Keynote Address by Professor Akiko Yamanaka,
Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan,
at the Japan-UK Security Co-operation Conference 2006 at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI)
on Wednesday 12 July 2006


The Right Honourable Adam Ingram, Rear Admiral Richard Cobbold, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Before I begin my speech, I wish to mention that on the 5th of July, the Foreign Secretary Ms. Margaret Beckett and our Foreign Minister Mr. Taro Aso, talked over the phone regarding the recent missile launches conducted by North Korea. I was beside Mr. Aso during the talk and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the UK for their prompt and resolute attitude through their actions in the United Nations Security Council and G8.

Japan and the UK are blessed with excellent bilateral relations and share common approaches on a plenty of security challenges, such as the fight against terrorism, the reconstruction and stabilization of Iraq and the non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the means of their delivery. Additionally, good examples of practical co-operation in the international community have been demonstrated by Japan and the UK such in Iraq and the Indian Ocean. I believe that it is meaningful to discuss what we can do to co-operate further in order to secure the world's peace and stability in fluctuating international circumstances.

Today in the first instance, I wish to express my points of view on how best we should stand against these uncertain international circumstances, as we are in the midst of the tide of history. Then, I wish to present my proposals on international peace cooperation, with particular focus on the issue of human resource development.

(The Tide of History)

Political dynamics in the international arena have changed radically since the end of the Cold War. Thus, I would like to draw attention to three elements in particular which indicate where we are presently, and in which direction we should go:

1) The first element is that of 'transition.' We remain in a transition period with both traditional and new approaches applied across a range of issues, including those of conflict, war and peace. �@This means that at any time unexpected circumstances can shake peace and stability in many regions of the world. Therefore, both solid regional and global institutions and ties are necessary in order to develop systems of cooperation amongst states and peoples.

2) The second element is that of the changing nature of security. The nature of security has been continually evolving since the end of the Cold War, in the respect of "against" to "with". During the Cold War, security meant being "against" certain countries. However, the concept of security should now be defined as being "with" every nation or state that is a part of each region. As a result of this, we must make efforts to establish trustworthy relations among states so that peace and stability may be established in the each region around the globe. However, we must also recognize that security is increasingly complex and multifaceted, and requires further investigation.

3) The third element is that of 'coalition.' Subsequent to the terrorist events of September 11th 2001, the need for international cooperation that exceeds national borders has become much more important than was the case before. Even the United States, the sole superpower, cannot function effectively without a coalition of states that share its world outlook. In international relations, this is recognized as the 'post-post-cold war phenomenon.'

Thus, it is important to examine where we are in this tide of history.

If we are to change the past dependence upon war to resolve disputes, it then becomes very important for us to introduce the concepts and values of a non-violent means of resolving international conflicts, and these should be used whenever possible. However, if this proves ineffective, I do think that it is important to possess the capability and strength to step in and enforce peace where necessary.

Most of us would agree that the concept of security is being broadened, both considerably and continuously, to incorporate military, political, economic, societal and environmental dimensions and the inter-linkages between them. For many people in the world, greater threats to their security originate from internal conflicts, disease, hunger, environmental contamination, street crime, or even domestic violence. And for others, greater threats may arise from their own country itself, rather than from a traditional "external" adversary. We are moving towards a non-traditional concept of human security which revolves around that of individual and community welfare. In turn, this leads us to examine the concept and value of "human security" - the notion of which has been proposed by various eminent persons, for our region and the world, such as Professor Amartya Kumar-Sen and Mrs. Sadako Ogata.

(International peace cooperation and human resource development)

In Japan, there are various arguments which have emerged in the context of discussions concerning the future role of our Self-Defense Forces. As a result of constitutional constraints, the Self-Defense Forces have never dispatched troops to participate in battle. However, it is important to note that their units have been sent for the purpose of emergency support to those disaster stricken areas by earthquakes, typhoons, etc. Since these paramilitary activities have been on the rise, it is necessary to provide the Self-Defense Forces with a legal basis and proper institutions, in order to tackle both traditional security and non-traditional security threats. Given these situations, I think it would be ideal if our Self-Defense Forces can cooperate effectively with other countries including the U.K.

I am aware of arguments these days among us relating to that of 'peace building.' As the forms and characteristics of these disputes in various parts of the world have diversified, and become more complex, the idea of 'peace building' has become relevant and helps to explain why the United Nations established the Peace Building Commission. Post-conflict, the rehabilitation and reconstruction stages are needed to follow. These processes require highly specialized skills and expertise, with a view to preventing recurrence of conflict. It goes without saying that it is essential to make this multi-layered with human resources to help achieve this organic link, and if I may put this in the context of Japan, it is important to secure technically trained personnel from both the Self Defense Forces, civilian police, and other such civilian sectors as governmental departments, business enterprises and non-governmental organisations to assist in these operations.

However, I must admit that, compared with other Western countries, especially the UK, the Scandinavian countries, and Canada - regardless of Japan being the world's second largest economy in the world - we have fewer institutions to support development of human resources for this area in Asia.

In 2002, as a member of the advisory group on international peace cooperation under the Chief Cabinet Secretary, I wrote a report insisting that we should create a framework to develop human resources to build peace in Asia. Many people are of the opinion that "To create a framework to develop human resources to build peace in Asia" is a good idea, but as yet nothing has been started.

You can easily appreciate that the international community quickly becomes unstable in the light of conflicts in the like of Afghanistan and Iraq, civil war in Sudan, the nuclear issue in Iran, and the launches of missiles by North Korea, in addition to the natural disasters of tsunamis and earthquakes etc.

Last September, I returned to the Parliament, with a conviction that having considered the circumstances surrounding Japan, one of the most important policies Japan has to realize is to develop human resources, which can adapt themselves to both natural and man-made disasters, and to help create an international network for this purpose.

Of course, as Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have dedicated myself to other areas of diplomacy. For instance, recently, I have been involved in the field of peace and stability of the Western Balkans, such as Serbia/Montenegro and Kosovo (under the U.N. interim administration), Haiti and independent Montenegro, and I will visit Azerbaijan and Georgia after my visit to London. I also made speeches at High Level Segment in the First Session of the Human Rights Council and Conference on Disarmament in Geneva in the field of human rights as well as peace and security.

I would like to draw your attention to a passage from a speech by our Foreign Minister Mr. Taro Aso. He posits that "Asia needs more specialists in the area of peacekeeping, peace building and reconstruction and recurrence prevention. Japan intends fervently to develop persons who have the knowledge and capability necessary for these activities."

With this in mind, I started a project team within our Ministry this January to create a network with the purpose of which I mentioned earlier. The subject matters of training will explore those of cease-fire monitoring, peace keeping operations, the police, conflict prevention and solution, election monitoring activities, nation re-building, humanitarian assistance (especially hygiene, medicine and education), DDR, and landmine clearance activities, as these fields of expertise are where Japan can potentially make a difference.

The targets of the training will be the youth in Asia, including that of Japan and experienced people who took early retirement. Courses will comprise of a short term one before serving abroad, a long term and full-scale one, and an academic degree. Pilot projects and preparatory surveys will be conducted in 2007, and fully-fledged activities will commence in 2008. To initiate this project, a seminar on Peace-building and Human Resources Development in Asia will be held at the end of August this year.

In order to carry out these projects successfully, it is important to secure cooperation among the relevant governmental departments, business enterprises, and non-governmental organizations involved. We also intend to invite lecturers and experts from well-experienced international institutions to participate.

To go forward with this development of human resources, I hope that a basic law will be legislated that comprehensively covers existing laws on peace keeping operations and anti-terrorism measures.

From 2002 to 2005, as a Professor, I consulted with top leaders and academics of major Asian countries, including China. Additionally, I also consulted with the US government. They fully supported my ideas and agreed support me in my plans.

Japan became affluent as a result of hard work and being united as one from the devastation caused by the Second World War. I think that Japan can play a unique role in peace building, as Japan is the only country which has suffered an atomic bombing, a country with a pacifist Constitution, and a country free from religious fundamentalism. Japan is determined to forge ahead with developing human resources that are able to fulfill this role in the international community.

I would like to touch upon some areas of possible co-operation between Japan and the UK.

(1) To enhance a further cooperation between Japan and the UK in the field of paramilitary activities and other peace building initiatives.

(2) To seek cooperation and advice from the UK as a precursor in human resource development in peace building.

(3) To enhance post-graduate level academic exchanges in the field of peace and war studies between the two countries, and to act jointly to propagate peace and security studies throughout Asia.

(4) To create a network of non governmental organizations between our two nations.

(5) To conduct a joint study on the reform of United Nations Peace Keeping Operations, as well as for the establishment of an early warning system.


Hans Tietmeyer, the former head of the German Bündesbank, once said something like the following, and I quote from memory...

"The German people have a broken, an interrupted, relationship with their own history. They cannot parade like others. They cannot salute their flag with the same enthusiasm as others. Their only safe symbol is the Mark."

Replace the "German" with the "Japanese", and the "Mark" with the "Yen", and you can also see why the Japanese have long been shy and reserved in discussing universal values such as democracy and human rights.

However, I can assure you that those days are gone.

Sixty years have not been a short period of time.

Particularly over the last decade and a half, the Japanese people have kept encouraging themselves to join forces with others in the pursuit of democracy, human rights, and other universally accepted values.

Our diplomacy is much more driven by values than before.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 21st century is the age of balance. This struggle for balance is being waged on an international, State, and individual level, between a dichotomies of competing values. These are:

1. Development vs. Environmental Protection;
2. Globalization vs. Regionalization;
3. High Tech Information vs. Individual Privacy;
4. Group Orientation vs. Individualism;
5. Work vs. Leisure;
6. Materialism vs. Spiritualism;
7. Male vs. Female;
8. Military Solutions vs. Non-Military Alternatives;
As well as,
9. National interest and international interest.

In closing, I would like to end with a quote Aristotle, which I encountered last year at Oxford University.

"It is more difficult to organize peace than to win a war; but the fruits of victory will be lost if the peace is not well organized".

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