International debates about Japan's peacekeeping efforts tend to focus on the country's limited military contributions to United Nations operations. But a more constructive debate requires a comprehensive analysis of Japan's financial, military, observer, civilian, and material contributions in both UN and non-UN peacekeeping operations in the last decade. This thesis provides such an analysis.Overall, Japan's military and civilian personnel contributions are low in relation to its high financial contributions to the UN peacekeeping budget. Japan has participated in missions that suit its top priorities in Asian security, economic security, and the US-Japan alliance. Japan's efforts are highly concentrated in Asia, specifically South Asia and the Middle East. Outside of the UN, Japan's efforts aligned closely with US operations in anti-terrorism. Even though Africa currently hosts most peacekeeping operations, Japan's personnel contributions to Africa remained relatively small. Japan's willingness to operate beyond Asia is limited to safer missions such as relief operations in Haiti. Instead of focusing on military issues, the Japanese government should reflect on what it wants to get out of peacekeeping and for which activities it is most suited. Military participation is not the only answer. In addition to sending more troops abroad, Japan could take a leading role in efforts to review peacekeeping operations, create an efficient database, and train peacekeepers from other countries. Japan's strengths lie in developing civilian contributions to peacekeeping because it has the population and resources to train and support them.
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