26 JANUARY 2008


Dr. Schwab, thank you for your kind introduction.
Distinguished Participants,

I am honoured to have this opportunity to speak before all of you. Today I would like to share with you Japan's thoughts on 'human security.'

('Human security' during or after conflict)

In 2004, the United Nations High-Level Panel, whose members included the mother of the very notion of 'human security' Madame Sadako Ogata and the Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia Mr. Gareth Evans, issued a report. This report has argued that achieving peace and security is a long-term challenge that stretches from preventive activities before the outbreak of a conflict to post-conflict reconstruction and development. And providing seamless assistance throughout this long and complicated process, in my view, would certainly require the perspective of 'human security.'

Here I direct my attention to people who have found themselves in the midst of a conflict, or in its immediate aftermath, especially women and children. It is essential for the international community to work at the grass-roots level on 'protection and empowerment' of those individuals and communities. At the same time, in order to prevent people from relapsing into conflict and allow peace to take root, it is necessary to develop institutional framework to ensure rule of law and democracy so that 'human security' is maintained in a sustainable manner.

Based on this view, Japan actively contributes to discussions in the Peacebuilding Commission where it currently holds the chairmanship.

(Putting 'human security' into practice on the ground)

Japan does not intervene by force, as a matter of national policy, in such conflict situations where the international community may have to seriously consider fulfilling their 'responsibility to protect'; we are a nation that has primarily focused on humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Sudan and Cambodia among others, Japan has carried out assistance for reconstruction and peace consolidation through bilateral ODA as well as multilateral tools such as the Trust Fund for Human Security established in the UN. In Afghanistan, Japan, in cooperation with NATO PRTs, has been providing support to NGOs and local government administrations that are active in the areas of education and health. Under the leadership of Madame Ogata, JICA is working on the ground to improve livelihood and reduce poverty in Afghanistan.

I feel that the importance of ensuring the safety of humanitarian and reconstruction workers like them, who are in the forefront of building peace, should never be overlooked.

(Japan's future undertakings)

Japan will steer its way towards becoming a country with high aspirations that does not hesitate to toil for the common interests of the region and the world, playing its role as a "Peace Fostering Nation" that contributes to peace and development in the world. To that end, I aspire to make Japan a hub of human resource development as well as research and intellectual contribution in the field of peace-building, while carrying on with the kind of work that Japan has focused on so far. I will also consider ways to strengthen Japan's contribution for activities on the ground in conflict-affected zones.

These are my thoughts on enhancing 'human security' further - I am afraid that I will not be able to stay for the discussions, but I would like to express my sincere hope that active discussions in this session will be another step forward towards resolution of various challenges that the international community faces today.

Thank you very much.

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