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A New Vision for Non-Traditional Security with Human Security

A New Vision for  Non-Traditional Security with Human Security

European Leadership Conference

UNESCO headquarters, Paris

Prof. Akiko Yamanaka

Senior Visiting Scholar at Churchill College, Cambridge

Former Deputy-Minister for Foreign Affairs



I. Introduction

Political dynamics in the international arena have changed radically since the end of the cold war. Both developed and developing countries need to establish a new security framework in order to fulfill their roles as leading members of a peaceful world community.

After the cold war, the international landscape has been extensively marked by increasing ethnic and religious conflicts, drugs, terrorism, a proliferation in weapons of mass destruction in certain countries and the prevalence of new disease. In addition to these global issues, newly tangible phenomena such as pirates, oil spills, the financial crash, cyber terrorism and natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, droughts, floods, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, typhoon as well as the scramble for natural resources can jeopardize peace and stability at anytime, anywhere on the earth.

The year of 2011 made it apparent that the international community has to establish the new world order in order to seek prosperity based on peace and stability. Unexpected people’s movements in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and now Syria have not been finished yet. In addition to these phenomena, the 3.11 earthquakes and tsunami with the accompanying nuclear power station, accidents have given tremendous damage to Japan. And its economics, and political effects are spreading to the world community. Especially the Fukushima Daiichi event has caused serious problems on energy policy of each nation/state.  The Euro zone crisis at this moment is still very serious, which might change even the EU itself.

The dawn of 2012 makes us challenge the paradigm shift or even paradigm change from traditional approaches to non traditional approaches in various fields.

We have learned from the mistakes of U.S led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the other hand, strained finance and budgetary deficits with an economic slowdown have brought a conceptual change from traditional to non-traditional security, driven by a search for cost effectiveness. Even rising China cannot continue her growth forever and could turn into a country suffering from shortage of water, food and energy. However, the North Korean nuclear problems can  extend  to  Iran  and  even  Burma.  Needless  to  say,  the  fundamental  problem  of  the  Middle  East  –  the Israel-Palestine Issue – is also getting worse.

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 such as conflict prevention and resolution, promoting regional confidence-building measures, and a range of economic, political and humanitarian security objectives.

II. The Tide of History

I would like to point out three elements which indicate where we are and which direction we should go:

1) The first element is transition. We are in a transition period from traditional approaches to new ones across a range of issues, including conflict, war and peace.

2) The second element is the changing nature of security. The nature of security has been evolving since the end of the cold war from “against” to “with”.

During the cold war, security meant being “against” certain countries. However, the concept of security now should be “with” every nation /state that is a part of each region.    This means that we must make efforts to establish trustworthy relations among countries so that peace and stability can be established in the each region on the globe. We must also recognize that security is increasingly complex and multifaceted.

In addition, most of us would agree that the concept of security is being broadened considerably and continuously, to incorporate military, political, economic, societal and environmental dimensions, and the inter‐linkages between them. The traditional model of security rests upon military defense of national territory. Yet for many people in the world – perhaps even most – the much greater threats to security come from internal conflicts, disease, hunger, environmental contamination, street crime, or even domestic violence. And for others, a greater threat may come from their own country itself, rather than from an ‘external’ adversary.

We are moving towards a concept of human security which revolves around individual and community welfare.

3) The third element is cooperation. After the terrorist events on September 11th, the need for international cooperation that exceeds national borders has become more important than before.    Even the United States, the sole superpower, cannot function without a coalition of nations/states.    In international relations, this is recognized as the post, post cold war phenomenon.

As a result, it becomes important to examine where we are in the tide of history. If we are to change the past dependence upon war to resolve disputes, it becomes very important for us to introduce the concept and value of “preventive diplomacy” for all regions of the world.  In “preventive diplomacy,” non-violent means of resolving international conflicts should be used whenever possible.    However, if those don’t work, it is important to have the capability and strength to step in and enforce peace where necessary.

III. Non-traditional Security

1.Human security

I would like to quote my speech at the first United Nations Human Rights Council in 2006.

“In the promotion of human rights, Japan attaches importance to striking a balance both on the “principle” level and on the “implementation” level. First, at the principle level, Japan endeavours to achieve the promotion and protection of human rights as a universal value and at the same time takes into account the intrinsic situations of each country such as their history and culture. Next, at the implementation level, importance is attached to the “dialogue and cooperation” approach, but a more effective approach will become necessary when this approach does not function, notably for grave violations of human rights. Finally, while in order to balance those two levels Japan deepens mutual understanding through discussions on the one hand, it will implement concrete cooperation policies on the other. Japan will promote this kind of balanced approach.”

In this context, I would like to propose to review the definition of human security, to include “responsibility to protect” not only from violence but also to secure the basic right of human beings as follows.

*Security of foods.

Food security in Asia: Food security should not be considered inside of one country but to be considered together with a regional aspect. Japan should work together with Asian neighbours with a  bird’s eye view. Japan’s agricultural technology, high productivity, irrigation system and distribution systems can help to construct an Asian food security network to provide mutual support, if something happens. I believe this can be applied to Africa.

*Security of water

Water security in the Middle East and Africa:  Japan’s compact water purification system, desalination facilities, water treatment systems can be applied to any place as far as water exists. At the same time Japan can promote afforestation and reforestation which can prevent desertification in the Middle East, South America and Africa, and, China.

*Security of energy

Energy security in the world:  Spread of solar and wind power is gaining impetus, however    wave power generation, tidal power generation, geothermal energy, methane/marsh gas etc should be developed with using Japan’s high technology, because we have to remember that the globe has very limited fossil fuel reserves. In addition to the above, Japan’s technology can contribute to upgrade nuclear power stations and, risk management, if we can learn well, from the accident at Fukushima Daiichi.

2.    Preventive Diplomacy

In its simplest form, preventive diplomacy can be divided into, and be explained in, 4 stages:

1) Creation of an environment of trust in the region.

2) Prevention of violent conflict from breaking out.

3) Prevention of conflict from expanding.

4) Prevention of the resumption of hostilities.

From conflict prevention to the final phases where financial aid is required, Japan should aim to implement a comprehensive approach.    Japan should also consider to what degree it could effectively link: 1. Military conflicts, 2. Confrontation, 3. Peace negotiations and ceasefires, 4. Peace keeping, 5. Peace building, 6. Reconstruction, and 7. Preventing the restart of conflicts, as part of a framework that encompasses PKO and prevention activities. Budget cuts in UK as well as USA encourage the importance of the concept of preventive diplomacy.

And I strongly believe that Disaster Prevention should be also highlighted in concept of Preventive State Theory which I submitted a book in 2003, ”Think or Sink”, in other words” Natural Disaster and Human Induced Disaster Prevention”.

3.Human development on Peace building Preventive Diplomacy Training Centre

As Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs in Japan in 2007 after 5 years research I launched a programme called Human Resource Development in Asia for Peacebuilding.    A half of the participants are Japanese and the other half are from Asian nations, featuring 3months of lectures at Hiroshima University, a 6 month internship siin UN related organizations in conflict zones , and wrapping up in Tokyo.

In 2009 we expanded to the Middle East, that is, West Asia according to Prince Hassan of Jordan. From a slightly longer-term perspective, within 15 years or so those who had been trained at the Centre would 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 previous Labour Government in the UK, appointed the Prime minister’s special envoy on peacebuilding and sent him to Japan. And at the end of the Bush administration, “the Institute of Peace” was established in Washington D.C. with a Norwegian Director and last autumn the first training course was carried out.

Budget cuts in UK and USA encourage the importance of the concept of preventive diplomacy and peace building, which strengthen the efforts of European nations/states who are working hard in this fields.

I believe that the time has come for us to empower the regionalization of human development on peace and preventive diplomacy to be applied for Africa as well as Middle East in cooperation with the United Nations.

IV. Closing


The 21st   century is the age of balance.    This struggle for balance is being waged on an international, State, and individual level, between dichotomies of competing values.    These are:

1.    Development vs. Environmental Protection

2.    Globalization vs. Regionalization

3.    High Tech Information vs. Individual Privacy

4.    Group Orientation vs. Individualism

5.    Work vs. Leisure

6.    Materialism vs. Spiritualism

7.    Male vs. Female

8.    Military Solutions vs. Non-Military Alternatives

And even

9.    National interests vs. International interests= common interests


In closing, I would like to end with a quote from Aristotle、a Greek philosopher 2000years ago, “It is more difficult to organize peace than to win a war; but the fruits of victory will be lost if the peace is not well organized”.