The Emergence of Human Security: 15th Anniversary
Remarks by Mr. Koichi Takemasa, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
(October 23, 2009 (Friday), United Nations University Headquarters)

(photo) State Secretary Takemasa
(Photo: United Nations University)


Dr. Govindan Parayil, Vice Rector of the United Nations University (UNU), Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman,

I would like to make a brief remark on this occasion. I am Koichi Takemasa, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

I warmly welcome the holding of this symposium today on the occasion of UN Day, on the theme of "human security." Japan attaches great importance to human security and has been promoting the concept in the international community, especially at the United Nations (UN). United Nations University (UNU), the organizer of this symposium, has been assisting the activities of the UN through conducting highly specialized research activities. The Government of Japan has been paying particular attention to UNU's intellectual contribution. I would like to express my deepest respect for your activities.

On September 24, a week after the launch of the new administration, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama attended the UN General Assembly. He announced to the world the basic diplomatic policy of the new administration and its stance of placing importance on the UN. The world is facing various challenges and drastic changes. Issues related to international peace and security, including nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as global challenges, including environmental, economic, financial and developmental issues, cannot be fully dealt with by any single country. I believe that the UN is playing an extremely vital role in uniting the world's efforts in addressing these issues. Japan intends to make greater use of the UN, which serves such a crucial role, and to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the UN. Furthermore, I strongly believe that Japan, as a member of the UN, has the capacity to play an even greater role in the UN, especially in the Security Council, of which Japan is a non-permanent member at the moment. I also believe that Japan can further lead international efforts. Prime Minister Hatoyama stated at the UN General Assembly, "Japan will continue to engage actively in the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform, pursuing the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent membership and Japan's permanent membership in the Council," and emphasized the urgent need for Security Council reform.
Japan wishes to contribute to realizing world peace and prosperity within the UN framework by investing both human and financial resources. In addition, Japan will provide its technology, experience and vision, particularly in the areas where Japan has strength, such as nuclear disarmament and climate change. In this way, the new administration of Japan will advance its policy that places importance on the UN.

Human security, the theme of this symposium, is the concept that Japan cherishes and has been promoting. The concept has been implemented in the field as an issue for the international community to work on together. Compared to 64 years ago, when the UN was founded, the threats faced by people around the world have diversified. They easily spread across borders, and are closely interrelated with each other. There are limits to how much each country or region can do individually in dealing with these threats. As such, the concept of human security is gaining momentum as a notion to supplement the traditional idea of national security. Human security focuses on each person. It aims to protect human lives, livelihoods and dignity through empowerment of both individuals and communities so that they can fully realize their rich potential, and protection of people from various threats, including conflicts, poverty, landmines, drugs and infectious diseases. One of the goals stated in the manifesto of Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is to establish "A society where each and every person's life matters, a society in which people view others' happiness as their own." I believe that the goal of our administration and the promotion of human security are indeed in the same direction. Both share the philosophy of respecting the dignity and safety of each individual, and of realizing a peaceful and prosperous society with continuous effort.

Approximately 15 years have passed since the concept of human security was first taken up by the international community. Japan has, in particular, placed its focus on not only advocating this concept in the international community, but also realizing human security through implementation in the field. The Official Development Assistance (ODA) Charter, which was amended in 2003, makes the perspective of human security its basic policy for Japan in providing both bilateral and multilateral assistance through international organizations.

I would like to give you a specific example. Japan has been supporting the project entitled "Rebuilding Communities in Post-Conflict Liberia" through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security established by Japan. Liberia is now recovering from an armed conflict. In this project, international organizations and local communities are working together to improve people's access to basic social services, such as health, education and water, and to support agriculture, which is the main industry in Liberia. This project is regarded as a model case for international organizations to develop future projects.
Through Japan's continuous efforts and achievements as I have just described, human security is definitely taking root as an essential concept for the UN in establishing a new foundation for peace and prosperity in the world.

However, the world, and in particular the people of developing countries have not yet been freed from various threats. The recent financial and economic crisis has seriously affected the lives of the people of developing countries. As stated by Prime Minister Hatoyama at the UN General Assembly, the challenge presented by the issues of peacebuilding, development and poverty is one of the priorities of the foreign policy of our new administration. We will extend assistance to developing countries from the perspective of human security in order to create a world in which as many people as possible can live free from threats to their lives and livelihoods and they can realize their rich potential. In this regard, it is effective in areas such as health and education to mesh Japan's commitment with the expertise and the rich field experience of UN organizations. With this perspective in mind, Japan will continue to support efforts of UN-related organizations.

In closing, I hope that this symposium will offer an opportunity to review from various aspects of commitments by Japan and the international society in enhancing human security and to share effective proposals for future activities.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

Related Links

Back to Index