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Speech by Ambassador Orita on Japan's Role in the International Community at Edinburgh University

On 22 April, Ambassador Orita delivered a speech at Edinburgh University during his 3 day visit to Scotland.

22 Apr 04

Principal and Vice Chancellor, distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to be here today.

I am always happy to be in Scotland, as I have some personal connection with Scotland. 36 years ago when I was working as third secretary at the Japanese Embassy in London , I got married at St. Columba's Church of Scotland in London, a Scottish Presbyterian Church. My wife is Japanese. In 1876, her grandfather was converted in Japan to Scottish Presbyterian by a Presbyterian missionary who came to Japan at that time, and in 1882, he together with his brothers established a church in the centre of Tokyo. It is called Takanawa Church. It is a small church, but it is a pretty one, and still there. It must have been his dream to visit Scotland. With this family history behind us, my wife and I chose the Presbyterian Church when we decided to get married, and we have been happily married since then under the Scottish protection.

There are many historical human links between Japan and Scotland. In the 19th century, a number of Scotsmen helped to set the wheels of Japan's modernization in motion - in some cases, literally. For instance, Thomas Glover was responsible for the arrival in Japan of its first experimental steam locomotive in 1865. Thomas Dyer became the first principal of the newly-founded Imperial College of Engineering in Tokyo, and thus laid the foundation for the teaching of engineering in Meiji Japan. Richard Henry Brunton supervised the installation of a system of lighthouses for the entire coast of Japan and took part in a variety of other civil engineering projects. The father of Japanese whisky, Mr. Masataka Taketsuru, also learned about whisky production in Scotland in the early 20th century and then headed for Hokkaido, which has a similar climate to the Highlands.

Nowadays, Japan and Scotland enjoy close ties through investment, academic collaboration and cultural exchange.

Today I would like to talk about ��׫apan's role in the international community�ߡ� including some of Japan's lesser-known endeavours.

I will begin by explaining Japan's position from a global point of view. The first thing that comes to mind is Japan's position as an economic power. In the UK alone, there are over 1000 Japanese companies including those in the automobile and consumer electronics industries.

There are 191 countries in the world and in terms of the size of economy, Japan is second behind the United States with 15% of total global GDP. This size of economy is about 3 times that of the UK and 4 times that of China. The population of Japan is 2% of the world and the area is about 0.3% of the land area of the world.

In terms of the amount of Official Development Aid (ODA) for developing countries, Japan is second in the world. Its financial contributions to United Nation ' s activities amount to around 20%, much larger than the total of financial contributions the four permanent members of the Security Council - UK, France, China and Russia.

Secondly, Japan has few natural resources of its own and has depended upon the international economic exchanges with all over the world. Food self-sufficiency rate is around 40% and Japan depends on imported oil 100%. Japan suffers when disputes occur and disturbs economic exchanges somewhere even very far from Japan and it is therefore in Japan's national interest that the world is in a state of peace and stability.

In recent years, the necessity for the international community to cooperate with each other has greatly increased.

One reason for this is globalisation of the economy. It is becoming increasingly important for the international community as a whole to approach various problems including those concerned with economic activity such as the environment. Business activities have now become ����orderless.�ߡ�Large reciprocal investments can be seen taking place between the UK and Japan: for example Vodafone has invested in Japan, while NTT Data has invested in the UK. According to a survey carried out every 3 years by the BIS, in 2001 the total global value of the foreign exchange market exceeded 1 trillion dollars in one day. People, products, capital and information are physically moving across the border.

Secondly, the threat to the security of people and nations is changing. Wars between sovereign nations have decreased, but there are new threats, which the international community must collaborate as one to deal with. One such example is the problem of weapons of mass destruction. Highly dangerous weapons such as nuclear, biological and chemical weapons are particularly dangerous when possessed by nations or group of people whose actions are not rational. This is something that is not simply a threat to one particular country but a threat to global society as a whole. The threat of terrorism has indeed become part of daily life now and no place can escape from the threat.

Thirdly, conflicts that bring instability to the international community tend to turmoil within a state or across states when involved parties do not have the capacity to maintain stability on their own. The international community just cannot leave the situation as it is and some kind of intervention is considered to be an option.

In order to respond to these challenges, it is even more crucial that the international community cooperates to manage cross-border issues, and to secure stability and encourage peace in this unstable world. In this cause, Japan is of course actively participating in its own way and in every way possible.

To understand the role that Japan plays within the international community, it is particularly important to know the way in which Japanese foreign policy has changed in the past 13 or 14 years since the end of the cold war.

Since the Second World War, Japan has been forbidden by its constitution from using force other than for self-defence, and the notion of Self Defence Force personnel engaging in overseas operations has been regarded as something almost taboo. For many years, Japan's position towards global peace was somewhat reactive. It was regarded as being very important not to get involved in conflict, and instead Japan made financial contributions to the establishment of global peace. However, this stance has gradually changed over the years. During the first Gulf War period, although Japan made a huge financial contribution to the efforts of the US-led forces and also sent minesweepers to the region, there arose many arguments in Japan and abroad that Japan should play a much more positive role. Since then , that role has expanded considerably to embrace the dispatches of Self Defence Forces on UN peace keeping operations. The Self Defence Forces have participated in various peacekeeping operations and have provided emergency assistance. In the war against terrorism, Japan has also dispatched forces to participate in logistic operations. Then came Iraq. If one follows the way in which Japanese foreign policy has changed, the path is very clear. We are no longer waiting for peace and stability in a passive way. Japan has moved toward actively contributing to global peace.

It is a matter of course that each country has different backgrounds and different capacities. Japan has its own way of contributing to global peace.

I would like to explain Japan's efforts more concisely by talking about them on Iraq, the fight against terrorism and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and some examples of the consolidation of peace.

Firstly, I would like to talk about the issue of Iraq. Japanese Self Defence Forces are currently based in Samawah in southern Iraq, where they are providing humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to the Iraqi people. It was a difficult decision for Prime Minister Koizumi to send troops to Iraq. He faced stiff opposition in Japan over the deployment of the forces in Iraq. Japan considers that international community should help Iraqi people to reconstruct themselves as a peaceful, stable and democratic nation. Such Iraq will contribute to the stability of the Middle East, which are issues that concern the whole world. On June 30, it is intended that Iraq will return to a sovereign state. Whether this will occur smoothly or not is something which is greatly significant for the Middle East and indeed the rest of the world. At present, the situation in Iraq is very difficult. The most important thing is to give the Iraqi people visible signs of hope for their future. The picture should not be ����he occupation forces against the Iraqi people.�ߡ�The picture should be ����he international community offering helping hands to the Iraqi people in their efforts to rebuild stable, peaceful, prosperous and democratic Iraq.�ߡ�Japan is playing its role in assisting Iraq in every way possible. In this context, the role of the United Nations is very important and Japan welcomes the sift in the US policy towards more active UN role, the important shift which we noticed after the meeting in Washington between US President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on April 15. This is the direction which Japan has saying all the way. Although Japan is not a member of the UN Security Council, Japan has been making consistent approach to the members of the Security Council. It is also essential for us to accept that the issue of Iraq will not be a short-term process and I believe that it has become increasingly important that the UK and Japan, as the leading European and Asian allies to the United States cooperate successfully.

What Japan is doing in Iraq is primarily to offer humanitarian support to the Iraqi people and engage in reconstruction assistance. The Self Defence Forces are there not to engage in military combat operations. The Ground Self Defence Forces help restore damaged schools and hospitals, provides medical services and undertakes work on water supplies, while the Air Self Defence Forces are engaged in distributing emergency supplies.

Japan is also providing other various forms of reconstruction assistance in Iraq. At the reconstruction conference in Madrid last October, up to $5 billion was committed by Japan, and there are various projects including the supply of police vehicles and medical instruments for the hospitals in Samawah.

And Japan has coordinated closely with the British Government in implementing its aid programmes and we helped to finance the dredging of Iraq's only deep-water port, Umm Qasr in consultation with the British.

Next, I would like to talk about the fight against terrorism and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. As I stated earlier, this is a grave subject that is something which must have international cooperation.

Following September 11, Japan enacted the special anti-terrorism law and as part of the support activities based on this, the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Forces are refueling US and British vessels in the Arabian Sea. This is one significant area of Anglo-Japanese cooperation.

For the prevention of terrorism, the international community must be resolute as one and not allow terrorists to acquire strongholds from which they can carry out acts of terrorism. There are various types of terrorism and there exists no single solution. We must disable them by preventing them from gaining funds and weapons. It is equally important that we overcome the weaknesses of establishments and organizations that remain potential targets. Japan and UK are good partners in leading the coalition against terrorism. In contributing to the stability of Asia, including Indonesia, Japan is also involved in assisting countries where counter-terrorism capacities are inadequate.

Nuclear weapons are one example of weapons of mass destruction. In terms of nuclear disarmament, Japan, as the only country who had huge sufferings from nuclear bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 tackles this issue sternly. Based on a realistic and progressive approach, we have been putting forth several measures that are in line with our goal of realizing a safe, world free of nuclear weapons. One such measure is the submission of a nuclear disarmament resolution. This has been submitted at the UN General Assembly and has been met with approval from a number of countries. Last year 146 countries demonstrated their support for the Japanese resolution. A separate endeavour is the promotion of bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into effect. In short, this treaty is a measure which aims to prohibit nuclear tests. Japan ratified the treaty in 1997. The UK, being a nuclear power, ratified the treaty in 1998. Nevertheless there are countries which have yet to sign the treaty and others that have signed but are yet to ratify it. .

For the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, there are many more steps that need to be made. For example, if weapons of mass destruction were to be loaded in ballistic missiles and could therefore be carried to distant places, this would increase the scope of the area that would be under threat, and thereby increase the overall threat. Therefore, it is essential to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles as well. There exists however, no international regulation on the production, possession and movement of ballistic missiles and only control over export through the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Because of this, Japan has taken the first step to regulate ballistic missiles by labouring for the ��שague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC)�ߡ�

Although some of what I have just described is rather technical, what I am trying to say is that Japan has put forward various measures in the area of security and is undertaking diverse roles that are focused on the establishment and maintenance of global peace.

Since 1990s, Japan has taken an active role in UN peacekeeping activities and international humanitarian relief efforts in a variety of places. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the war in Rwanda and there are many programmes and articles that look back on those atrocities.

For Japan, Rwanda marked the first time that the Self Defence Forces took part in humanitarian assistance activities. At present, we have a unit of Self Defence Forces dispatched and have headquarters within the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights to oversee the ceasefire between Syria and Israel and we have dispatched forces in the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET).

(4) Through our experiences, Japan is promoting the concepts of ����onsolidation of peace�ߡ�and ����uman security�ߡ�acting as a pillar of diplomatic activity for world peace. The concepts of ����onsolidation of peace�ߡ�or ����uman security�ߡ�may sound unfamiliar to you. The starting points of these concepts is that in the post-cold war era, it is becoming more and more apparent that one can not solve many serious international problems that directly threaten the lives, livelihoods and dignity of individuals with the simple application of the traditional concept of the security of state. Many conflicts affecting the international community have been caused by various factors, including conflicts arising out of differences of religion and ethnicity, poverty of people within one country. Therefore, we have to take much more account of the security of the individual human beings to address the international issues. And in order to consolidate still fragile peace, we need a comprehensive approach. ��פonsolidation of peace�ߡ�starts from the promotion of the peace process and realization of ceasefire, securing of domestic stability and security, and the rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance.

I would like to explain some examples, which may not have reported much in this country.

Afghanistan was an example of a failed state, has through 20 years of civil war destroyed its economic and social infrastructure and has lost the fundamentals of governing rule. And it has been a breeding ground of terrorists. Now, the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) and US troops in Kabul are trying to maintain law and order but there are still so many armed groups throughout the country with sporadic incidences occurring particularly in the regional areas. Japan is promoting reform in Afghanistan through the peace process, security and humanitarian assistance. In 2002 a meeting for Afghanistan reconstruction assistance was held in Tokyo, and Japan itself had already contributed $5 hundred million. An example of the type of activities in which we are involved is overall regional development assistance on refugee situation. To help domestic refugees, we need to provide their homeland with secure means of livelihood, and this is particularly true in the regional areas. In order to do this, we are currently providing comprehensive assistance by focusing on the 3 selected regions in Afghanistan.

Mine countermeasures is another issue that needs to be dealt with. Afghanistan is a country known for having more mines than any other. There are said to be more than 300 new victims of mines every month. Japan plays a large part in mine countermeasures in Afghanistan and undertakes over 30% of UN activities in this field. This makes Japan the largest contributing nation in this field.

A similar situation to Afghanistan is that of Angola. In 2002, 27 years after independence, the civil war between the government-led (MPLA) and those opposed to the government ' s power (UNITA) finally came to an end. Previous peace accords in 1991 and 1994 have crumbled and led to repeated outbreaks of civil war . It is especially important that a peace settlement finally has taken hold . But without aid and assistance, it is not possible to achieve a stability after the long drawn out civil war. It is also said that the number of land mines buried in the ground far exceeds the population of Angola. Japan has taken the principal role in promoting peace, whilst removing land mines and preparing the necessary environment for the repatriation of Angolan refugees.

I would also like to cite the example of Sri Lanka. Japan sent observers to monitor the recent elections and, although there were some violations, for the most part the elections ran freely and fairly. Sri Lanka can be held up as one more example of progress for ����he consolidation of peace�ߡ� For more than 20 years Sri Lanka has been ravaged by internal violence, particularly in the North and East, where racial conflict between the distinct ethnic groups have persisted. Against this backdrop, Japan offered to hold peace negotiations and pledged aid from the international community. In order to create a framework in which the contribution of aid could be tied in with the peace process, the Tokyo Conference On Reconstruction And Development Of Sri Lanka was held in June last year. Through the various applications of our aid policies, Japan has been able to aid Sri Lankan development.

Another example is Western Balkans. At the beginning of this month, the Japanese government hosted in Tokyo an international ministerial meeting to discuss consolidation of peace and economic development in the Western Balkans. Western Balkans means Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. The meeting was co-hosted by Japan and EU. Foreign and Economic Ministers of each Western Balkan country met with Ministers of Western nations and members of international organizations to discuss on measures to promote sustained economic development to ensure lasting peace in these countries. There may well be some here who wonder why meetings such as this are held in Japan, so far away from the Western Balkans. Certainly geographically speaking, Japan and the Balkans are far apart. However, how to maintain the stability in the Balkans is one of the important challenges of the international community and Japan recognises that it cannot simply stand by and watch problems in the world from a distance.

What can be seen from Afghanistan, Angola, Sri Lanka and Western Balkans is that peace and development are interdependent and must be approached in a coordinated manner. In countries where civil war persists, those involved cannot simply be forced into peace through overbearing outside forces. Situation is different from country to country, but there are some elements which we can learn from our experiences and may apply to the rebuilding of Iraq.

As for Africa in general, Japan has made our strong efforts towards Africa. During the 1990s when Africa was largely neglected by the rest of the world, it was Japan who provided the lion's share of aid and assistance. Last autumn the major international conference called Tokyo International Conference on African Development was hosted by Japan. This was the third conference and we name it as ��׵ICAD III�ߡ� With the participation of 89 countries and 47 organisations, including 24 African sovereigns and heads of state, Prime Minister Koizumi made his effort to meet with each of the African heads of state individually. It may come as something of a surprise that the world ' s largest forum on African development, gathering together African leaders to tackle development policy, was initiated by Japan. In 1993, a time when, with the Cold War over, there was a tendency for African development to fall behind the rest of the world, the first TICAD was held in Tokyo. This established a major discussion forum on African development to be held every 5 years. The achievements of this forum cannot be underestimated, as they have given rise to a situation where the African nations are able to forge plans for development with their own hands.

Now I would like to finish by looking at United Nations reform.

To deal with the broad spectrum of issues within the international community more effectively, it is necessary for the United Nations to be strengthened. Because of the disagreements over military action, the UN 's role in Iraq has been ineffective. However, legally and politically it is only the UN who can give legitimacy to international activities.

The Organisation of the UN and its decision-making framework should be adjusted to the present situation of the world . The concept of the UN Charter was born out of the Second World War and it still retains the articles branding Japan and Germany as ����nemy nations'. And there is still plenty of room for debate on the structure of the UN Security Council.

Reform of the Security Council should be considered as a crucial step by all member states of the UN for enhancing the UN 's legitimacy and effectiveness. When reform of the Security Council is realised, Japan would like to assume greater responsibility as a permanent member of the Security Council, mobilising its experiences in various fields. Japan has served as a non-permanent member of the Security Council a total of eight times, more than any other member state.

UN reform should go beyond the reform of the Security Council. Reform of the administrative and financial parts of the UN is also essential for its efficacy. Greater transparency and effectiveness in UN public finance as well as balancing each country's contribution is one of the most pressing issues of reform. It is Japan who is paying almost 20% of the UN budget, but Japan is still unable to participate directly in the Security Council discourse, and this is seen as a great imbalance.

I hope I have explained some aspects of the role Japan has come to play in various world affairs. It is vitally important that countries like Japan and the UK perform a role appropriate to their responsibility on the world stage. Whether it is in the war on terror or the situation in Iraq, the combined efforts of Japan and the UK have become key elements in global stability. At the same time, it is fundamentally essential that the US play an appropriate role in relation to the range of issues in the world today. The American agenda is not necessarily without fault though. As the US ' most influential allies in Europe and Asia respectively, it is the very big responsibility of the UK and Japan to work to ensure that the US does not fall into unilateralism on the one hand or isolationism on the other hand . This means that Anglo-Japanese collaboration is becoming ever more important. On stressing this point once more, I would like to bring this speech to a close.

Thank you very much.


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