met alone, no one from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs accompanied him, and only Kunihiro went. The press was not happy about it, so Kaifu and Deputy Vice Minister Yoshino hurriedly went to the press room at the Washington Hotel.
Yoshino: Miki didn't get along reporters who accompanied him from Japan. A famous reporter for NHK was the leader of it. He had said that he will cause something, and we thought we had to keep an eye on him. (laughs) He started to confront Miki, and some other reporters instigated him while others stood by, looking bored. That is when Kaifu and I went in, and I remember calming them down.
Tanaka: Then you talked about what do afterwards because the press asked about the details of the discussion.
Yoshino: "Kaifu and Yoshino interrupt the meeting and return to the Blair House." There is no reference to Miyazawa here. Miyazawa accompanied as the Foreign Minister, but I guess he looked the other way. Miyazawa didn't help Miki that much. (laughs) I guess Miki did it when Miyazawa wasn't around.
Tanaka: But what was discussed at the summit meeting?
Yoshino: "Details of the meeting became an issue for debate when the U.S., France and West Germany met in Helsinki. It became a Japanese problem. In response, ?? answered that it will discuss it carefully. It was about ????" Perhaps that is why Japan was not that aggressive. So Miyazawa didn't go.
Tanaka: I think Miyazawa didn't go to the Miki-Ford meeting. It was only the two of them.
Yoshino: Miyazawa was probably not too happy about that. That is why he..... (laughs).
Tanaka: According to this book, when Mr. Kazushige Hirasawa came later, Miyazawa told him to "be quiet."
Yoshino: That's interesting. I forgot the details about that, but I think it is correct.
Tanaka: As you just said, from Japan's perspective, it didn't prepare hard (for the summit), and it had a rather passive attitude when it was time to think about what to do.
Yoshino: The feeling was to rather exclude political issues.
Tanaka: Later when it was decided that Japan will go, what kind of preparation was done?
Yoshino: I don't remember preparing that much for it.
Tanaka: Is that so.
Yoshino: That was because even in the U.S. there was no shelpa or personal representatives. So the U.S. didn't make a lot of suggestions to the Secretariat. It wasn't until Carter that the Secretariat began to arrange things. Henry Owen, who was the personal representative and a friend of mind called me often to discuss summit strategies. That eventually led to the idea of Japan and West Germany becoming locomotives. It was around that time that the word PR began to go around.
Tanaka: Which means preparation to be done beforehand.
Yoshino: We prepared often, and people like Germany's Karl Otto Pohl (later president of Bendesbank) and France's Jacques de Larosiere (later the Managing Director of IMF) met three or four times a year. Depending on the situation, we even wrote statement drafts. But around the time of London Summit, which came before Bonn Summit, writings from the Secretariat became unacceptable. But Carter's personal representative Owen, I think, was the beginning of the present day shelpa.
Tanaka: According to the newspaper from that time, in the beginning of August a meeting among experts on economic issues was held before the heads of state gathered and suggested the officials to do something. But it said no such experts exist in Japan. (laughs)
Yoshino: That's probably so, but like I just said, problems in Europe were quite serious. In addition, U.S. suffered from high inflation. It reached the peak during the Carter administration.
Tanaka: According to the newspapers, a preparation meeting was held in New York in early October around the 6th. The paper said Ushiba and Deputy Vice Minister for Financial Affairs Yoshida attended the meeting. In that case, is it right to think that these two arranged it beforehand?
Yoshino: I suppose so.
Tanaka: It was Ushiba from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Yoshida from Ministry of Finance. Have you known Yoshida for a long time?
Yoshino: I remember attending a small gathering hosted by Greenspan with Yoshida. At that time Greenspan, was an economic consultant for a security firm. At any rate that is long after this.
Tanaka: It turned out that Miki was going to the Summit, so he was very excited.
Yoshino: He was very excited. I think it was natural to feel that way.
Tanaka: He wanted to propose something significant like a concrete proposal regarding aid for developing countries. It was reported as the Miki Plan by the newspapers. But the Ministry of Finance objected to it, so the plan did not develop. Do you remember anything about it?
Yoshino: You are right. Miki has always been enthusiastic about aid for developing countries. This is a lot before the summit, but when we proposed a ministerial conference with Southeast Asian nations, Miki enthusiastically said we should do it, and the idea developed. Miki attended the first meeting.
Talking about that, I just remembered that there was an outline called "yukatagake [shirt-sleeve diplomacy]" where Miki proposed that countries not be too formal and frankly debate about developmental issues in Southeast Asia. And if as a result if Southeast Asia nations come together and propose a program or a project, Japan is prepared to contribute financially. Based on this outline a ministerial conference was heating three or four times. In addition Japan was aggressive about cease-fires in Cambodia and Vietnam, and of course some argued that Vietnam and Cambodia should be allowed to participate in the conferences. Back then, the U.S. was very enthusiastic about aid to Vietnam since it involved the South, but as a whole Miki promoted the idea of supporting the Southeast Asia Ministerial Conference.
Fukuda later expanded the idea. During Tanaka's reign, riots occurred in Indonesia and Thailand.
Tanaka: When I interviewed Ambassador Kikuchi recently, he said "Miki said that in any case Japan should put forth some idea at the first Summit meeting. So he personally summoned Deputy Vice Minister Bunroku Yoshino who was in charge of economic affairs, and told him that he wanted to come out with a plan on Japanese economic cooperation. He instructed Yoshino to draft a plan. Yoshino took the plan to Ambassador Kikuchi, came up with a five-year plan of several hundred million dollars and took it back to Miki." Here it says "It was cold, so two of them bundled together in a kotatsu at a private resident located at the back of the Prime Minister's Official Residence and briefed Prime Minister Miki." (laughs)
Yoshino: He remembers it quite well. (laughs) I think that is quite accurate.
Tanaka: I see. So is this all.... This was kept secret from the Ministry of Finance, but since it was the day before departure [for the summit]...but I am not sure if it was the day before departure.....
Yoshino: I don't know if it was the day before, but I suppose so. We must meet.....Foreign Minister Miyazawa.... Gathered at the Official Residence, and Miki broke the news.
Tanaka: Do you remember anything like this?
Yoshino: Not really. He remembers it well.
Tanaka: Was this like a cabinet meeting......? Or a report?
Yoshino: Rather than a cabinet meeting it was more like an unofficial gathering. We attended it. We can't attend cabinet meetings.
Tanaka: Here it says "A Cabinet Conference on Foreign Economic Cooperation Relations was held right before [Miki's} departure." Is this about that meeting?
Yoshino: I think so.
Tanaka: A deputy vice minister explained it and Ohira was upset.
Yoshino: I guess so. I had forgotten it. But those things are possible. It's very possible.
Tanaka: This book says Ambassador Kikuchi's ideas were abandoned. Later on, Miki defended him by saying that the idea failed because he didn't say he wanted to do it. The book also says even after the delegation arrived in Paris a Foreign Ministry official again commented that the Japanese government must have specific ideas regarding the North-South issue. An official from the Finance Ministry who made the trip on the other hand said that it was too late [to raise the issue].
Yoshino: Those kinds of things were common. Ministry of Finance then was very sensitive about foreign commitments. We tried to convince the Finance Ministry about our position.
Tanaka: So is it possible that you were this Foreign Ministry official?
Yoshino: Yes, but it doesn't make sense because I don't remember the face of the Finance official. Also, there was another international conference in Paris at the same time as the Summit. I wonder who was the Foreign Minister......It was Kuranari. Kuranari and I went to Paris to attend this international conference twice. I think there was the issue of Japanese assistance there. I think nuclear issue was another one. I forgot. The meeting was held at the International Conference Center in Paris. I guess this is another issue.
Tanaka: I see. So Miki must have been upset that he couldn't come up with specific plans regarding this issue.
Yoshino: I think so. Another thing was that although Japan was very enthusiastic about economic assistance, France was also emphasizing foreign aid as well. The French wasn't in the mood to ally with Japan and face the U.S. or other countries. So while Japan thought that it can find itself participating and commenting just be focusing on the aid issue, other countries were not that enthusiastic about it. Instead they were more interested in monetary issues, macroeconomic adjustments or inflation issues.
Tanaka: Going back to the economic aid issue, why was the Ministry of Finance so opposed to it?
Yoshino: Ministry of Finance had a negative view toward assistance issues then. Even today Finance generally does not like to provide money for overseas assistance. They would not have minded giving out money to international institutions such as the IMF or World Bank where the Ministry has some influence, but they liked to avoid bilateral assistance as much as possible. People like Taroichi Yoshida who had experience working in international organizations were not too bad.
Tanaka: So the differences within the Finance Ministry were the difference between officials who are international-oriented and officials who are domestic-oriented.
Yoshino: That is one factor, but in addition the Director of International Finance Bureau was always restrained by the Budget Bureau. Since the Director of the Budget Bureau was more powerful, he couldn't do anything about it.
Tanaka: Is that so. (laughs)
Yoshino: That is why Japan devoted only 0.2%~0.3% of its GNP for foreign aid even though the UN says countries should spend up to 0.9%. It was only recently that the notion of acting more on a global scale will result in flow of capital back to Japan emerged.
Tanaka: In other words the Ministry of Finance felt that after payment of war reparations aid ends.
Yoshino: Yes. They were extremely passive about aid issues.
Tanaka: How was Ohira?
Yoshino: I think Ohira understood that kind of thinking in principle, but he wasn't the type to personally promote the aid issue.
Tanaka: I see.
Yoshino: That's understandable.
Tanaka: If Ohira was the Finance Minister, then he was to think about his position and the Ministry.....
Yoshino: He has to represent it.
Tanaka: Was he a reliable type of person?
Yoshino: I think so. I also think the Budget Bureau reminded him about the issue from time to time. I feel he had a vision typical of a politician.
Tanaka: Was the relationship among Foreign Minister Miyazawa, Finance Minister Ohira and Prime Minister Miki?
Yoshino: Miyazawa and Ohira each thought of the other as intense rivals. Both served as secretary to Ikeda. But both are adults, so they didn't put it out in the open. I have never seen them fight, although they didn't get along with each other well.
Tanaka: I see. How about Miki? Was Ohira looking down on Miki?
Yoshino: Yes. I think Ohira felt that Miki was a politician who always talked about principles but couldn't get things done. I think ex-bureaucrats of the Finance Ministry all feel that way. But Miki's thinking was that politicians should restrain those bureaucrats and make policies on their own.
Tanaka: What were Miki's feelings when he went to Rambouillet?
Yoshino: He was confident because he had experience interacting with politicians from other countries when he went to the ministerial conference for development in Southeast Asia. He also had studied in California when he was young. But the Summit was a big international stage. He usually enjoys those places the most, but unfortunately there was the language barrier. He probably thought that he was on equal platform personally with other colleagues. But he couldn't understand the language, and even if he used simultaneous interpreters, it was difficult to keep up with the conversation. I think he was thinking about saying something once. I forgot what he said, though.
Tanaka: Wasn't the system for simultaneous interpretation not very developed then?
Yoshino: No it wasn't, and the facility in France was not very developed. I think he was very frustrated when he was listening through an earphone. He couldn't follow the discussion.
Tanaka: I think the language barrier was one reason for the difficulty in following the discussion, but what about other factors? The topics of discussion were different.
Yoshino: Yes, there were many differences between Western Europe and Japan then.
Tanaka: What were the differences?
Yoshino: Nowadays as expressed by "globalization" and "borderless society," people are thinking more alike and have more common interests. But back then the domestic Japanese perception was very different from the European perceptions, so in that sense Japanese translations of their comments were confusing and hard to understand. That was the way it was.
Tanaka: In the end this book says "Prime Minister Miki was isolated, and he said 'I can tell that technocrats rule the world when I attend there meetings. Global leaders are increasingly being dominated by realists instead of idealists.' A Foreign Ministry official who heard this was all the more surprised by his comment, and answered 'Of course. The world's ???? are all realists.'" Was this official you? (laughs)
Yoshino: I don't know. But the feeling was there. Regardless of who said it, the impression was correct.
Tanaka: From the Foreign Ministry's perspective, there was the feeling of embarrassment about the lack of awareness by Japanese politicians, not just by Miki....
Yoshino: Yes, there was.
Tanaka: There was?
Yoshino: Besides that, the feeling was that Japan can't talk about issues other than economic aid or trade. Even on monetary issues, there was a wide gap between Japan's monetary problems which was connected to the dollar and European monetary problems, which was more within the global economic framework. Until recently, Japan insisted that the exchange rate be kept at 360 yen for one dollar, and even when the currency floated the Finance Ministry tried to stabilize it by engaging in the so-called dirty floating. In that sense the problems were different.
Even with trade issues Japan's perception was that they were willing to adjust on a bilateral basis, such as increasing or decreasing exports to the U.S. GATT was there, but Japan only reacted when it was implicated.
Tanaka: For the Foreign Ministry, it was still unusual in 1975 to send representatives to multilateral meetings and not bilateral negotiation meetings.
Yoshino: Yes, at the head of state level. Also during my time there were so many meetings that I had to go to Europe or the U.S. two, three times a month. That was when international meetings were beginning to be more common, so deputy vice ministers before me hardly went abroad. So in that sense from that time on attending international meetings became more frequent. But even when meetings became common the attitude [of politicians] was either to be defensive or argue that Japan will suffer. Japan wasn't aggressive or taken initiatives like it does now.
Tanaka: After Rambouillet Summit ended, do you remember talking about the meeting, whether formally or not?
Yoshino: I remember getting together with those who went to Rambouillet and reflecting on it. But I think we were mostly relieved that the event went without major catastrophes. (laughs) We were glad that we came back alive. (laughs) At the first and second summits..... [tape reverses]
Yoshino: Then it was in London.
Tanaka: I see.
Yoshino: After that it was in Bonn. I went there as an ambassador. That was when Henry Owen, an American who was the personal representative, called me many times even though I was the ambassador.
Tanaka: Henry Owen.
Yoshino: He was quite good at using people.
Tanaka: He was the American Ambassador to NATO.
Yoshino: I don't think he served as the NATO ambassador.
Tanaka: Was it during the Carter administration?
Yoshino: Yes, he was the personal representative to Carter.
Tanaka: So at San Juan and London, was Japan more......
Yoshino: Japan had extensive preparations for San Juan, and many people went. Ministries all became interested, we had many debates and discussions, and we prepared a lot of documents for it. People like Susumu Miyazaki of the Economic Planning Agency and Michiya Matsukawa of the Finance Ministry also went. We also made the relationship with the press more systematic. For example, we rented out a famous resort hotel right outside San Juan saying that it was for security reasons, kept ourselves there and had the meeting right there. About half of the press and accompanying people had no choice but to stay in San Juan. So I flew by helicopter to San Juan two or three times a day to brief reporters about the meeting's progress.
Tanaka: How was Miki at the San Juan summit?
Yoshino: I think Miki was more confident because he attended a summit already, and also by the fact that it was held in the U.S.
Tanaka: But domestically it was around the time of the Lockheed scandal.
Yoshino: I think it was already unraveling.
Tanaka: So more reason for Miki to be enthusiastic?
Yoshino: I guess you could say that.
Tanaka: Rambouillet was in November and San Juan was in following June, so the timing in between was relatively short.
Yoshino: It seemed like it was held twice a year.
Tanaka: Yes. So for the second one, did the preparations for it proceed more smoothly?
Yoshino: That time we felt totally prepared.
Tanaka: How were the preparations made by the Americans for this meeting?
Yoshino: The security was very tight. Guards lined up about 10 meters apart alongside the shore and watched the sea in case a submarine came to the shore.
Tanaka: Going back to a previous topic, did Miki feel very strongly that Japan was representing Asia at Rambouillet or San Juan?
Yoshino: Yes. I think Miki always felt that way. He always felt strongly about speaking for Asia. Also, I am not sure if ASEAN had this feeling --if ASEAN existed already-- but I think Miki and Japan's initiative for a Southeast Asian ministerial conference started to create the atmosphere which enabled those type of feelings to emerge. At that time Southeast Asian nations that participated in the ministerial conference such as Indonesia or Thailand didn't have a lot of confidence then, so I think they welcomed Japan's willingness to speak for them and were willing to support Japan. I think that is why he spoke about Southeast Asia with confidence.
Tanaka: For a head of state official at that time Miki know about Southeast Asia quite well.
Yoshino: Very much so. So in that sense he was more internationally-oriented than heads of state from Southeast Asian nations. They only knew about their own country and were not interested in international affairs that much because they worried about how to win elections, and even when were no elections they were preoccupied by managing domestic political forces.
I accompanied Fukuda when he attended a Southeast Asian ministerial conference, and it was after Miki had laid the groundwork. Fukuda proposed that Japan will contribute $100 million for a Fund which Southeast Asian nations will share to pay for a common project. Fukuda asked the other countries to come up with a project, but ASEAN was unable to come together and be willing to propose a plan.
For example, if Thailand wanted an engine factory and Malaysia wanted a tire factory, then we can pool the components and make automobiles. But if one country said they want a tire factory, then everyone wanted a tire factory, and they all thought that they will be the main actors in the process. That was when ASEAN wasn't developed.
Tanaka: When Fukuda was the prime minister, he went to ASEAN and announced the so-called Fukuda Doctrine. What was the preparation process, for example, what to say in Fukuda's speech, things like "heart to heart" or other things?
Yoshino: I played a key role in the process.
Tanaka: Was theat before he left for West Germany?
Yoshino: Yes. Also, I think not only Fukuda but also Miki used the expression "heart to heart." When I first heard the phrase, I remember thinking that it was very showy and felt embarrassed. Fukuda also used the phrase and emphasized it.
Tanaka: When Fukuda went to Southeast Asia, I suppose Japan wanted to express its willingness to cooperate and recover from what happened during Tanaka's visit in 1974. How did the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepare for this?
Yoshino: Since this was an issue of economic aid, we got the Finance Ministry, MITI, Economic Planning Agency and Agriculture and Forest Ministry involved. But first we persuaded each bureau within the Foreign Ministry. The issue came up from the Economic Cooperation Bureau who wanted Japan to become more involved by actively increasing Japanese aid, but other bureaus such as Asia Bureau didn't necessarily support that. One reason for it is that they are not in charge. Another reason is because there was little focus on Asia policy. Bureau of Asian Affairs in particular considered the People's Republic more important and North Korea dangerous, so Southeast Asian countries were not considered to be the most important issues. Nowadays ambassadorship to Thailand or Malaysia is prestigious, but it wasn't back then. That is why Fukuda's ideas were controversial within the Ministry.
In addition, MITI was supportive on the principle but didn't want the Foreign Ministry to take the initiative. Finance Ministry didn't want to allocate money. But persuading them wasn't very difficult, because the Finance Ministry wanted to see how the Foreign Ministry is able to handle it, since it was a $100 million fund and they felt there were no other good projects.
Tanaka: As for the relationship between the prime minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, does the role of secretaries sent from the Ministry depend on the prime minister?
Yoshino: Yes. Kikuchi, for example, was Ohira's secretary but until then prime minister's aide did not play a large role. Their role became more active after Kikuchi. All his predecessors from the Foreign Ministry did was to act as a messenger between the Ministry and prime minister's office.
Tanaka: When Fukuda was prime minister it was Owada.
Yoshino: Yes, Owada let Fukuda know the Ministry's views, so it was helpful to us. Kikuchi was Tanaka's secretary.