The International Symposium on Human Security
Remark by Ms. Makiko Tanaka
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

Tokyo, 15 December 2001

Mrs. Ogata,
Professor Sen,
Distinguished Panelists,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the organizer of this symposium on human security, I would like to welcome all the distinguished participants and also thank the audience for its presence.

Human security is the concept that I have always had in mind since I took office as Foreign Minister. I have been thinking that human security cannot be addressed without conflict prevention. The success of conflict prevention depends on how much diversity people can respect. When people respect others' different values and opinions with the help of education, they can co-exist peacefully. Such attitude helps preventing conflicts and leads to promoting human security.

I truly felt this when I looked into the clear eyes of children in the Shamshatoo refugee camp in Pakistan last month. I was deeply moved when they sang a song for me, the song to yearn for their home country. For their return, they need demining, agriculture, technologies, basic infrastructure, governance and many others. What can we do? What can the international community do to help reconstruct their country?

Such experience in the camp gives me a chance to put human security in a broader perspective. In order to ensure each individual's dignity in this age of rapid globalization, we need to address challenges to humankind not only from the viewpoint of state security but also from the perspective of people. Human security is an idea that focuses on protection of people from threats to human life such as poverty, environmental degradation, terrorism and conflicts.

Speaking of terrorism, many lives were lost and human dignity was destroyed in the September 11th terrorist attacks. Here, too, the human security perspective can play an important role, because from that perspective we can address not only terrorism itself but also its fundamental causes. Removing threats to individual human beings such as conflicts can contribute to bringing terrorism to an end in our world.

Human security is one of the most important perspectives, on which Japan's foreign policy is based. Japan established the Trust Fund for Human Security in the UN. It also supports the "Commission on Human Security", co-chaired by Mrs. Ogata and Professor Sen. Because human security takes in a wide range of issues, intellectual activity and practical experience are needed if we are to better understand and promote this idea.

It is clear that human security will become more and more important. Let us work together to find ways to face our challenges by drawing on the wisdom and expertise of the entire international community. In closing, I would like to thank again all the participants and members of the audience here today.

Thank you very much.

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