For many years, Japan contributed to the international community mainly through financial and economic cooperation. This role has steadily expanded in a manner proportional to Japan's emergence as one of the world's largest economies. In the area of Official Development Assistance, for example, Japan now allocates more than US$12 billion annually to developing countries throughout the world.
With the end of the Cold War era and the broader role being undertaken by the United Nations in overseeing international peace, purely financial contributions have become insufficient. Japan is now assuming a more active role in contributing personnel to the maintenance of international peace and security. The participation by Japan in United Nations Peace-keeping Operations has already contributed greatly to the success of the peace process in Cambodia-and thereby to the security of the Indochina subregion and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole-and to greater peace and stability in regions throughout the world.
Before the Gulf War, Japan had already sent election supervisors and other personnel to the United Nations Assistance Group in Namibia (UNTAG). Learning from its experience with the Gulf War, Japan became keenly aware of the need not merely to implement financial and material cooperation, but also to conduct effective manpower cooperation.
Against this background, Japan enacted the International Peace Cooperation Law (Law Concerning Cooperation for United Nations Peace-keeping Operations and Other Operations) in June 1992, following a long domestic debate, with discussions centered in the Diet, over how to assume its international responsibility through personnel contributions. The enactment of the International Peace Cooperation Law enable Japan to establish a domestic framework to provide contributions to United Nations Peace-keeping Operations and humanitarian international relief operations on a full-fledged scale.
The first large-scale dispatch of Japanese personnel to United Nations Peace-keeping Operations took place in Cambodia. Japan dispatched personnel to support the peace-keeping activities of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) in preparing for the establishment of a new Cambodian government after free, democratic elections.
Japanese personnel were also dispatched to the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ), established in December 1992. The Japanese personnel contribution to ONUMOZ consists of personnel from its Self-Defense Forces as well as electoral observers. Japan also sent electoral observers to the United Nations Angola Verification Mission II (UNAVEM II) as well as to the United Nations Observer Mission in EI Salvador (ONUSAL). Furthermore, Japan continues its financial contributions by funding 14.009% of the total expenses of United Nations Peace-keeping Operations.
The important matter in this regard is that the deployment of United Nations Peace-keeping Operations does not substitute for the peaceful resolution of disputes. Therefore, in executing cooperation for United Nations Peace-keeping Operations, Japan intends to extend its cooperation not only through the dispatch of personnel and units but also through diverse forms of cooperation, such as political solutions, economic cooperation and humanitarian assistance, toward the resolution of disputes and the realization of the peace process.
In the area of humanitarian relief operations, Japan responded to the tragic situation of the Rwandan refugees by sending over 400 members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces to the region to provide assistance in such areas as medical service, sanitation, water supply and airlifts. This decision followed a request from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for humanitarian assistance, in addition to financial assistance and material support.
In addition to these operations, with a view to contributing further to peace between Syria and Israel as well as to United Nations peace-keeping operations, the Government of Japan has initiated preparations for the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces to the peace-keeping operation in the Golan Heights, looking towards next February.
Japan is determined to continue to cooperate actively in the United Nations Peace-keeping Operations, and gives active consideration to requests received from the United Nations for dispatches personnel. This is precisely because Japan considers its active engagement in Peace-keeping Operations as a means to contributing positively to peace in the Asia-Pacific region and in the international community as a whole.
Dispatches to the U.N. Peace-keeping Operations based on the International Peace cooperation Law
|Destination||Period of stay||Purpose/duty||Number of personnel|
|(1) United Nations Angola Verification Mission II (UNAVEM II)||11 September 1992-10 October 1992||Electoral observers (monitoring of elections for the People's Assembly and the presidency in Angola)||3|
|(2) United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC)||September 1992-September 1993||Self-Defense Forces' military observers||8 (total of 16 persons on a eotation system)|
|October 1992-July 1993||Civilian police||75|
|September 1992-September 1993||Self-Defense Forces' construction unit||600 (total of 1,200 persons on a rotation system)|
|17 May 1993-2 June 1993||Polling station officers (monitoring the election of a constituent assembly for the drafting of a constitution)||41|
|(3) United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ)||11 May 1993-January 1995||Self-Defense Forces' staff officers||5 (total of 10 persons on a rotation system)|
|Self-Defense Farces' movement control unit||48 (total of 144 persons on a rotation system)|
|20 October 1994-5 November 1994||Electoral observers (monitoring of presidential and legislative assembly elections)||15|
|(4) United Nations Observer Mission in EI Salvador (ONUSAL)||16-23 March 1994||Eltroral observers (monitoring of presidential and legislative assembly elections in EI Salvador)||15|
|20-26 April 1994||Electoral observers (monitoring of presidential and legislative assembly elections in EI Salvador)||15|
Back to Index