The Emerging Human Security Norm in East Asia: Toward an Epistemic Community

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The insecurity experienced by refugees, migrants, and survivors of human trafficking has long been studied from a human security perspective. However, transnational organized crime, international terrorism, and individual criminal responsibility under international law have not been sufficiently studied from this perspective. Therefore, there is a need for scholars to study the issue of human security in the context of international law as a system.

JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development Visiting Fellow Mine Yoichi and Executive Senior Research Fellow Muto Ako contributed the chapter “The Emerging Human Security Norm in East Asia: Toward an Epistemic Community” in the publication “Research Handbook on International Law and Human Security” edited by Gerd Oberleitner, UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Human Security, Faculty of Law, University of Graz, Austria.

The chapter explores the practice of human security and empowerment in the broader region of East Asia (ASEAN Plus Three). The discussion focuses on how human security is accepted, rejected, and transformed in the local context. Based on the JICA Ogata Research Institute’s research project, “Human Security in Practice: East Asian Experiences,” several features emerged, which are described in the chapter. First, local stakeholders have already acknowledged various human security threats; they consider state and human security to be complementary, not opposed. Second, the individual elements of human security norms, such as freedom from fear and want and freedom to live in dignity, protection, and empowerment, have already been accepted regionwide. Third, the disaggregated Human Security Indicators for Japan at the national and prefectural level have been developed, and the regional networks of experts engaged in the human security agenda are progressing. The chapter authors emphasize that for human security to take root regionwide, it needs to be embraced at all levels (regional–national–local); as a result of the efforts of local, regional, and national stakeholders, the broader region of East Asia (ASEAN Plus Three) is gradually establishing an epistemic community of human security.

The publication is part of the Elgar Publication’s Research Handbooks in International Law Series (purchase required).

MINE Yoichi, MUTO Ako
Date of issuance
October 2022
Related areas
  • #Asia
Research area
Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Support
Research project