Japan to Join the ICC in October
Here is the statement from Takahiro Katsumi on behalf of the Japanese Network for the ICC:
Today April 27, 2007 Japan completed its legislative process to accede to the Rome Statute of the ICC when the Diet unanimously approved the accession Bill (197-0). Yesterday 26 August, the Japanese Diet’s Upper House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense voted unanimously in favor to approve the Diet’s accession to the Rome Statute, as well as relevant procedural laws with an annexed resolution to further the commitment to the Court. The decision of the Committee was then sent immediately to the Plenary Session.
According to the most recent assessment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed by our Office, the government plans to complete the entire accession process (promulgation into law + deposit of the instruments of ratification) during July so as to become the 105th state party to the Court on October 1, 2007.
I think it’s amazing that the accession Bill was passed unanimously, given how contentious Japanese foreign policy has become under Shinzo Abe. Abe’s nationalist agenda has been to “revise the pacifist constitution to give the military more freedom of action, take a hard line with North Korea and bolster the security alliance with Japan’s top ally, the United States,” which makes me wonder whether the Diet’s vote isn’t something of an implicit rebuke to the Prime Minister.
Regardless, this is great news. As I’ve noted before, Asia is the most underrepresented region in terms of ICC membership. Japan’s willingness to accede to the Rome Statute will no doubt spur other countries in the region to do likewise.