Japan’s narrative on human security: international norms, diplomatic identity and recognition
en ligne - p.
Japan, human security, United Nations, diplomacy, international norms, discourse, narrative, identity, recognition
Human security is presented in the United Nations Development Programme’s 1994 Human Development Report as a new security concept, different from more conventional ones focusing on the security of the state, and instead focusing on the security of the individual, of humans. At the turn of the century and for about a decade, academic literature has regularly described Japan as promoting human security in different ways. However, little has been published on this during the last decade. The aim of this article is two-fold. First, it takes a long-term perspective to trace the evolution of this concept in Japanese diplomacy over the last three decades, in order to assess its significance over time and as of today. Second, it takes a close look at the actual Japanese narrative in order to understand how this concept can be beneficial for Japan’s diplomacy. This article argues that, first, human security has been and still is a central concept in Japan’s diplomatic discourse and, second, Japan’s promotion of human security leads to a positive Japanese diplomatic identity and an increased self-confidence, which Japan wants because of its desire of recognition. This claim is demonstrated by a quantitative and qualitative analysis of central texts of Japanese diplomacy, narrating human security, over the last three decades. For Japan, emphasizing its own efforts and complying with the international norm of human security has a positive effect on its international identity and recognition.