As prime minister, Fukuda advocated his omnidirectional peace diplomacy, which aimed at adjusting Japanese foreign policy to détente, although détente was gradually fading during his tenure in office. He also enunciated what was termed the Fukuda Doctrine in August 1977, which was designed to fortify Japan's relations with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. He expressed his concern over U.S. President Jimmy Carter's controversial proposal to withdraw American troops from Korea but did not formally challenge Carter's policy. Fukuda tried to strengthen U.S.-Japanese defense mechanisms and increased the budget for aid to American military bases in Japan. As a result, the two nations issued the Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation in 1978.
When Fukuda visited Washington in May 1978, Carter urged him to conclude a peace treaty with the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the United States grew closer to the PRC and more wary of the Soviet Union. Fukuda subsequently concluded the Sino-Japanese Peace and Friendship Treaty in August 1978 in spite of his traditional foreign policy conservatism and relatively close ties to Taiwan. The Soviet Union vociferously criticized Japan for having signed the treaty. Soon thereafter, Fukuda lost his party's leadership to æhira Masayoshi in a party election and resigned as prime minister in December 1978. Fukada died in retirement in Tokyo on 5 July 1995.
Iikura Akira and Christopher Braddick
Wang, Qingxin Ken. Hegemonic Cooperation and Conflict: Postwar Japan's China Policy and the United States. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2000.; Welfield, John. An Empire in Eclipse: Japan in the Postwar American Alliance System. London: Athlone, 1988.