Japan is looking into sending females for UN peacekeeping operations and UN agencies, as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy of empowering women.
The government has set numerical targets for female Self-Defense Forces personnel to be deployed as UN peacekeepers and female staff to work at UN agencies, sources said.
The targets will then be integrated into an action program that the Foreign Ministry plans to draw up by the end of fiscal 2014 ending in March.
The move is aimed at increasing the presence of women in Japan’s international commitments.
In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Abe pledged to work for the empowerment of women and offer more than $3 billion in official development assistance over the next three years.
The United Nations proposed in 2009 that the proportion of female peacekeepers sent by each UN member state should be raised to 10%.
Women account for only 13 of the 350 SDF personnel currently deployed in South Sudan as part of UN peacekeeping operations, according to the Defense Ministry.
Japanese female staff slightly outnumber Japanese male staff at the UN Secretariat. But the overall figure is still far below the level expected by the global body in proportion of Japan’s contribution to the UN budget.
By Maesie Bertumen
Image: United Nations Photo/Flickr