What's New

Speech on Japanese Security Policy made by Ambassador Orita at the Defence and Security Forum

24 November 2004

Sir John, Lady Olga, My Lords, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you, Sir John, for very kind words of welcome and introduction. As Sir John indicated just now, the world is at a difficult time. There have been a lot of tragic incidents happening one after another. But at the same time, there is good news for this country. The world cup of Rugby. The catchword of this morning and over the weekend is "Let's All Do the Jonny". Isn't it wonderful? To pause a little bit and look far beyond with a level-headed mind before going into action is very important. This applies to anything. And with this in mind I will make my speech. I will talk about some basic points of "Japanese Security Policy", which may not be well known in this country.

The objective of security policy is none other than to ensure the peace and prosperity of our own nation. To achieve this, I believe that for Japan, which is not rich in natural resources and depends much on trade and interchanges with the outer world, it is essential to keep our defence capability and to create peace and stability in the surrounding region and the world.

Firstly, I would like to touch upon our constitution and the issue of a right to self-defence.
Based upon our own experiences in the past, and determined never to relive the horrors of war, Japan has made every effort to rebuild itself as a peace-loving nation since World War II. Lasting peace is the most fundamental wish of the Japanese people, and this idea is enshrined in the Constitution. Article 9 sets forth the renunciation of war, non-possession of war potential and the rejection of belligerence of the state. Nonetheless, as an independent nation, it is recognized that these provisions do not deny the inherent right to self-defence that Japan is entitled to maintain as a sovereign state. Thus, the right to self-defence is not denied and we possess the minimum level of armed strength needed to support an exercise of this right. The consistent policy of the Japanese government is that this right to self-defence, as defined in the Constitution, to be limited to the minimum necessary level for the self defence of Japan.

In relation to this, I would like to highlight the following.
Firstly, the defence capability, which Japan is permitted according to the Constitution, is strictly limited to the minimum level needed. Japan, therefore, is not allowed to be in possession of ICBMs, long-range strategic bombers or offensive aircraft carriers, as these are classed as offensive weapons, which, by the nature of their performance, are intended to be used only for the wholesale destruction of other countries.

Secondly, the Japanese Government takes the view that the exercise of the right to collective self-defence, which is beyond individual self-defence, exceeds the minimum necessary level for Japan's defence requirements, and therefore its exercise is not permitted under the Constitution. The use of force is allowed only in case Japan itself becomes the object of military attack.

Now, I would briefly like to discuss our nuclear policy. Japan, as the only nation to have experienced devastations of nuclear bombings, has renounced the option of nuclear armament. Japan adheres to the three Non-Nuclear Principles, of not possessing nuclear weapons, not producing nuclear weapons and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan. These principles are not just a policy of the Government but embody the strong anti-nuclear sentiments of the Japanese people. The horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki of 6th and 9th of August 1945, (I was 3 years old) were really a traumatic experience to the people of Japan. Despite the passage of all those years (Now, I am now 61 years old), recollections of the impacts of those bombs do not fade at all. Japan is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as a non-nuclear-weapon state and all nuclear facilities such as nuclear power plants are put under the rigorous inspection regime of IAEA. In the UN General Assembly, Japan has played a leading role for the adoption of resolution on "a path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons" every year since 1994. Only at the end of the last month, this year's resolution was adopted with an overwhelming majority. ( I have not noticed any press report on such an important matter) I have no doubt that Japan will strongly maintain this position.

The world is having to face up to serious security challenges such as regional conflicts, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and poverty, all of which can pose serious threats to achieving peace, stability and prosperity in the international community.

But how are we to deal with these enormous challenges?
Japan has been trying to play a valuable role in the international arena as a major global actor. Although it took some time for us to be fully involved in the efforts of the international community after the Second World War, our role, however it may appear cautious, has been steadily widening, with the support of other nations like UK, not only in the fields of the international economy and development, but also in the fields of political and security affairs. Our participation in the United Nations peacekeeping operations has been widening. So far we have been involved in 8 United Nations peacekeeping operations concerning, such as, the Disengagement Observer Force to protect the stability of the Golan Heights, Angola Verification Mission, Transitional Authority in Cambodia, Mission of Support in East-Timor, Operation in Mozambique. Japan also has dispatched personnel to 3 international humanitarian relief operations for refugees from Rwanda, Timor and Kosovo and 5 electoral monitoring activities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Timor and Kosovo.

Japan has put emphasis on comprehensive approach to conflicts. After the end of the cold war, many conflicts affecting the international community have been caused by many domestic factors such as religion, ethnicity and poverty of people. Consolidation of peace in these cases needs comprehensive approach. We consider that assistance extended by the international community to the countries in conflict should be based upon consideration of (1)promotion of peace processes through arbitration and mediation, assistance in elections (2) security of domestic stability through peacekeeping operations, establishment of domestic system, disposal of anti-personnel landmines and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants (3)humanitarian assistance for the repatriation and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons (4) reconstruction assistance to restore lifelines by restoring basic infrastructure. Japan has played a leading role in cooperation with other countries, in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, East Timor, conflicts over separation and independence in Ache, Indonesia and consolidation of peace in Sri Lanka and the Mindanao Region in the Philippines.

Japan also highlighted the importance of "human security", stressing the need for the international community to tackle the threats to the survival, dignity and livelihood of individual human beings. This concept is to address root causes of conflicts and instability of the world. This initiative is lead by co-chairs Mrs. Sadako Ogata, former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Professor Amartya Sen, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. The Government of Japan demonstrated its commitment by funding the Trust Fund for Human Security in the UN, and by the end of the fiscal year 2002 total contributions had amounted to more than 200 million US dollars. The Fund sponsored and supported various projects implemented by UN agencies which address various threats to human lives, livelihoods and dignity currently confronting the international community, such as poverty, environmental degradation, conflicts, landmines, refugee problems, illicit drugs and infectious diseases like HIV/Aids etc.

Now, I would now like to move on to discuss some of the specific issues, which Japan, together with international society, should deal with.
The situation in Iraq is, without doubt, one of the most pressing issues of the world. Japan has been consistently saying to US and other countries that this issue of Iraq should be regarded not in the context of "US & UK versus Iraq" but in the context of "the international community versus Iraq" and that it is important to mobilize the international community through the United Nations. Although Japan is not a member of the Security Council of the United Nations, we have made big efforts to make approaches to members of the Security Council, including non-permanent members of Africa, Asia and Latin America, with close coordination with US & UK. We have stressed the importance of the unity of the international community. We especially stressed the importance of the adoption of what we call the "second resolution"of the Security Council early this year. It was most unfortunate for us all that the Security Council could not overcome divergences of opinions and that military operations started. Japan expressed support to the military actions of US & UK, considering that, however regrettable it may have been, no other realistic option was there. Now, at this moment our common goal must now be clearly recognized: the international community should stand united in our desire to see Iraq reborn as a democratic and peaceful society. And in the wake of the recent bombings of the United Nations office in Baghdad, followed by several attacks not only to coalition forces but also to civilians engaged in the reconstruction of Iraq, we should be all the more determined to ensure peace and stability as soon as possible. In order to overcome the current difficulties, it is vital to provide the Iraqi people with a concrete vision as well as hope for the future. Japan joins other nations around the world in pledging to increase its efforts to bring Iraq back into the community of nations and to restore peace and prosperity to its citizens at the earliest possible time.

The recent approval by the Japanese Diet of the Special Measures Law allowing our Self-Defense Forces to be deployed for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance activities for Iraq also demonstrates Japan's commitment to playing our role in the world. The Japanese government is considering the dispatch of our self-defense forces to help Iraq not for combat operations but for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.

Last month the Government of Japan expressed its financial commitment at the International Donors' Conference on Reconstruction in Iraq held in Madrid. Firstly, we will provide grant assistance totaling 1.5 billion US dollars, which will mainly cover the immediate reconstruction and humanitarian needs for 2004. This grant aid will give priority to the revitalization of lifelines for the Iraqi people, including power generation, education, water and sanitation, health and employment in Iraq. This part of our commitment was announced some days ahead of the Conference to try to induce other countries to follow. Secondly, Japan will provide assistance of up to 3.5 billion US dollars through concessional loan, designed to meet the medium-term reconstruction needs, up until approximately 2007. In addition to the high-priority items mentioned earlier, we will also be focusing our activities on infrastructure development, including telecommunications and transport. Thus, together with the grant assistance of $1.5 billion, in total Japan will be providing assistance of up to 5 billion US dollars. These figures are second only to the figures of US.

These are difficult tasks. But we are determined to execute our commitments. Close cooperation, coordination and consultations with other countries are essential for us and we highly appreciate UK government on these matters. We are also making approaches to other EU countries like France and Germany to induce them to be much more forthcoming on the reconstruction of Iraq.

The North Korea issue is one of the most important questions and is in the forefront of the minds of the Japanese people. From the perspective of peace and security in Northeast Asia and international non-proliferation, the development and possession of nuclear weapons by North Korea must never be tolerated. Japan, in close contact with US, South Korea and other members of the international community, urges North Korea to immediately and completely dismantle all of its nuclear development programmes in a verifiable and irreversible manner. This issue should be resolved peacefully by diplomatic efforts, including the Six-Party Talks process. In addition, the intense anger over the abduction of Japanese nationals has by no means subsided. Based upon the Pyongyang Declaration between Japan and North Korea which was announced when Prime Minister Koizumi visited North Korea in September last year. Japan seeks the resolution of various outstanding issues between Japan and North Korea, including the nuclear issue, the missile issue and the abduction issue, the issue of normalization of diplomatic relations.

Adding to these regional issues, I would like to address two outstanding matters, which I believe are also priorities for the UK Government. That is the fight against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

As witnessed in the series of terrorist incidents around the world, the threat of terrorism remains as serious as ever. In the morning of last Friday, on 23 November, I was shocked and saddened to know about the terrorists attacks in Istanbul. I immediately sent my message to Secretary Jack Straw to express our sincerest sympathy to the UK Government and to those affected by the blasts, strongly condemning this terrible act and expressing also our steadfast belief that terrorism can never be justified. Personally speaking, I happened to be watching live the television as the events of 9-11 unfolded in New York and Washington. It was late at night in Tokyo, and one day before I was officially appointed as Ambassador to the United Kingdom. The experience certainly strengthened my belief that the fight against international terrorism is one of the most important duties of a diplomat. The Government of Japan, having recognized terrorism as an issue directly affecting our own security, has joined the international effort in this field. One good example of this is that Japan is continuing its support for the fight against terrorism after the 9-11 incidents, based on the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law. In this regard Japan's maritime self defence forces have been providing fuel to the UK Naval ships on duty in the Indian Ocean, and UK has become the second country after the US to which Japan provides such assistance. Also, Japan has strengthened measures to combat terrorist financing, immigration control, and it has increased assistance to developing countries, with special focus on Asian countries, in helping them to establish counter-terrorism capacities.

From the perspective of counter-terrorism and conflict prevention, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles and conventional weapons, including small arms, is one of the most urgent issues that the international community has to confront. In addition to enhancing the regimes under the Treaty of Non -Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Japan will strengthen its efforts in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation, such as dismantling decommissioned nuclear submarines of the Russian Federation in the far-eastern region, whilst the Government of U.K. is making similar efforts in the same direction in the Barents Sea.

In this regard, I would like to talk about our policy on missile defence. Japan launched a joint cooperative research programme with the United States on AEGIS BMD, formerly known as Navy Theatre Wide Defence, in 1999. Now there are ongoing discussions in the Government about the FY2004 budget to initiate the deployment of initial missile defence capabilities. Some countries have shown concerned over our efforts on missile defence, as they suspect that this would accelerate an arms race in the region. However, I am sure that the deployment of a proper missile defence system would help arms reduction and deter the proliferation of ballistic missiles, since it provides a credible denial capability to counter missile threats and thus diminishes the potential threat of ballistic missiles.

I would like to stress one issue of particular importance to the international community; that is the reform of the United Nations. Many people talked about the limits of effectiveness of the role of the United Nations and the Security Council over the matter of the Iraq crisis. Reform of the Security Council should be considered as a crucial step by all member states of the UN for the enhancement of the UN's legitimacy and effectiveness. When the reform of the Security Council is realized, Japan would like to assume greater responsibility as a permanent member of the Council, mobilizing its capabilities, experiences and expertise in various fields. Japan has served in the capacity of a non-permanent member of the Security Council a total of eight times, more than any other member state. But the reform should go beyond that of the Security Council. Reform of the administrative and financial sectors of the UN is also essential for its efficiency. The fact that Japan pays an assessed contribution of up to 20 percent of UN budgets, despite not being a permanent member in the Security Council, is a contentious issue in Japanese public. Fulfilling Japan's duties is exactly what makes Japan's calls for the reform all the more valid. At the same time, it is necessary for the UN budgets to be more efficient and transparent. Also, in the UN Charter, the terms of "Enemy State" are used in three articles. These are regarded as clauses for the former enemies to the Allied Powers, but I hope you can all join our views that these clauses have become obsolete, and should be deleted.

As you know, Japan and UK were allied countries from 1902 to 1922. During and before this period, Japan carried out much research and received significant support from UK, especially in the field of building-up a naval capacity. The battleship Mikasa, which Admiral Togo commanded at the Battle of Tsushima 1905, was built in Barrow-in-Furness in UK and she used exquisite Welsh coals. Today, we have preserved the Mikasa in Yokosuka as a memorial and there is a street called "Mikasa Street" in Barrow-in-Furness.

Both countries can legitimately be viewed as major actors in the international community - both have very similar views on issues concerning Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, as well as on global issues such as the fight against terrorism, non-proliferation and climate change.

We are cooperating and coordinating our policy on a day-to-day basis, both bilaterally and through multilateral frameworks such as UN. Both countries share basic common values and social systems such as freedom, democracy, commitment to free market economy and so on. We respect each other, and rely on each other, in addressing current issues. We need each other much more than before in conducts of foreign policies. In the world full of uncertainties Japan-UK relationship is a strong, important factor for peace and stability of the world.

For both countries, the United States is the most important ally. The firm ties that link Japan with the United States doubtlessly contribute to the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, and the same can be said for the UK and Europe. On the one hand, without the involvement and contribution of the US, it will be far more difficult for the world to resolve several of the outstanding issues. On the other hand, international cooperation is also what we should really aim for. It is furthermore essential for Japan and the UK to continue to speak to the US frankly whilst continuing to make efforts to consolidate our inseparable relationships of cooperation with the US, so as to keep the US engaged in the international arena. I was pleased that Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W Bush reaffirmed their commitment to close cooperation with each other as well as with the international community for the purpose of the stability and prosperity in the world.

Before I finish, I would like to say what an honour it has been to have the chance to make a speech before such an excellent audience.

Thank you very much indeed.

Japan-UK Relations
  Governmental Relations
  Decorations and Commendations
  Business & Economy
  Science & Education
  UK-Japan 21st Century Group