国連公開討論会 平和構築へ人的支援の拡充を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 19, 2010)

Govt should up physical peace-building support
国連公開討論会 平和構築へ人的支援の拡充を(4月18日付・読売社説)

It is important that the international community provide support without interruption to strife-hit countries until regional conflicts, including civil war, end and peace settles.

Japan should, first and foremost, increase its physical support for peace-building activities, which apparently compares poorly with that offered by other countries, if the government is to call for expanding assistance to conflict-torn countries.

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada chaired a U.N. Security Council open meeting on peace-building in New York on Friday.

Open debates, in which U.N. member countries other than Security Council members can also participate, are held one to three times a month. The Security Council president can select some of the topics to be discussed and Japan, the rotating president this month, chose "postconflict peace-building" as the theme.


Risk of reversion to conflict

Conflict-ravaged countries, including Afghanistan and Somalia, share a common trait in the fragility of their newly established governments, a situation that continues even after an antiterrorism war or civil war comes to an end. As a result, the reconstruction process in such countries is unable to get solidly on track, resulting in a reversion to conflict.

To have peace firmly take root, it is critical that the international community uninterruptedly provide support, including emergency humanitarian assistance in the beginning, followed by peacekeeping operations to restore security and development assistance to reduce poverty.

In the open debate, Okada stressed the importance of a comprehensive strategy that organically coordinates each country's support measures, including peacekeeping operations to ensure security. He apparently wants Japan to play a leading role by actively committing to crafting the peace-building strategy.

To this end, Japan needs to further strengthen the physical support it provides for peace-building activities.

Until recently, participation in peacekeeping operations by the Self-Defense Forces was limited to 39 personnel in the Golan Heights in the Middle East and elsewhere. About 350 Ground Self-Defense Force members were urgently dispatched to earthquake-devastated Haiti to engage in a humanitarian reconstruction, but that mission lasts only for six months. Civilians currently dispatched overseas total only 23, and no police officers are included.

Other than utilizing the SDF for peacekeeping operations, the government also should discuss measures to boost police officers and civilians to be dispatched for peace-building.


Addressing Afghan shortcomings

In particular, Japan significantly lags behind other countries in its assistance to Afghanistan.

Forty-four countries, including the United States and European nations, have dispatched nearly 90,000 personnel to join the International Security and Assistance Force, which stands at the forefront of maintaining security in war-torn Afghanistan. Of those countries, 14 also have sent many police officers and civilians to Afghanistan as members of Provincial Reconstruction Teams engaged in activities to rebuild the country.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in January ended the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Indian Ocean antiterrorism refueling mission, which had enjoyed a highly favorable reputation among the countries concerned.

Surely, Hatoyama does not think that peace can be built merely by giving other nations money.

The government should seriously consider physical assistance measures to serve as an alternative to the discontinued refueling mission.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 18, 2010)
(2010年4月18日01時09分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2010-04-19 09:59 | 英字新聞

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