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Human Security : Relevance To Japanese Foreign Policy - Essay Example

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Human Security : Relevance To Japanese Foreign Policy

The concept of human security has thus assumed primacy in societies which are highly developed. Canada and Japan are the principal proponents of this theory. The Japanese have officially adopted it as a foreign policy objective and have shaped their diplomatic efforts around it. Human security is considered as the most relevant facet of Japanese diplomacy as it has been effectively employed to further foreign policy goals of reducing human suffering through aid, assistance and capacity building.
The concept of human security is regarded as a new norm in diplomacy. (McRae, Grant, 2005). McRae, Grant (2005) indicate that human security has the potential of not only promoting peace but also protecting the people. It can thus be regarded as a holistic concept of security as opposed to other precepts which are seen as, "state on state" security paradigms. Traditionally it is the responsibility of the state to protect its citizens. This liability provides it authority of making regulations and laws for its citizens. Over the years, security is seen not just territorial or external but also governs many other issues such as freedom from disease and hunger, the ability to survive environmental disasters, social as well as political repression. This is a post Cold War paradigm of security which has relegated the state as the prime regulator of security to the background and placed the, "human being" as the focus of security rather than the, "state'. (Henk, 2005).

While mostly states as Canada and Japan have been credited to have focused on the concept, it is the United Nations which elaborated human security in some detail in its Human Development Report 1994. (UNDP, 1994). Human security included a large number of facets such as economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community as well as political safety of people as individuals rather than constituents of states. In its entirety as the Report (1994) has elaborated, the concept should include all these facets. As also in terms of each of these it laid down certain minimum standards, such as assurance to every individual optimum income as part of economic security, access to basic food requirements as food security, freedom and protection from disease as health security and protection from disasters as well as dangers due to deterioration in the environment as environmental security. (UNDP, 1994).

The evolution of this concept led to the formation of the Human Security Network of 12 states with South Africa as an observer by 2004. These states included such diverse countries as Austria, Greece and Netherlands from Europe, traditional peaceful states as Norway and Switzerland, Thailand from Asia and Mali from Africa. (Beck, 2005). Japan was not an initial member of the group. But Japan became a strong advocate of the concept fostered by its Prime Minister in 1998 who instituted a fund in the UN Secretariat for the purpose called as the, "Trust Fund for Human Security". (Estrom, 2003). This was Japan's first foray for adoption of human security as a tool in international relations.

The Japanese Concept, Background, Variation and Nuances

The Japanese concept of human security has been based on the principle of contributions by able nations to reduction of the large number of travesties which are ...Show more


Over the years nationalism has been denoting the contours of security. Thus safety in the larger context is invariably seen as a national rather than an individual concept. Off late however it is felt that this concept of security is not fully evolved to cater for the varying challenges faced by humanity in modern times…
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