Title: Japan and Human Security: Gaps of Realities
Author: Otto Von Feigenblatt
Keywords: HUMAN SECURITY/JAPANESE OFFICIAL ODA POLICY
Japan's foreign policy is often described as abnormal and opportunistic due to its perceived deviation from the norm established by the ruling international relations paradigm, neo-realism. This study concentrates on one policy field of great international visibility, official development assistance. Japan's official ODA policy is taken as a representative example of its foreign policy and serves to test the impact of the rising Human Security Paradigm. This innovative paradigm has been adopted by Japan as a pillar of its foreign policy and its language is widely used in official policy documents. Due to this a discursive analysis was undertaken so as to determine the impact of the Human Security approach on Japan's Official ODA policy and consequently identify Japan's official position regarding this approach. This dissertation then tests Japan's actual ODA projects planned and implemented by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the United Nations Fund for Human Security in order to determine whether there is a gap between Japan's version of the Human Security approach and its actual policies regarding ODA. This test is not concerned with the actual results of the projects in question or with their impact on their target beneficiaries but rather with the level of coherence and consistency of Official ODA policy discourse and actual project implementation. Three main results were revealed. Regarding Japan's official position of the concept of Human Security, its position closely resembles that of the United Nations Commission for Human Security which favors a balanced view of the paradigm tackling both "freedom from fear" and "freedom from want". This approach allots equal emphasis to protection as to long term empowerment and favors a concerted effort by all major stakeholders. In summary this view lies between the Protective Human Security of some "middle powers" such as Canada and Australia and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the developmental Human Security of most radical non-governmental organizations and the United Nations Development Program. The second result is regarding the impact of the Human Security paradigm in Official ODA discourse. It is clear from the detailed discursive analysis undertaken that Human Security has permeated this policy area. Finally the third result deals with discursive co-optation and the forces behind the efforts to mainstream Human Security. This dissertation shows how conservative neo-realist stakeholders in Japan have identified common instrumental security goals with those of Human Security and have co-opted the use of the language of Human Security in order to further the ultimate goal of the -normalization" of Japan in a neo-realist fashion.
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