- JAPAN ASSOCIATION OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- 国際政治 (ISSN:04542215)
- no.136, pp.18-32,L6, 2004
Nowadays, foreign policy appears not only to be carried out by governments but also by civilian activists. Nishihara Masashi has developed a profound classification of unofficial contact-makers which includes civilian activists. Upon dividing unofficial contact-makers into the following three groups; (1) Official=unnanounced contact-makers, (2) Unofficial=unnanounced contact-makers, (3) Unofficial=pre-announced contact-makers, Nishihara highlights the limited role of the 3rd type contact makers, indicating that serious negotiations can only progress at unannounced negotiations. There is however a case in Japanese-Soviet relations which is not applicable to his conclusion.<br>According to the Japanese history of civilian diplomacy with the Soviet Union, civilian activities carried out by either leftists or pro-Soviet activists had attracted much attention. Matsumae Shigeyoshi who Nishihara refers to as a type 3 activist, acted as the head of the Japan Cultural Association. The Japan Cultural Association was established in 1966 upon accepting the USSR's proposal, having the Japan Socialist Party play its central role. Since Matsumae was personally close to Ivan Kovalenko, the deputy chief of the Central Committee's International Department, the Japanese-Soviet round table conference (<i>Entaku-kaigi</i>) was further established through their efforts in 1979. The round table conference was successful to a certain extent since the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs started attending the round table conference as an observer. The Japanese public, however, considered Matsumae's activities highly influenced by Socialist ideology. For this reason, Matsumae's activities didn't receive sufficient support to have made a significant influence within the country.<br>Suetsugu Ichiro, on the other hand, also referred to as a type 3 contact-maker, is said to have had an enormous impact on Japanese-Soviet relations. Upon participating in various social movements, he established a lobbyist status, which was very rare in Japan then. The Soviet Ambassador in Japan suggested Suetsugu to partake in promoting academic exchange with Soviet scholars. Suetsugu thus took and realized this opportunity by bringing the Council of National Security lead by Suetsugu, and scholars from the USSR together, whereby establishing the Japanese-Soviet Joint Symposium.<br>So why was Suetsugu, being a type 3 unofficial=pre-announced contactmaker able to act so effectively? In my opinion, one of the reasons was that Suetsugu had strong connections with Japanese political leaders. Another reason is that he was a well-known nationalist within the country. In this way, he was completely different from Matsumae and the other leftists and pro-Soviet activists. As a result, having established close relations with Soviet scholars who in time turned to play leading roles within the Soviet office during Gorbachev's rule, he maintained a trustworthy channel in the center of the Soviet regime. He had managed to act as an activist trusted both by Japanese and Soviet counterparts.