Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on “United Nations peacekeeping operations: Women in Peacekeeping”

                                                                                (As delivered)
 Thank you, Mr. President.
Mr. President, I would like to start by thanking Germany for convening today’s meeting, taking up this very important topic.
The full and meaningful participation of women in all stages of the peace process has become today an essential part of sustaining peace including successful peace operations. This Council has recognized its importance repeatedly in resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions. Japan has pursued this goal under the leadership of Prime Minister Abe.
The participants of the fifth “World Assembly for Women: WAW!” hosted by Japan last month reaffirmed the significance of greater participation of women in peacekeeping missions and host countries’ military, police and justice sectors.
Recruitment of talented and motivated women is a key to improve the performance of any organization including UN peace operations.
Japan welcomes the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat, including the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy, to increase uniformed women personnel.
Member States can boost these efforts in two ways.
First, TCCs and PCCs can ensure full and meaningful participation of women in their national military and police. This will greatly help increase the number of uniformed women in UN peace operations. After all, how can TCCs and PCCs help UN field missions meet the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy targets if they do not meet these targets at home?
Here I would like to share some of Japan’s experiences. One notable, recent achievement has been a lifting of all restrictions on women’s postings in the Self Defense Forces except in two units where maternal protection is required based on relevant laws. We have decided to allow women’s participation in infantry, reconnaissance, engineering, all types of aviation, and even submarine units. This enables talented and motivated female personnel to pursue military careers according to their interests.
This significant policy change was driven by political leadership. In 2013, at the General Assembly, Prime Minister called for "a society where women shine." Since then, he has urged the Self Defense Forces to reform itself and ensure meaningful participation for women.
A holistic approach is also important given that increasing women’s presence requires time and resources to implement multiple solutions, from changing mindsets to building facilities for accommodation. In April 2017, the Ministry of Defense launched an initiative which aims to address all remaining obstacles hindering women’s participation.
The second step Member States can take to help implement this strategy is to utilize pre-deployment trainings targeting female uniformed personnel to help facilitate their deployment. For instance, the Women’s Outreach Courses of the UN Signals Academy have trained 155 female uniformed personnel, and 19 have already been deployed to missions or are to be deployed soon. Japan has provided financial support to these courses, as well as Female Military Officers Courses held by UN Women.
In closing, let me mention our ongoing efforts on the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
Japan revised its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security in March. Japan co-hosted with DPKO the first-ever “Capacity Building Training for Women’s Protection Advisers to Address Conflict-related Sexual Violence” in Tokyo December 2018. The training will make the field missions more responsive for specific needs of local women and girls and more accessible for women in the community.
We will continue to implement the Women, Peace and Security agenda and facilitate women’s participation in all levels of UN peace operations including through appointing talented female officers to peacekeeping missions and dispatching female trainers to capacity building programs.
I thank you.