Japan: Kyoto roundtable on Additional Protocols (3-4 November 2011)

Why is Japan seeking to encourage states to become party to the Additional Protocols?

It is important for each country to build up the necessary legal framework to promote strict observance of international humanitarian law (IHL), including the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, in order to reinforce the implementation of IHL in armed conflicts and protect the victims. This is why Japan is urging States that have not yet become party to the Protocols to do so and is reminding them of the importance of these legal instruments.

What role can Japan play in encouraging other States?
Japan, as a country that is already party to the Additional Protocols, should add its voice to efforts to encourage States that have not yet done so, by sharing our experiences – how we went about ratification, how we implemented the law in our domestic legislation and practice. Holding this meeting with the ICRC is an important way for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to encourage accession to the Additional Protocols.

What prompted Japan to ratify the Additional Protocols ?

Japan became party to Protocols I and II in August 2004, and they came into force in February 2005. The Geneva Conventions and the two Additional Protocols clearly impose obligations that parties to armed conflict and occupying States must respect. Thus, if an armed attack occurred against our country, both Japan and the other side would have the same responsibilities and obligations. The law would protect the lives and property of people in Japan.

Also, the fact that Japan has become party to the Additional Protocols implies our will to adhere to international rules even in emergencies, which enhances our country's credibility in terms of international relations. All these considerations prompted Japan to become party to the two Additional Protocols.

How can Japan help in the implementation, reinforcement, and development of IHL?

For States that have not yet become party, we should continue to encourage their accession to the Additional Protocols. At the same time, we will contribute to the implementation, reinforcement and development of IHL, mainly the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, through participating in various discussions on ensuring respect.

 

Yoshinobu Nagamine, Head of the ICRC’s Tokyo Office, says the roundtable seeks to help Asian countries take a more informed decision on whether to ratify the Additional Protocols (AP). Over two days participants will discuss, under the Chatham House Rule, issues related to the protection offered to war victims by the Additional Protocols and how they are put into effect. Participants are government officials from Cambodia*, China*, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea*, Laos*, Malaysia, Mongolia*, Myanmar, the Philippines***, Thailand, Timor Leste* and Vietnam**.

Globally, 171 States are party to AP I and 166 to AP II.
* States already party to the API and II
** State already party to the API
*** State already party to the APII