Japan to Join the ICC in October

by Kevin Jon Heller

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.


6 Responses

  1. Beyond that, next year will be the 60th anniversary of the closing of the IMTFE trials. This would mean both countries, Japan and Germany, with the first experience of international criminal tribunals and with citizens within living memory of those trials, will now be members of the ICC.

    When assessing the longterm impact of international criminal tribunals, I think it’s an important datapoint.

  2. A more important data point will be when a state that actually projects military power signs up ….

  3. Anon, even ignoring the fact that Japan spends around $41.75 billion on “peaceful” defense spending and even sent a contingent of 600 troops to Iraq, I think you would agree that at the very least the UK does project military power in many parts of the world (as well as being one of the top global spenders on military forces, a member of the nuclear club and Security Council) and is a member of the International Criminal Court.

  4. No, the UK only projects power under a US umbrella. The ICC needs a state that projects power independently or has regional responsiblities, China, Russia, Iran would do. Until then, the ICC is the intellectual equivalent of an ugly guy who says he is abstaning until he gets married, the promise is just to easy to make.

  5. “No, the UK only projects power under a US umbrella.”

    The Falklands? Sierra Leone (projecting force with the UN, not the US)? Cyprus (the UK retains two bases on the island)?

    “The ICC needs a state that projects power independently or has regional responsibilities”

    The EU perhaps… Most of the EU members are parties to the Rome Statute.

  6. The ICC has no authority over anything unless a soveriegn state allows it to or requests its assistance. It’s a tool for the states, so I would debate whether the ICC ‘needs’ anything, as it would be more accurate to say that the states need the ICC.

    All this talk of Abe and the ICC and no talk of brothels?

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