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A. Yamanaka: Address to the International Leadership Conference

Address to the UPF International Leadership Conference
Seoul, Korea, February 6-10, 2011

The dawn of 2011 has made it apparent that the international community is to seek for prosperity based on peace and stability. We have learned from the mistakes of U.S.-led war against Iraq and Afghanistan. On the other hand, strained finances and budgetary deficits with economic slow down bring a conceptual change from traditional security to non-traditional one, because of cost effectiveness. Even rising China cannot continue her growth forever and can turn into a country with a shortage of water, food, and energy. The North Korean nuclear problem can extend to Iran and even Burma. It goes without saying that the fundamental problem of the Middle East — the Israel-Palestine issue — is also getting worse and worse. In addition to these, we, the world community, face new types of difficulties such as Egypt, Tunisia, and the political instabilities in neighboring countries.

In this environment, the challenge to all countries is to consolidate their own identities and influence. In order to do so, it is necessary to use a two-handed policy: one is military preparation and the other is non-military diplomacy. This means a combination of traditional security employing military tools and perspectives, and non-traditional security, which is soft power such as conflict prevention and resolution, promoting regional confidence-building measures, and a range of economic, political, and humanitarian security objectives.

In his policy speech in July, the UK Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. William Hague, concluded by saying: “In short, a foreign policy that embraces the networked world. For seen in this light, although the next 20 years is likely to be a time of increased danger in foreign affairs, it is also a time of extraordinary opportunity for a country that sets out to make the most of its still great advantages.”

And the U.K. Security Review issued in mid-October is the first review from not only military perspectives but also all aspects including smart power. Its subtitle is “Making Security a Culture.” Preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention are now common slogans among policymakers. The Obama administration claimed them as pillars of its foreign policy on January 7, 2011.

Japan is very unique in terms of religion. Japan has accepted various kinds of religions such as Confucianism, Shintoism, and Buddhism. In addition to these, Christianity was introduced, and there are more than 30 mosques in Japan. Therefore, we can be free from religious friction. In addition, Japan is also free from the disputes in the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South America. Therefore, Japan should take more initiative on interfaith dialogue in cooperation with the UN.

In 2006, I visited Kosovo and asked the President to be generous to the minority Serbian Orthodox believers, and the first president to attend Easter services at Church IS Mr. Sejdiu himself.

Japan is the only country who has lost hundreds of thousands of lives from atomic bombs. Therefore, Japan neither creates nor possesses nuclear weapons through determined political will, in spite of our technological and financial capacity.

As Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs in Japan, I launched Human Resource Development in Asia for Peacebuilding in 2007 after five years of research. Half of the participants are Japanese and the other half are from other Asian nations. The program includes three months of lectures at Hiroshima University, six months of internship at UN-related organizations which are in conflict spots, and a wrap-up in Tokyo. In 2009 we expanded to the Middle East, because Prince Hassan of Jordan, who is well known as president of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, asked me, “Akiko, the Middle East is not the name which we call ourselves. We are West Asians.” And I told him immediately “All right, Prince Hassan, I will apply football game rules.”

From a slightly longer-term perspective, within 15 years or so, those who have been trained at the Center will conceivably be working in positions of influence throughout the region. This human network with its seeds sown by Japan would surely prove a useful and effective tool to prevent conflict from breaking out and be a base for peace and stability in Asia.

I remember the Labour government of the UK appointed the Prime Minister’s special envoy on peacebuilding and sent him to Japan. And the last moment of the Bush administration, the “Institute of Peace” was established in Washington, D.C., with a Norwegian director, and the first training course was carried out in 2009.

Therefore Japan should take more initiative in peacebuilding human development and encourage the establishment of a UN Peacebuilding Committee. Also, Japan should take more initiative in preventive diplomacy during natural and human-induced disasters.

Ladies and gentlemen, we should empower and encourage our friend, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to be more active in peacebuilding and conflict prevention. For example, I am happy to help establish a peacebuilding and preventive diplomacy human development scheme at the Peace and Security Section of UN WOMEN, which was just established last year. I will propose the following three to the Universal Peace Federation to inspire the UN more during 2011.

  1. Promotion of human development of peace building
  2. Promotion of the practical exercise of preventive diplomacy
  3. Promotion of interfaith dialogue in each nation and/or region together with the UN Week of Interfaith Harmony in order to seek for common interests of the new world order.

If we learn from history, Frederick II, called the "wonder of the world," was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages. He met Al-Kamil, king of Jerusalem, and agreed to a so-called ”Peace Treaty” in order to provide security for all the people living in Jerusalem during the time of the Crusaders in the 13th century. With his Arabic language as well as diplomatic ability, we can appreciate his effort as a model of interfaith dialogue. Ladies and gentlemen, let us walk and work together for the future. Thank you.