This paper aims at exploring Japan’s participation in UN PKOs since 1992 with two focuses-first, a comparison of Japan’s definitions of "types of UN PKOs" versus the international community's, and second, Japan's evolving principles for UN PKOs versus those of the United Nations. The paper provides two major arguments. First, a comparison of Japan's definition of PKO tasks and UN concepts shows a major difference in that the Japanese government has classified some core tasks of the second-generation UN PKOs in the post-Cold War era to the scope of taboo. To be precise, Japan takes on a narrow and traditional interpretation of PKOs. As a result, Japan's current participation in UN second-generation PKOs can be described as a "superficial type" of second-generation PKO or "soft" post-conflict peace reconstruction." This is primarily attributed to the historical burden of militarism because Japanese society and political leaders remained very sensitive and cautious in sending SDF overseas, even though to PKOs oriented toward maintaining international security with wider international participation and contributions. Second, taking effect in 1992, the International Peace Cooperation Law has afforded legitimacy to Japan’s participation in UN PKOs, which became a watershed in Japan's international role. In a modest incremental way, Japan has gradually strengthened its international peace cooperation efforts and contributions. After two amendments to its 1992 legislation, Japan's definition and participation in UN PKOs have come closer to UN second-generation PKOs. However, obvious gaps remain.
Tamkang Journal of International Affairs=淡江國際研究 14(1), p.43-108