Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi
On the occasion of the International Symposium on Human Security:
"Human Security - Its role in an era of various threats to the international community"

Venue: Goshiki-no-Ma, Akasaka Prince Hotel, Tokyo
Date: 25 February 2003

Japanese

Co-chairs of the Commission on Human Security Mrs. Ogata and Professor Sen; distinguished panelists; honored guests:

As the organizer of this International Symposium on Human Security, please let me extend my heartfelt appreciation for your participation. It gives me great pleasure to hear that the symposium was the scene of much lively and positive discussion on human security.

[The current international situation]

Ladies and gentlemen,

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, we assumed that the 21st century would be free of war, a century of peace and prosperity.

Instead, in the first year of the new century, we witnessed the September 11 terrorist attacks, which victimized many people, including Japanese nationals. Today, ethnic, religious and other kind of strives have led to major conflicts in more than 20 regions of the world. Globally, well over 10 million people have lost their homes and jobs, forced to flee their own countries to live elsewhere as refugees. For a variety of reasons, an additional 8 million endure life as internally displaced persons. In principle, these people should be protected by their states, but due to diverse factors, states cannot provide them with peace and security.

Over the last few years, we have witnessed globalization in the form of an ever-increasing movement of people, goods, money, services and information across international borders. Globalization has made our lives more convenient, but at the same time global problems such as transnational organized crimes including the trafficking of human beings, arms and illicit drugs, the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and global environmental degradation, are becoming more serious at a speed and scale not seen before. These problems cannot be resolved effectively by individual countries working independently.

Thus, it is becoming increasingly difficult to resolve serious, widespread problems that directly threaten the lives, livelihood and dignity of individuals solely by applying the traditional concept of "state security," under which each national government protects the lives and property of its people by maintaining the security and prosperity of the country. It continues to be just as important that each state formulate security and economic policies to ensure its own "state security" as a nation state. However, these policies should now be complemented by efforts focused on the individual and on communities.

I believe that the ideal of human security calls us to strengthen our efforts to enable each individual human being to achieve his or her abundant potential, and to ensure that the viewpoints of individual people are respected. The Japanese Government has actively promoted these goals as an important perspective in Japan's foreign policy, and since last year, I have personally continued to stress, in newspapers, magazines and other media, that human security should be one of the areas of emphasis of Japan's foreign policy and its Official Development Assistance (ODA).

During my recent Policy Speech in the Diet, I said I would put into practice a "creative foreign policy" through Japan's further active involvement in the creation of order and rule-making in the international community, and that I would base these efforts on a foreign policy of "strength," "caring" and "straight-forwardness." This policy will form the basis of Japan's efforts to introduce this new perspective to the international community and to promote its acceptance.

[Practical experiences]

A moment ago I spoke about regional conflicts, and as a case in point I would like to mention my visit to Sri Lanka in January. There, I felt even more keenly the importance of achieving human security, and realized the vital role of the international community in post-conflict reconstruction.

Sri Lanka endured two decades of continual conflict, but is now moving toward peace. I went to Jaffna in the north, where the fighting had been heavy, and witnessed an international NGO clearing anti-personnel landmines. Mines threaten all people - combatants and non-combatants, men and women, young and old, people of all ethnic backgrounds.

Japan is supporting efforts to eliminate threats of this type, from the perspective of ensuring the "consolidation of peace." Japan will also hold the Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka in June this year, and will work with the international community as a whole to support efforts for peace in that country. While observing the situation in Jaffna, I heard that a machine called the "Stone Crusher," provided by Japan to clear landmines, is very useful in ridding stony ground of mines. In Sri Lanka, the first step toward peace is to make it possible for the diverse people living there - Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and all others - to be free from the threat of landmines. Here, too, human security offers an important perspective.

Mr. Hamid Karzai, President of the Transitional Administration of Afghanistan, visited Japan from the 20th to the 23rd of this month. As you all know, Afghanistan has freed itself from the chaos of many years of conflict and is now moving step by step toward nation building. While the President was in Japan, the Tokyo Conference on "Consolidation of Peace" in Afghanistan was held. During the Conference, representatives from Afghanistan expressed a strong desire and a clear vision to promote the disarmament, demobilization and social reintegration of former soldiers. Japan and other members of the international community reassured the Conference of their support and cooperation.

About one year has passed since Japan organized the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan, with Mrs. Ogata, the Prime Minister's Special Representative for Afghanistan Assistance, as the co-chair from Japan. Since then, support from the international community has been steadily forthcoming.

[The role of the Commission on Human Security]

Ladies and gentlemen,

I understand that, during its last meeting, the Commission on Human Security agreed on its Final Report. The Report and the recommendations contained in it were explained during today's Symposium.

I know that much serious discussion and research went into completing the Report, and would like to reiterate here my appreciation to and sincere esteem for Mrs. Ogata and Professor Sen, Co-chairs of the commission, and all the Commissioners, for all the hard work.

I also hope to continue receiving advice from Commissioners as we move to promote human security.

I can assure you that the Japanese Government intends to take into account the Report's findings while developing new measures to further promote its foreign policy focused on human security. We will do so at a wide range of fora, such as the United Nations and other multilateral gatherings, and as we advance bilateral cooperation with individual countries as well.

Japan's ODA has been playing an effective and important role in promoting human security. The Government has decided to greatly expand its conventional grant assistance for grassroots projects by offering "grassroots / human security grant aid," in keeping with the human security concept. Through its establishment of the Trust Fund for Human Security in the United Nations in March 1999, Japan has continued to offer concrete assistance, giving an orientation to the activities of international organizations that is based on the concept of human security.

From now on, on the basis of this Report, Japan aims to utilize these two tools for realizing human security even more actively, achieving effective synergies between the two. For this purpose, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will strengthen all of its activities on this issue, with the participation of all the divisions concerned at the Ministry.

Although it has almost no natural resources, Japan has developed into a country whose production represents one-seventh of the GNP of the world. I believe this was due to the hard work of the Japanese, and, more than anything else, the hopes they have had for the future.

I am convinced that Japan can, with pride, demonstrate leadership in promoting efforts aimed at achieving a world where all 6 billion people live in dignity, and promoting nation building through society building.

[Conclusion]

In closing, I hope that today's Symposium has been worthwhile for all of you, and once again thank all Commissioners for their hard work and zeal.


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