(Project of the Kajima Institute for International Peace)
Widening Security Task: Will SDF do the Job?
Associate, SSDP Research Fellow,
Sasakawa Peace Foundation
On November 15, the Government of Japan has ordered tasks to expand the role of Self Defense Force (SDF) in the UN Peace Keeping Operations. These are the rights to come and secure the safety of aid workers stranded by mob or aggressor, and to jointly-protect the UN cantonment with other contingents. Neither of these practice is uncommon to the forces of other countries, as they come out of necessity. Yet for Japan, as honoring the peace constitution, any "use of weapons" beyond unit-protection has traditionally been a subject of legal debate. While some still insists that it is a breach of constitutional rights, Prime Minister Abe"s government has passed the so-called Security Legislation in the Diet, a package of various legal advancements on SDF"s mandates and capabilities last year. The new tasks were among them on the role of SDF in multilateral missions.
The new tasks started to be effective from December 12 th by the newly arrived 11 th Engineer Contingent for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in capital Juba of the country. It is highly praised by the UN and probably so by other contingents and humanitarian agencies in the field that SDF can now assist and protect them. SDF is known in the field as the most disciplined and trained. And being the only contingent in Juba from advanced economies, SDF is the most equipped with advanced military gears, including a small fleet of Light Armoured Vehicles that could be used for guard and patrol.
However, a closer look at national caveat may disappoint some. According to the government, the Japan contingent can only provide supports to the UN staff and aid workers, in situation where they cannot escape by themselves or where the UNMISS infantry battalion who has primary responsibility cannot provide sortie. And it will be done only when the field commander is convinced to operate the task in confidence with own safety. Security support to other contingents nor protection of local civilians under attack is not in the scope of the new task this time, albeit that they are legally accepted.
It is therefore much needed by the SDF field commander and GOJ to communicate UNMISS HQ and others that their main role remains as engineering unit and the new Japan contingent does not actively take up security responsibility so as to avoid unnecessary confusion over command. At the same time, SDF needs to be accustomed with new mission tasks, with instruction from Tokyo on what to take and what not, and gain experiences and confidence through joint exercises and actual operation.
In the context of "Proactive Contribution to Peace"
Much has been discussed in Japan on the new tasks, yet they remain at technical issues and few on Japan"s global engagement. The new tasks assigned to SDF is a small step for Japan"s wider engagement in peace operations. Many foreign policy makers and observers have been wondering about the much-famed slogan of Mr. Abe"s "Proactive Contribution to Peace" means in practice. UNMISS and the anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia are the only current SDF operations abroad, and they were initiated by Mr. Abe"s predecessors. The answer we find is that Japan is not beefing up the deployments but is qualitatively more engaged in global security affairs.
The difficult part for SDF in South Sudan is that the new task came in the worst timing. The last July crisis demanded lives of several hundred people, including two Chinese soldiers under UNMISS. More than 40,000 people fled home and the UN compounds were also under attack. Reports say that some of those who tried to seek refuge at the UN compounds were assaulted. The UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, warned in his statement to the UN Security Council in November 17 th that "there is a strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines, with the potential for genocide. I do not say that lightly." Though SDF is not tasked to rescue local population, the very mission mandate of UNMISS is Protection of Civilians. If such worst case to happen, GOJ and SDF will have three options: to extend support for those needing help, to close the gate and secure own safety, or even to retrieve from the country. In any case, it is no doubt that Japan will face a serious challenge both at home and abroad. That is when Mr. Abe"s "Proactive Contribution to Peace" means in reality.
- March 2020, "Space and Security" Kazuto Suzuki Professor, Hokkaido University
- March 2020, "The US Security Space Policy --- With a Focus on the Establishment of Two Space Forces" Yasuhito Fukushima Chief Researcher, The National Institute for Defense Studies
- March 2020, "China's Recent Activities in Space and Cyberspace" Bonji Ohara Senior Research Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- March 2020, "Environmental Security and Japan" Takashi Sekiyama Associate Professor, Kyoto University
- March 2020, "Changes in Global Environment and Security --- US Security Strategy" Hideshi Tokuchi Senior Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
- February 2020, "Cyberspace Security" Motohiro Tsuchiya Professor, Keio University
- February 2020, "Japan's Space and Cyberspace Policy" Yukinari Hirose Former President of the National Institute for Defense Studies
- December 2019, "The US-China Confrontation --- Where Will Hegemony Reside Next?" Akio Takahara Professor, the University of Tokyo
- December 2019, "Challenges Facing the Chinese Economy" Osamu Tanaka Chief Senior Researcher, Institute of Developing Economies, JETRO
- December 2019, "US Strategic Perception on China: Implications for US Allied Partners" Tsuneo Watanabe Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- November 2019, "The Xi Jinping Administration's View of the International Order– China's emphasis on United Nations diplomacy and liberal economic policies−" Shin Kawashima, Professor, the University of Tokyo
- November 2019, "The Future of China's Security Strategy" Hideshi Tokuchi, Senior Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- November 2019, "China --- Its Confidence and Anxiety" Bonji Ohara, Senior Research Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- August 2019: Several Perspectives on the Korean Peninsula Issue--- The Deteriorating Japan-South Korea Relationship and the Uncertain Denuclearization of North Korea --- By Masahiro Akiyama Chairman, the SSDP
- July 2019, "An Outlook on the Denuclearization of North Korea--- What is the Stance of North Korea?---", Junya Nishino, Professor, Keio University
- July 2019, "An Outlook on the Denuclearization of North Korea --- How will the US move?", Narushige Michishita, Vice President, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- July 2019, "Discussion on Denuclearization of North Korea", SSDP Discussion Meeting on May 8, 2019
- May 2019: "Current Status and Prospects of South Korea and Japan's Frictions over History: How to address the Judicial Problems", Masao Okonogi, Professor Emeritus, Keio University
- May 2019: "South Korea and Japan's Frictions over History" (Comments), Junya Nishino, Professor, Keio University
- May 2019: Japan and South Korea Relationships (Question & Answer)
- March 2019: "The Present State and Prospects of the Indian Economy and Economic Policies" written by Koji Kobayashi, Senior Economist Mizuho Research Institute Ltd.
- March 2019: "The "Modi diplomacy" in the History of Indian diplomacy--- Departure from or maintenance of the traditional diplomacy? ---" written by Toru Ito, The National Defense Academy of Japan
- February 2019: Dynamics of Indian Politics and the 2019 General Elections, written by Chiharu Takenaka, Professor of Rikkyo University
- February 2019: "Cooperative Strategy" to Realize "Competitive Strategy"--- The composite structure of Japan's "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" strategy (vision) ---, written by Matake Kamiya, Professor at The National Defense Academy of Japan
- January 2019:, A paper, "How will the US midterm elections results affect the Trump administration's foreign policy for 2019?" written by Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- January 2019:, A paper, "The Present and Future of the International Trade Order" , written by Akihiko Tamura, Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- December 2018: The US-China Competition and Japan, written by Ryo Sahashi, Professor at Kanagawa University
- December 2018: An Outlook for the US-China Trade War―What makes the two economically interdependent superpowers confront each other?―, written by Takashi Sekiyama, Associate professor at Toyo University
- September 2018: Proposal, "The Denuclearization of North Korea and the Restoration of Peace in the Korean Peninsula― Correct Perceptions and Eight Proposals on Japan's North Korea Diplomacy－" edited by the Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies
- September 2018: "The Taiwan Policy of the Xi Jinping Administration in its Second Term: An Outlook on Cross-Strait Relations in the New Era" written by Yasuhiro Matsuda, Professor of the Tokyo University
- July 2018: "The EU States and Russia on North Korea Issues- Expansion of Influence through Diplomacy: Attempts and Limitations -" lectured by Yuichi Hosoya, Professor of Keio University
- "An Assessment of the US-North Korea Summit and an Outlook for the Future of the Korean Peninsula" lectured by Junya Nishino, Professor of Keio University
- "Korean Peninsula Issue and Japan's Future Security Policy" written by Hideshi Tokuchi, Senior Fellow of National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- July 2018: "US North Korea policy affected by personnel changes in the Trump administration" lectured by Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
- "China-North Korea relationship under Xi Jinping" lectured by Shin Kawashima, Professor of the Tokyo University.
- "North Korean Denuclearization and Russia" lectured by Nobuo Shimotomai, Professor of the Hosei University.
- March 2018: "The Network Hegemony Theory for a Security Architecture in The Asia Pacific Region" lectured by Masahiro Akiyama, Chairman, the Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies
- January 2018: "A Destabilized Middle East" lectured by Koichiro Tanaka, Professor, Keio University
- December 2017: "Problems in Sino-Japanese Relations, 1992-2042" lectured by Ezra F. Vogel, Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard University
- November 2017: "The Future of the Asia-Pacific Region" written by Yoriko Kawaguchi, Fellow, the Meiji Institute for Global Affairs, Former Minister Foreign Affairs
- October 2017: "A New Trend in India's Foreign Policy and Japan" Written by HIROSE,Takako, Professor, Senshu University
- August 2017: "The Shocks that shook the Transatlantic World and their Implication for Japan's Foreign Policy" written by HOSOYA, Yuichi, Professor, Keio University
- August 2017: "Does Economic Interdependence not Encourage Collaboration? ―Thinking Japan-China Relations from an Economic Perspective―" written by Takashi SEKIYAMA, Ph.D., Toyo University
- July 2017: Proposal article "The Trump Administration's Impact on the Cross-Strait Relations" written by Yasuhiro Matsuda, Ph.D.
- June 2017: Proposal article "The outlook for the relationship between two great powers and implications for Japanese diplomacy" written by Professor Shin Kawashima
- May 2017: (Emergency Proposal) Facing the Inconvenient Truth: Re-examining Policy for Peace and Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (Chief author, Masao Okonogi)
- March 2017: "Economic Influences of the Trump Administration" written by Professor Motoshige Ito
- February, 2017: Proposal article "Trump's Foreign and Security Policy - Unpredictable President, Realistic Secretaries - " written by Mr. Tsuneo Watanabe is posted on the website of SSDP.
- December, 2016: Proposal article "Reconsidering North Korea Policy: How to Deal with a Nuclear Armed Divided States" written by Professor Masao Okonogi is posted on the website of SSDP.
- March 2020: The Japan-South Korea Relationship in a Cul-de-Sac--- Where is an Exit ? Masao Okonogi Professor Emeritus, Keio Universit
- December 2019: The Hong Kong Upheaval and the Future of Cross-Straits Relations－The 2019 Japan-Taiwan Strategic Dialogue Report OGATA, Makoto Former Chief of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taipei
- August 2019: Report; 2019 FUTURE CONSENSUS DIALOGUE --Sustainable Prosperity and Future of Korea-U.S.-Japan Cooperation-- By Future Consensus Institute (Yeosijae)
- June 2019: Report on India – Japan Security Dialogue 2019 by Ms. Vindu Mai Chotani, Ph.D Student, The University of Tokyo
June 2019: Four papers on Japan-India Cooperation submitted to India-Japan Security Dialogue 2019
Japan's Rationale for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision
Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation
The Significance and Possibilities of India-Japan Cooperation in the Concept of the Indo-Pacific
Toru ITO Associate Professor, National Defense Academy of Japan
Japan-India Defense Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Context - Operationalizing the Security Aspect of the Indo-Pacific Vision –
Hideshi Tokuchi, Senior Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
India-US-Japan Defense Cooperation: What's next?
Dr. Satoru Nagao, Hudson Institute
- Japan's Rationale for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision
- November 2018: "The Present State of the Japanese Economy and Policy Issues" lectured by Motoshige Itoh, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo.
- November 2018: "Expanding Social Security Expenses and Fiscal Reforms" lectured by Kazumasa Oguro, Professor at Hosei University.
- September 2018: "Taiwan Identity and Cross-Strait Relations and Trump's Taiwan Policy and the Future of Taiwan-US Relations-Discussion at The Second Japan-Taiwan Strategic Dialogue (June 21, 2018, Taipei)-" written by OGATA, Makoto
- September 2018: "Japan-Taiwan Dialogue 2018 Minutes", 21st June 2018, Taipei, Taiwan.
- July 2018: Report on The Second Japan – Philippines Strategic Dialogue prepared by Ms. Vindu Mai Chotani, Ph.D. Student, Graduate School of Public Policy, Tokyo University.
- May 2018: "Civilian Control "at Crisis"? – Perhaps Not, for the Case of the Field Sit-reps from SDF's South Sudan Mission" reported by Ippeita Nishida, Research Fellow, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- January 2018: "Fukushima, Genki？Project－Young Taiwanese volunteers introduce the facts on Fukushima's revival through documentary films－" reported by OGATA, Makoto, Former Chief of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taipei
- December 2017: "Commemorating a Quarter Century of Dispatches of the JSDF's PKO Units: Challenges and Possibilities in the Post South Sudan" written by Takayuki Shoji, Lecturer, Nihon University
- November 2017: "19th CCP National Congress" written by Mr. Bonji Ohara, Senior Research Fellow, the Sasakawa Peace Fondation
- October 2017: "What is Japan's Role in the Indo-China border conflict?" written by Dr. NGAO,Satoru, Research Fellow, Institute for Future Engineering
- July 2017: "Overview of the Current Situation in Taiwan-" the Naturally Independent Generation" will affect the Taiwan"s politics-" written by Makoto Ogata MGE.(Ret.)
- June 2017: "Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue" written by Mr.Takaaki Asano
- March 2017: "The Japan-Philippines Strategic Dialogue" written by Mr. Hideshi Tokuchi
- February, 2017: Current topic "The Importance of Japan's Security Role Under Trump" written by Dr. Satoru Nagao is posted on the SSDP website.
- December, 2016: Current topic "Widening Security Task: Will SDF do the Job?" written by Mr. Ippeita Nishida is posted on the SSDP website.
- February 2020, "A research journal "Security Studies (vol1 no4) " (English edition)"
- September 2019: A research journal "Security Studies (vol1 no3) " (English edition)
- August 2019: Korea-Japan Joint Seminar: FUTURE CONSENSUS DIALOGUE
- April 2019: "Security Studies (vol1 no2) April 2019"
- March 2019: A research journal "Security Studies vol1 no01" just published
- February 2019: The Denuclearization of North Korea and the Takeshima Issue
- December 2018: Former Vice Defense Minister Masahiro Akiyama's Memoirs (An Ad)
- November 2018: Participation in the Future Consensus Forum held in Beijing
- September 2018: "2018 Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue" reported by Masahiro Akiyama
- 2017 December: "The Butterfly Project-A possibility of showing a solution to the North Korea problem-"
- October 2017: Campaign on the problems with North Korea
- August 2017: A New Containment Policy Strategy
- June 2017: Korean peninsla
- March 2017: President Duterte
- February, 2017: Kazakhstan
- November, 2016: Participated in Astana Club 2016 held in Kazakhstan on November 14- 16, 2016.