Sectoral Analysis of the International Situation and Japan's Foreign Policy
Efforts toward the realization of a better global society
A. Overview-Human Security
Japan emphasizes "Human Security" from the perspective of strengthening efforts to cope with threats to human lives, livelihoods and dignity as poverty, environmental degradation, illicit drugs, transnational organized crime, infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, the outflow of refugees and anti-personnel land mines, and has taken various initiatives in this context. To ensure "Human freedom and potential," a range of issues needs to be addressed from the perspective of "Human Security" focused on the individual, requiring cooperation among the various actors in the international community, including governments, international organizations and civil society.
Based on this perspective, Prime Minister Obuchi took the opportunity of a December 1998 conference entitled "An Intellectual Dialogue on Building Asia's Tomorrow" to emphasize the importance of "Human Security" in making the 21st century a "human-centered century." In a policy speech delivered in Hanoi later that month entitled "Toward the Creation of a Bright Future for Asia," Prime Minister Obuchi clearly located "Human Security" in Japan's foreign policy, announcing, for example, the establishment of a Human Security Fund under the United Nations.
Further, at the June 1999 Meeting of the Prime Minister of Japan and the Prime Ministers of the Nordic Countries, the Prime Ministers affirmed that to realize a more humane society in the world it was necessary to seek every possibility of international cooperation from the perspective of "Human Security." Also in June, the G8 Foreign Ministers' Conclusions noted a convergence of views among Ministers on the importance of "Human Security." Through such meetings, Japan engaged in lively discussion with the international community.
In relation to Japan's development policy, in June, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations University co-hosted an international symposium entitled "Development: With a Special Focus on Human Security." Following an opening address by Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Keizo Takemi delivered a keynote speech. At the symposium, representatives from international organizations, donor countries and developing countries engaged in fruitful discussions on how to incorporate a "Human Security" perspective into development, looking specifically at healthcare, poverty eradication and African development. The Medium-Term Policy on Official Development Assistance, compiled in August, also refers to the human security approach.
The Human Security Fund was established at the United Nations on the basis of the March contribution of around 500 million yen from Japan, and a number of specific human security projects are currently underway on the basis of this Fund. The Fund has been used for projects directly benefiting individual local residents, including: the Human Dignity Initiative Project carried out by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to eradicate poverty in Southeast Asia; the Medical Training Project in Tajikistan, designed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to improve public healthcare services in Tajikistan by providing intensive training for local doctors, nurses and midwives; the Tokyo International Conference on Semipalatinsk, held in Tokyo in September to appeal to the international community for further assistance to the population in the Semipalatinsk region, Kazakhstan affected by nuclear test radiation; and the Emergency School Rehabilitation in Decane, Kosovo, carried out by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to rebuild two destroyed elementary schools with a Japanese NGO. Japan also earmarked 6.6 billion yen for the Human Security Fund from the FY1999 supplementary budget to assist the rehabilitation of Kosovo and the return of refugees, as well as the rehabilitation of East Timor, seeking to provide a swift and flexible response to the challenges presented. On the occasion of the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) 40th Anniversary Symposium: "In Quest of Human Security" held in December, Prime Minister Obuchi explained that Japan would project a perspective of human security into respective policy fields.
As observed above, Japan is leading discussion on "Human Security" in the international community, while undertaking the implementation of concrete policies. These efforts will be strengthened in the years to come, positioning "Human Security" as a key perspective in developing Japan's foreign policy.
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