Women's Issues

November 13, 2023
Photo session before the WPS+I (Women, Peace, and Security + Innovation) symposium
Foreign Minister Kamikawa speaking at the WPS+I (Women, Peace, and Security + Innovation) symposium
(Photo) Foreign Minister KAMIKAWA’s participation in the WPS+I (Women, Peace, and Security + Innovation) symposium

On November 13, commencing at 14:00 p.m. (local time; November 14, 7:00 a.m. JST) for approximately 1 hour, Ms. KAMIKAWA Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, who is visiting San Francisco, U.S. to attend APEC Ministerial Meeting, participated in the WPS+I (Women, Peace, and Security + Innovation) symposium co-hosted by the Japan Society of Northern California, the Northern California Asia Society, the U.S.-Japan Council, and the Silicon Valley Japan Platform. The overview of the event is as follows.

  1. Following opening remarks by Larry Greenwood, President of the Japan Society of Northern California, Minister Kamikawa took the podium to deliver the keynote speech.
  2. Minister Kamikawa began by stating that WPS is an important concept in that it serves as a steppingstone to bring women's and girls' issues, which had traditionally been discussed as social and economic issues, into the realm of international society and security. However, in the current era of uncertainty, we should no longer discuss the economy as “the economy”, and peace and stability as “peace and stability”, as we have done in the past, but rather discuss the economy, peace, and stability as inseparable issues. And with San Francisco being home to thousands of women-owned businesses, and women's economic empowerment being a key agenda item at this APEC Ministerial Meeting, it is timely to discuss "WPS + Innovation" to bring innovation to the WPS agenda and take it to the next level.
  3. In addition to sharing her own involvement with WPS, Minister Kamikawa stated that people from a wider range of positions can contribute WPS, including women and youth, and introduced relevant research results and examples; in particular, noting that the more economically stable a society is, the less likely it is to experience violence and conflict. Additionally, societies that have achieved higher levels of gender equality and women’s participation have higher rates of economic growth, and it is often pointed out that measures that do not incorporate women's perspectives will not be sustainable.
  4. Furthermore, Minister Kamikawa stated that men’s engagement is essential for the promotion of WPS and the empowerment of women, and that it is critical to incorporate the WPS agenda in the areas of disaster response, prevention and mitigation with natural disasters occurring frequently around the world. She also stated that in order to innovate the WPS agenda, she would like to bring together ideas from today's panel discussion on what can be done to achieve more resilient economic and social development to further promote WPS.
  5. Next a panel discussion was held, which was moderated by Ms. Suzanne Basalla, President and CEO of the U.S.-Japan Council with the participation of Ms. Dana Fujiko Heatherton, Head of New Markets for Waymo; Mr. Derek Kenmotsu, Head of Partnerships, AI/ML Defense Innovation Unit, U.S. Department of Defense; and Ms. Ellen Kamei, Member of the Mountain View City Council. The discussion was very active, with participants raising a variety of perspectives and ideas from their experiences of engaging in economic and progressive activities in the region while reflecting on Minister Kamikawa's statement.
  6. Following the panel discussion, Minister Kamikawa thanked the audience, saying that she was very much inspired by the rich discussions and would like to continue such engagement. The closing remarks were made by Ms. Susie Roos, Board Member of the Northern California Asia Society, who said that it was very meaningful to welcome Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa to the symposium hosted by the four organizations in the region and looked forward to continue working together as partners. After the closing, Minister Kamikawa shook hands with the audience and left the venue to much applause.
(Reference1)Women, Peace, and Security (WPS)

In 2000, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted the UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), which stated for the first time in the Council's history that international peace and conflict prevention and resolution require the equal participation of women, protection against sexual violence in conflict, and gender equality. To implement the resolution and related resolutions, Japan has so far formulated and implemented three rounds of action plans.

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