Events Women, Peace and Security: A New Path for U.S.-Japan Collaboration

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Women, Peace and Security: A New Path for U.S.-Japan Collaboration

October 30, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

On Monday, October 30, Sasakawa USA convened a lunchtime SWAN discussion featuring remarks by Ms. Erin Cooper, Acting Director for International Humanitarian Policy at the Department of Defense and a member of the 2023 Sasakawa USA Emerging Experts Delegation (SEED), and Ms. Shanti Shoji, Director of Programs at Sasakawa USA. The discussion centered on exploring  Women, Peace and Security (WPS) within the U.S.-Japan alliance and featured women experts on U.S.-Japan relations and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Ms. Erin Cooper

Ms. Cooper began her remarks by providing foundational information on WPS, describing what the core pillars of the WPS agenda are and how this conceptual framework is translated to real policies and programs by U.S. federal agencies in accordance with the WPS Act of 2017. She elaborated on what her agency, the Department of Defense, is currently doing to advance WPS implementation. A noteworthy accomplishment was the release of the 2023 Women, Peace and Security Strategy and National Action Plan on October 31, 2023, which outlines how the U.S.’s commitment to the principles of WPS has evolved to reflect critical shifts in the global landscape, including geopolitical changes, increasingly prevalent and severe climate-related crises, and technological advancements.

Additionally, Ms. Cooper shared insights from her experience participating in the 2023 Sasakawa USA Emerging Experts Delegation (SEED) program in July of this year. As one of eight delegates from U.S. federal agencies, military, and civil society who are actively involved in implementing the WPS agenda in their respective organizations, Ms. Cooper traveled to Tokyo for a week of meetings with Japanese counterparts to exchange knowledge and explore opportunities for U.S.-Japan collaboration on WPS. Since completing her trip, Ms. Cooper has published an article with Sasakawa USA, “Women, Peace and Security: An Opportunity to Further the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance,” summarizing her findings from the trip.

Ms. Shanti Shoji

Ms. Shoji, who led the 2023 SEED delegation, further elaborated on how WPS fits into the institutional landscape of U.S.-Japan relations and how our countries can potentially collaborate to achieve success in implementing the WPS agenda. Similar to the United States, Japan has adopted a series of National Action Plans over the years describing how the government will implement the core pillars of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 which was adopted in October 2000. As of October 2022, Japan now also has the Diet Member’s Network for Women, Peace and Security which holds discussions on advancing WPS within Japanese government and society, making it and the United States the only two countries in the world to have their own caucus-like groups focused on WPS (the U.S.’s bipartisan WPS Congressional Caucus was formed in March 2020). One notable difference between the U.S. and Japan is that Japan lacks formal legislation outlining its commitment to enforcing implementation of WPS at the ministerial level. This was a point of discussion during the 2023 SEED trip and is an example of one area where the United States can support Japan’s work on WPS. Ms. Shoji shares more of her insights from the 2023 SEED trip in her Sasakawa USA publication, “Catalyst for Change: Strengthening the U.S.-Japan Alliance through Women, Peace and Security.”

Photo: Attendees at the SWAN lunch discussion on October 30, 2023, at The Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, DC.

Following Ms. Shoji’s remarks, the attendees engaged in a Q&A discussion to further explore how the U.S. and Japan can mutually benefit from sharing best practices and resources on WPS implementation, as well as the wider positive implications this collaboration holds for this critical alliance in the Indo-Pacific.


October 30, 2023
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:

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