Peacekeeping in Foreign Policy of Japan

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The article analyses Japanese approach towards peacekeeping and issues associated with Japan’s participation in the peacekeeping operations (PKOs). It focuses on factors which influence shaping and transformation of Japan’s approach towards this sphere of UN activity. For the first time, Japan sent its Self-defense forces to participate in the PKO in the early 1990s and since then peacemaking has become one of the symbols of Japan's contribution to international security. Despite the significance of cooperation with the UN that the Japanese government has underlined, the indicators that characterize Japan's participation in peacekeeping remain at a low level. In the article, the author explores the causes of this phenomenon and identifies patterns that characterize the models of Japanese participation in PKO. Using the historical method and content analysis of official documents and speeches by Japan’s representatives the author explores the hypothesis that currently, from the point of view of the Japanese government, the issue of participation in the PKOs is important as a way to adapt the public to the expansion of the sphere of activity of the Self-defense forces, but in practice, the ruling circles seek to avoid the risks associated with the participation of the Japanese military in the PKOs, preferring to shift the focus on peace-building, financial, educational and technological contribution that Japan can make to UN operations. The concept of active pacifism promoted by Abe did not lead to a more extensive participation of the Japanese military in the PKOs. An analysis of current trends in peacekeeping suggests that the participation of Self-defense forces in PKOs will remain at a low level and will be offset by other opportunities for Japan to contribute to international peacekeeping.

About the authors

Olga Alexeyevna Dobrinskaya

Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Author for correspondence.

PhD in History, Senior Lecturer, Department of Oriental Languages, Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Researcher, Institute of Oriental studies, Russian Academy of Science

Moscow, Russian Federation


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