Key developments since May 2002: On 8 February 2003, Japan completed destruction of its 1,000,089 stockpiled antipersonnel mines. In 2002, Japan contributed 5,499 million Yen (US$49.4 million) to mine action, which is nearly seven times the level of 2001. Mine action programs in Afghanistan received almost half of the 2002 funds. Japan exceeded its five-year pledge contributing 10.34 billion Yen($91.3 million) to mine action from 1998-2002. Japan has served as co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance since September 2002.
Mine Ban Policy
Japan signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, ratified on 30 September 1998, and the treaty entered into force on 1 March 1999. Domestic Implementation legislation, the Law on the Prohibition of the Manufacture of Anti-personnel Mines and the Regulation of the Possession of Anti-personnel mines, was enacted on 1 March 1999. Japan stopped manufacturing antipersonnel mines in 1997 and production facilities were decommissioned by 31 March 1999. Japan has never exported antipersonnel mines and has not used antipersonnel mines since the establishment of the Defense Force in 1954. Japan has not reported any incidents involving Japanese nationals killed or injured by landmines or unexploded ordnance since 1997.
At the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002, Japan was named co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Awareness and Mine Action Technologies. It will become co-chair at the Fifth Meeting in September 20O3. Japan participated in the various Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003. On 28 April 2O03, Japan submitted its Article 7 transparency report, reporting on calendar year 2002, which included use of the Form J to report on its victim assistance efforts. This was Japan’s fifth Article 7 report. On 22 November 2002, Japan voted in favor of the UN General Assembly Resolution 57-74, promoting universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.
Japan continues as an active member of the informal “Universalization Contact Group”. Japan co-sponsored, together with Canada and Australia, a regional conference on landmines in Bangkok, Thailand in May 2002. Japan is part of the Bangkok Regional Action Group (BRAG), formed at the Fourth Meeting of States Parties, with the aim of promoting landmine ban initiatives in the region in the lead up to the Fifth Meeting of States Parties. Japan, Thailand. Australia, and other countries in the region sent a joint d6marche calling on non-States Parties in the region to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty at the earliest opportunity. During the Donor Conference on Reconstruction and Development or Sri Lanka held in Tokyo from 8-10 June 2003, Japan’s Minister or Foreign Affairs stated in her speech that “Japan hopes that Sri Lanka will accede to the Mine Ban Convention as soon as possible,” but did not condition the provision of development assistance funding to treaty accession, as the Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines (JCBL) had urged.
From 28 to 30 January 2003, the Japan Defense Agency hosted what is called the Second Subcommittee of the annual Tokyo Defense Forum, for high-level military personnel from ASEAN countries and representatives from Australia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea. Russia, South Korea, and the United States. Session II of the subcommittee focused on the efforts made toward the ban on antipersonnel mines in the Asia-Pacific region. The participants agreed on the importance of a humanitarian response to the landmine problem in the region and emphasized that regional security should be built through trust building and dialogue with a view to achieving a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel landmines. In response to the JCBL’s letter concerning Japan’s position on the issue of joint military operations with non-States Parties that may use antipersonnel mines, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that under Article 9 of its Constitution Japan cannot deploy armed forces outside of its territory and cannot participate in any joint military operations.
At a February 2003 Standing Committee meeting, Japan reiterated its view that anti-vehicle mines with anti-handling devices that may function as antipersonnel mines are not covered by the Mine Ban Treaty, and that any issue related to anti-vehicle mines should only be dealt with in the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). It expressed concern that discussion of the issue in the Mine Ban Treaty would hamper universalization. At the May Standing Committee meetings, Japan opposed a proposal of the International Committee of the Red Cross to do expert work on anti-vehicle mines with sensitive fuzes within the Mine Ban Treaty context. Japan is a State Party to the CCW and its Amended Protocol II (Landmines). It attended the Fourth Annual Conference of the States Parties to CCW Amended Protocol II and submitted its Article 13 annual report on 22 November 2002. It has participated in the work of the Group of Governmental Experts dealing with antivehicle mines and with explosive remnants of war. Japan welcomed the initiative taken by Germany to address humanitarian concerns caused by antivehicle mines equipped with sensitive fuzes.
Throughout 2002, the JCBL continued to play a central role in monitoring the government’s implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. The Association for Aid and Relief (AAR) Japan organized a flower arrangement exhibition entitled “Not Mines, but Flowers” to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty, in Ottawa, Canada from 24-25 November 2002. The Chubu Landmine Problems Support Network, established in December 1998, continued to raise public awareness by hosting nine public seminars in the central part of Japan between May 2002 and February 2003. In 2002, the Cambodia Mines-Remove Campaign organized photograph and cartoon exhibitions and over 40 workshops on the landmine ban, mainly in western Japan. From May 2002 to March 2003, Terra Renaissance conducted 53 seminars on landmines throughout Japan. It also organized a synchronized swimming charity performance to ban landmines by Japan’s team to the Sydney Olympics, which 3,000 people attended.
Stockpiling and Destruction
On 8 February 2003, Japan completed the destruction of its stockpiled antipersonnel mines, in advance of the 1 March 2003 deadline established by the Mine Ban Treaty. A final lot of 25 Type-80 antipersonnel mine fuzes was destroyed at Hokkaido NOF Co., Ltd. in Bibai city, Hokhaido. This last destruction was held simultaneously with an official ceremony in Shin-Asahi town, Shiga, approximately 1,200 kilometers southwest of Bibai. The ceremony was hosted by the government of Japan, and included the presence of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who spoke about Japan’s continued commitment to the total ban on antipersonnel mines worldwide. The event received significant domestic media coverage.
Following the ceremony, the Association for Aid and Relief Japan and Shin-Asahi town office held a “Ban Landmines, All-Japan Children’s Summit” in which 298 children from all over the country participated together with two youth mine survivors from Afghanistan. Prime Minister Koizumi attended the opening ceremony of the Summit, which looked at solutions to the global landmine crisis. On 14 February 2003, the JCBL held a public seminar in Tokyo to celebrate the completion of the stockpile destruction, which included representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japan Defense Agency (JDA), as well as an engineer who oversaw the destruction process.
A total of 1,000,089 stockpiled antipersonnel mines were destroyed in a process that started on 17 January 2000. Approximately 220,000 mines were destroyed from January 2000-February 2001, 380,000 were destroyed from March 2001-February 2002, and 380,000 from March 2002 to February 2003.
In fiscal year 2002 (1 April 2002-31 March 2003), the Japan Defense Agency was allocated 831,200,000 Yen (about $7.8 million) to destroy the remaining 380,049 antipersonnel mines. To do this, Asahi Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. was contracted for about $3.72 million and Hokkaido NOF Co., Ltd. for about $4.05 million.
Mines Retained under Article 3
Japan decided to retain 15,000 antipersonnel mines under Article 3 of the treaty for training and research purposes, one of the highest numbers of mines retained by any States Party. Between 1999 and the end of 2002, Japan used 5,387 antipersonnel mines, leaving 9,613 mines in stock. The government has told JCBL that these mines are necessary to conduct training on safe mine detection and mine clearance, as well as to examine the performance of equipment for mine detection and clearance.
The US is believed to have a stock of self-destructing antipersonnel mines in Japan. Japan has said that the US mines are not under Japan’s jurisdiction or control, thus it has no responsibility to destroy the mines, require removal of the mines by the US, or to prevent or prohibit the transportation of the mines by US military forces.
Mine Action Funding
In 2002 Japan contributed 5,499,397,007 Yen (US$49.4 million) to mine action. That is more than seven times the level of mine action funding in 2001:764 million Yen ($7.2 million). The 2002 funds were allocated in a similar way to previous years. Ninety percent of the contribution, 4,958 million Yen went to mine clearance projects. The remainder was divided among victim assistance, 340.7 million Yen (6.2%), and mine risk education, 143 million Yen (2.6%). It is not known if the funding supported any pro-mine ban advocacy initiatives.
Over half (53%) of the contribution, 2,926 million Yen , was allocated through multilateral organizations and 41%, 2,260.9 million Yen , was allocated bilaterally. The remaining 5,5%, 3 12.60 million Yen , was disbursed in support to “grassroots projects.”
Recipient countries in 2002 were: Afghanistan (48.3%), Vietnam (26.4%), Cambodia (20.8%), Ethiopia/Eritrea (1.1%), Thailand (0.8%), Sudan (0.8%), Laos (0.4%), Azerbaijan (0.2%), and others (1%). A number of recipients in 2001 were not funded in 2002: Mozambique, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Lebanon, Croatia, and Angola.
In October 2002, during a visit by Afghanistan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Abudullah, Japan announced a new assistance package for the country of $136 million, including $4.8 million for mine action activities.
In January 2003, Japan’s Foreign Minister, Yoriko Kawaguchi, visited Sri Lanka and concluded an agreement on 6 January 2003 to provide $1.17 million to mine clearance and reconstruction efforts in the heavily mine-affected Jaffna peninsula. In April 2003, Japan announced a $69,000 contribution for mine risk education activities in the Maheba camp for Angolan refugees in Zambia.
Total Japanese contributions to mine action in the five-year period from 1998 to 2002 amount to l0.34 billion Yen ($91.25 million). This exceeds the five-year (1998-2003) JPY 10billion target pledged by former Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in December 1997 during the Mine Ban Treaty signing ceremony.
Continued high levels of government support for mine action after 2002 remains uncertain. In March 2003 a Japanese government official stated that Japan does not intend to establish a long-term plan for mine action funding.
The $91.25million of Japan’s Mine Action Funding for the period 1998-2002 was primarily spent on mine clearance ($74.37million), followed by victim assistance ($9.45million), mine risk education ($3. 15million), “other” ($2.33million), and overall policy and planning ($1.95million). The main country recipients were: Afghanistan ($27.29million), Cambodia ($25.45 million), Vietnam ($13.59million), Bosnia and Herzegovina ($6.22million), Mozambique ($4.26million), Serbia and Montenegro/Kosovo ($1.88million), Ethiopia/Eritrea ($1.06million), Yemen ($950,000), Thailand ($910,000), and Croatia ($690,000).
Research and Development
At the Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Japan announced an initiative to develop technology for safe and rapid mine detection and clearance, with a focus on Afghanistan. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) supported a research program to develop a sensor for a mine detection machine and survey technology for a remote controlled machine. From 13-18 July 2002, a MEXT study group conducted a needs assessment for a demining operation in Afghanistan.
Survivor Assistance and NGO Mine Action Activities
Since December 2001, the Association for Aid and Relief (AAR) Japan has provided mine risk education for youth in four districts in Afghanistan (Kabul, Parwan, Baghram and Kunduz), in cooperation with the HALO Trust. It also supports four HALO Trust survey teams in the northern provinces of the country. In August 2002, AAR started a physiotherapy project in Takhar province for persons with disabilities, including landmine survivors. In Cambodia, AAR continues to operate the Kien Khleang Vocational Training Center. It operates another vocational training center for persons with disabilities in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). In Laos, AAR has a wheelchair production project at the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation, in cooperation with JICA.
The “Zero Landmine” project run by AAR and other donors continues to fund HALO Trust mine clearance programs in Cambodia, Georgia, and Mozambique.
In 2002, the Cambodia Mines-Remove Campaign (CMC) donated five tons of rice and construction tools to mine-affected Kubalnous village, in Battambang, Cambodia, following severe flooding. In Mondolbei village in Siem Reap province, CMC built two new classrooms for a local school and provided stationery and sports/play equipment. CMC also provided $5,000 to a hospital in Battambang through an Italian NGO, Emergency, and $10,000 to the Mines Advisory Group.
In Cambodia, the Humanitarian Orthotic/Prosthetic Endeavour (HOPE) continued its support of an assistance program for persons with disabilities, by providing prosthetics and orthotics experts to train Cambodian nationals. In 2002, a similar assistance project by HOPE in Laos was halted because of the downsizing of its partner NGO’s activities.
The Japan Alliance for Humanitarian Demining Support (JAHDS), a consortium of industrial and charity groups, continued its support to projects in Cambodia and Thailand. In October 20O2, JADHS completed a technical 2ldjustment and operational training program of a radar mine detecting machine, called “Mine Eyes,” in Aranya Pratheet, Thailand. In December 2OO2, JAHDS started a demining project at Sdok Kok Tom temple near the Cambodian border, using “Mine Eyes” as one of the demining tools, in collaboration with TMAC and the Cha Chai Foundation.
In 2002, the Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines helped the Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines publish a mine awareness picture book. In 2001 and 2002, JCBL funded a research assistant to conduct the Landmine Monitor research on Burma. Between April and July 2002, JCBL and the Korean Campaign to Ban Landmines jointly held the “Goal for All Postcard Parallel Campaign” on the occasion of the Soccer World Cup. Over 1,850 people submitted messages about landmines on postcards, which were displayed near the World Cup Soccer Stadium in Yokohama and exhibited by a number of schools and NGOs. JCBL assisted representatives of the Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines to attend a Donor Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka held in Tokyo from 6-8 June 2003.
In July 2002, the Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS), a group of retired Japan Self Defence Force members, started UXO clearance operations in Cambodia in collaboration with CMAC. Two JMAS teams cleared 6,556 UXO, as well as 77 landmines between July 2002 and February 2003. JMAS intends to scale up its UXO clearance operation and is preparing its first landmine clearance operation in Cambodia.
In 2002 the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) provided a Japanese prosthetist/orthotist trainer to the ICRC’s Physical Rehabilitation Center in Battambang, Cambodia. It also supports an ICRC prosthetic center in Afghanistan. In 2002, the JRCS contributed CHF 1,036,339 to these efforts.
The Kumamoto Landmine Clearance Campaign (KLCC) was established by a group of people inspired by landmine amputee Chris Moon, In 2002, KLCC provided Financial support to an Irish NGO, Concern Worldwide, to conduct socio-economic reintegration projects for landmine survivors in Cambodia.
In 2002 the Mulindi Japan One Love Project (MJOLP) continued to provide free prostheses and orthoses and promote the socio-economic reintegration of people with disabilities in Rwanda. It also has a mobile workshop service to reach people with disabilities in remote areas of the country.
In November 2002, the Yokohama YMCA Anti-personnel Land Mine Association organized its fourth annual charity concert. It also financially assisted HOPE’s activities in Cambodia and conducted several workshops and photo exhibitions on landmines in Japan.
[Edited by Ando, from ICBL’s Land Mine Monitor Report 2003, pp. 301-307]