- 財団法人 日本国際政治学会
- 国際政治 (ISSN:04542215)
- vol.2010, no.160, pp.160_17-33, 2012-03-25 (Released:2012-06-15)
The aim of this article is to examine the role of Japanese diplomacy in bringing cooperative relationship among oil-consumers, and how it led to the establishment of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in November 1974 after the First Oil Crisis (FOC). The foundation of the IEA has an epoch-making significance in itself, as this institution provided a platform in which long-term policy cooperation among oil consumers could be designed and implemented. The IEA obligates signatory states to stockpile a designated certain amount of oil reserves, and it also specifies the Oil Emergency Sharing System in the agreement. This represents an effort for advanced countries seeking cooperation while the postwar international economic order was undergoing to serious changes.Most works on Japanese diplomacy dealing with the FOC period have tended to focus on Japan's stance toward the Middle East. They generally emphasize highlight the anxiety within the government to secure a stable supply of oil as the principal reason for Japan eventually swinging toward pro-Arab policy. However, such narratives do not provide us with a whole picture, since the FOC was not only brought by Arab oil embargo. If we were to fully grasp the underlying cause of Japan's policy behavior in the FOC, we must first take into account a structural change in the international oil market since the late 1960s resulting from the strengthening of oil-producers. In the same vein, it is equally crucial to analyze how the oil consumers in general responded to the oil producers united under the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).After the FOC, cooperation among oil consumer states intensified with Washington Energy Conference in February 1974, and Japan was an active participant during the process. In fact, the Japanese government was the first to announce its intention to participate in the conference. It also actively took part in Energy Coordination Group (ECG) following the Washington Energy Conference, and facilitated ECG in playing a moderating role between Great Britain and West Germany.Japan actively participated in these institutional frameworks since the policymakers shared two perceptions. The first is the recognition that the oil consumers, in order to decrease their vulnerability in oil supply, must unite. The second perception is that it is important for Japan to support the maintenance of a liberal international economic order which would ensure the stable flow of oil supplies. Seen from this context, the Japanese participation in the establishment of the IEA from the first stage is a drastic deviation from past diplomatic practice of passively joining already-existing international organizations. Although Japan's role in G7 for facilitating international cooperation among advanced countries is better known, it is significant to notice that Japan's early participation in establishing cooperative framework in the aftermath of the FOC is the true turning point.