Two Japanese diplomats were killed in Iraq on their way to a meeting on reconstruction assistance to be held in the city of Tikrit. One of them, Oku Katsuhiko, then counsellor at the Japanese embassy in Great Britain (posthumously raised to the rank of ambas-sador),had been exploring ways for Japan to contribute to reconstruction assistance. Known for his broad network of contacts cultivated during diplomatic postings in the United States and Britain and his experience as a foreign ministry official in charge of United Nations affairs, he was dispatched to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and met people face-to-face all over Iraq.
This issue of the English edition of Gaiko Forum was to have included an article by Oku on “The Role of the Military in Post-conflict Iraq.” The week of 26 November, he had written most of the article and would have submitted it the following week. At this time, the whereabouts of this manuscript, however, have not been confirmed. In consultations with him arranging for the article, he roughly indicated what the content would be about: The role being played in reconstruction of post-conflict Iraq by the coalition forces led by the U.S. and Britain and their involvement in the reconstruction of the civilian sector, for example, illustrated from my own experience. My views on the direction of reconstruction in Iraq from now on.
In Iraq, it is military personnel, rather than the CPA, that are involved in and in control of all aspects of administration, not only in maintaining security. This is quite a different scenario than unfolded under U.N. peacekeeping operations in Kosovo or East Timor, or even in Afghanistan. What does this suggest for considering how to achieve social stability and economic development following the conflicts that are sure to emerge from now on? I would also like to offer my ideas on the role of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces.
In his article published in the November 2003 issue of Gaiko Forum Japanese edition, translated into English for this issue, Oku argues that the role of the United Nations will be great in helping to establish a government based on an Iraqi constitution. After visiting the ruins of the office from which U.N. Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello had spearheaded this work before he was killed in the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, Oku became convinced that the Japanese government should involve itself actively in Iraq’s reconstruction as one dimension of the war against terrorism, and he argues that such involve-ment can be part of fulfilling Vieira de Mello’s vision.
Because of laws restricting overseas activity of Japanese Self-Defense Force troops to “safe (non-combat) zones,” the decision to dispatch SDF personnel announced by Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichiro on 9 Decem-ber 2003 was a long time in coming. Whether the result of the prime minister’s decision was right or wrong is not yet known. History will no doubt be the judge. But Oku Katsuhiko’s writing reminds Japan that it cannot sit and wait when it comes to assistance in reconstruction for Iraq. The deaths of two diplomats came as a powerful blow to Japanese; what history expects of us now is to consider the true substance of what they sought and commit ourselves to its fulfillment. If you need more information, feel free to contact us.
Ito Misako Editor
Why the United States and the World Still Need the United Nations/Shashi Tharoor
As cogently argued in his autumn 2003 article in Foreign Affairs, the author, under-secretary-general in charge of U.N. public relations, reiterates here his conviction that the raison d’etre of the United Nations continues to lie in the legitimacy and universality it provides.
The United Nations at a Crossroads:Security Council Reform and Japan/Shinyo Takahiro
Without resolving the split between the United States and Europe over the issue of Iraq, it may prove difficult for the U.N. Security Council to manage world crises that erupt from now on. In considering ways toward U.N. reform, the author makes a case for such objective criteria as population and economy as qualifications for permanent seats on the Security Council.
Toward an International Public Order and an Effective United Nations:/Haraguchi Koichi
Even if it is for the sake of international peace and stability, there are things that Japan can do and things that it cannot. Given those conditions, the author considers the reasons Japan should have a seat on the U.N. Security Council?
Thinking Globally and Acting Locally/Ogata Sadako and Frene Ginwala
How will the Final Report of the U.N. Commission on Human Security announcedin May 2003 be implemented in the realities of international society? Two of its greatest advocates anticipate its impact.
On the Frontlines in Iraq: Diplomacy and Tragedy/Takeuchi Yukio
Two Japanese diplomats were attacked and killed in the course of their activities in the service of reconstruction in Iraq. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan will carry on the spirit of action and contribution for the sake of Iraq for which they died.
Rebuilding Iraq and the Role of the United Nations/Oku Katsuhiko
This essay, in which the author considered how to carry on the spirit of U.N. Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, who had died in the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad in mid-August, was published just before the author himself was slain on the road to Tikrit 29 November 2003.
Human Security Up Close/Isezaki Kenji
With experience in the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) program of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone behind him, the author is now working in Afghanistan. While ardently anti-war, he is also well aware that military might is often the only guarantee of human security.
Extraordinary Statesman: Mike Mansfield/Don Oberdorfer
Career politician and diplomat Mike Mansfield firmly refused to cooperate with the writing of his biography, but he spoke to the author in thirtytwo interviews in the later years of his life before his death at ninetyeight that form the basis of an extra-ordinary memoir.