2007 年 53 巻 1 号 p. 1-19
In January 1962, the UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE, now ESCAP) proposed to establish the Organization of Asian Economic Cooperation (OAEC) in order to promote Asian intraregional economic cooperation. However, the proposed organization was never created due to internal opposition from within the region. It has been said that the one of main opposition countries was Japan. The objective of this paper is to look at the various players in the Japanese government, and to eliminate their interests in and problems with the proposed OAEC by analyzing the foreign policy decision-making process within Japan. This approach should reveal one of factors why regional economic cooperation did not make progress in this era.
Japan’s policy regarding the proposed OAEC was to refuse to sign the draft declaration establishing the organization, but to propose instead to convene a ministerial-level preliminary meeting to discuss economic cooperation in Asia, including the establishment of the OAEC. The Japanese government declared its full support for such a process. That is, Japan was not necessarily opposed to the proposed organization. This final decision was a compromise between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Ministry of Finance (MOF), and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MOAF). MOFA wanted to make the proposed OAEC an ‘Open Asian Community,’ which would include developed countries like the United States. MOF and MOAF, however, opposed any‘ Asian Community.’ MOF was worried that Japan would increase its financial burden by extending credit to the less-developed countries in Asia. MOAF (especially its minister, Kohno Ichiro) feared damaging domestic agriculture due to the increase of intraregional trade. The domestic agriculture problem has been one of the main factors preventing the region from creating a multilateral Asian framework.
ECAFE, together with a number of Asian countries, noted the behavior of the Japanese government, and considered the Japanese decision to refuse to sign the draft declaration as opposition to the OAEC itself, and did not try to implement the proposal. As a result of this, the proposed organization faded from the scene and remains only a historical episode.