No.3 Mr. Shigeru Yotoriyama : 20th Anniversary

Relay Messages from Japanese Peacekeepers

Relay Messages from Japanese Peacekeepers_No.3  Mr. Shigeru Yotoriyama(img)

<Photo> Medical treatment in Rwanda


Mr. Shigeru Yotoriyama(img)

Shigeru Yotoriyama

Chief of the Yamagata Prefectural Police Headquarters

He was born in 1962 in Gumma Prefecture, and graduated from the faculty of law at the University of Tokyo in 1986. In the same year he was commissioned into the National Police Agency. In 1992, he was conferred a master's degree by the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He was assigned as the Director, Second Investigations Division, Hokkaido Prefectural Police Headquarters in 1992; Director, Fourth Investigations Division, Metropolitan Police Department in 2001; Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department, Saitama Prefectural Police Headquarters in 2008; and Director for Economic Crime Investigations, National Police Agency in 2010. Since March 2012, he has been assigned as the Chief of the Yamagata Prefectural Police Headquarters.

webYamagata Prefectural Police Headquarters (Japanese page)Open new window

In 2007, you (Mr. Yotoriyama) were dispatched to the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste ( UNMIT ) as the Special Advisor to the UN Police ( UNPOL ) Commissioner of UNMIT . How was the security situation in Timor-Leste when you were assigned?

From April to May 2006, the capital city of Dili lost its capacity to maintain its security, due to the disintegration of the Timorese National Police ( PNTL ) in Dili after the assault by the Timorese Armed Forces (F-FDTL). Rock throwing, attacks with metal arrows, arson attacks, and throwing of Molotov cocktails were frequent. Under such circumstances, the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste ( UNMIT ) was established by the UN Security Council Resolution adopted on August 25th 2006, followed by the dispatch of about 1,000 Australian military personnel to the country. Conflicts among gang groups broke out, feelings of resentment stemming from Indonesia's occupation of the country grew heated, hostility among political parties was rife, antiforeigner campaigns were carried out, and people were suffering due to rice shortages. These things all led to an escalation of violence. In the first half of 2007 when I was dispatched, peaceful implementation of the presidential and parliamentary elections was one of the most serious challenges for UNMIT and UNPOL .

A scene of the election in 2007(img)

A scene of the election in 2007

You mean that improvement of public security was indeed one of the big challenges. Could you explain the roles of UNPOL there?

The mandates of UNMIT include ensuring the restoration and maintenance of public security, law enforcement, and assisting with development and strengthening of the PNTL and the Ministry of Interior. So UNPOL was a main component of UNMIT .
 UNMIT is the 5th UN mission in Timor-Leste. It was pointed out that branches for assisting with reconstruction of the PNTL in the previous missions were incomplete in terms of organizational structure and ability and experience of assigned personnel in those missions. Therefore, it was decided that UNMIT would provide more solid support for reconstruction of the PNTL . This reconstruction assistance was divided into two parts. One is vetting and retraining of each PNTL officer; these things were necessary because PNTL officers in Dili were broken up by the assault of the F-FDTL . The other thing is the provision of support for institutional and operational reform of the PNTL and the Ministry of Interior. For example, there were many things to be tackled, including organizational norms, a mechanism of accountability, reporting systems, internal regulations, discipline and an inner review system, personnel policy, review of educational programs, procurement of equipment, repair of facilities, accounting and legal systems, policy assessment, and action policy. What was important was whether we could suggest a workable and reasonable menu acceptable to the government of Timor-Leste.

Memorial for police officers who died in the line of duty.(img)

Memorial for police officers who died in the line of duty.

So, UNPOL was supporting the reconstruction of the whole police organization. What was your responsibility in this mission?

Mr. Yotoriyama was conferred a medal by the Police Commissioner of UNMIT.(img)

Mr. Yotoriyama was conferred a medal by the Police Commissioner of UNMIT .

In UNPOL , under the Commissioner, more than 1,600 police officers dispatched from different countries were working in a branch for security and law enforcement or a branch for PNTL reconstruction assistance. I was not posted to either of those branches, but as the Special Advisor to the UNPOL Commissioner, I was responsible for giving advice on activities of the PNTL and reconstruction assistance through the Commissioner. In fact, because so many officers were working in these branches, I tried to find tasks and go forward with my job in consultation with the Commissioner and chiefs of these branches.

For example, one of the things I did was create a textbook for PNTL officers. In those days, about US$30,000 were left in the UNDP fund for PNTL training contributed by the Japanese government, and the UNDP was seeking advice from UNPOL on a program of PNTL reconstruction assistance with this budget. An initial idea brought from the PNTL reconstruction assistance branch was to organize three-day, two-night seminars 14 times and spend the rest of the budget by distributing meals and stationary to the participants.

This idea would be inappropriate from the viewpoint of proper budget management, and I took charge of this matter and made a different plan. Researching on the past PNTL reconstruction assistance program in the previous five UN missions and also on bilateral support by the US Department of Justice and the Australian Federal Police, we found that there were no basic textbooks for PNTL officers. Then, I proposed the Commissioner to develop a basic textbook, and it was approved. This textbook consisted of two parts; the first part explained criminal law, and the second parts covered criminal procedure and police activities. As for the first part, considering that Indonesian criminal law had been enforced in Timor-Leste since the occupation by Indonesia, we, understanding the historical antecedents, decided to make use of a basic textbook used in the Indonesian Police with the consent of the PNTL , and translated it into the local language. As for the second part, we drafted the text in English and translated it into the local language with the approval of UNPOL and the PNTL . Printing and binding tasks were taken over by my successor.

Besides this textbook, I attended weekly meeting with the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for UNMIT and Minister for Interior together with the Police Commissioner. Prior to this meeting, I used to advise the Commissioner on what should be input to the government of Timor-Leste. I also was involved in reflecting requests raised by the government in the meeting into the practices of UNPOL .

Another thing is that I frequently accompanied the Commissioner on his business trips to remote areas to see the situations and resolve problems. As the Commissioner was required to report what he had got during his trips in the meeting of UNMIT on the day after his return to Dili, I was responsible for making a report of his trips on the day we returned to Dili and e-mailed it to the Commissioner so that he could make use of it in the meeting. For example, the Commissioner and I toured Oecussi District, an exclave surrounded by Indonesian territory. This district has both the district headquarters of the PNTL and headquarters of the border patrol unit that was a part of the PNTL . However they were operating apart, and were under a different chain of command. Both headquarters had chronic understaffing and logistic problems. We recommended them that both of them be under the unified chain of command of the district police chief.

Map of Timor-Leste(img)

Did you feel that you were indeed contributing to the reconstruction of the PNTL and improvement of security situation through your tasks mentioned above?

Mr. Shigeru Yotoriyama(img)

 UNMIT is still operating, and the duration of my assignment there was only six months. At that time, the number of UNPOL officers was more than 1,600. In such a situation, I do feel that we did what only we were able to do: provide the PNTL the basic textbook. It seems that such efforts have increased the presence of the Japanese Police in Timor-Leste in combination with the ongoing provision of support to the PNTL by the Japanese Police.

During my deployment, the PNTL asked me how to apply for Japanese technical assistance of the ODA . I interviewed them to find their actual needs, and accordingly advised them how to prepare an application form.

In addition to peacekeeping operations, Japan is doing bilateral support such as training for senior police officers of Timor-Leste through Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JICA ). How do you think the experiences and know-how of the Japanese Police should be linked to international contributions?

Concerning international contributions, it is important for the Japanese Police to contribute in a field where they excel compared with other countries. Such fields include support for reformation of police system and operations

As for a way of contribution, there will be provision of bilateral support, which is the same as the US and Australia did in Timor-Leste, through ODA as well as participation in a UN peacekeeping mission.

In a UN peacekeeping mission, it seems that the Japanese Police can make a great contribution, by giving instructions and advice, in the field of policy planning for police reform, training and education for police officers, or long-term development of the base for police activities in a country.

Please give your message to members of the International Peace Cooperation Corps working in different countries including Timor-Leste. Also, please give your advice to young people and students who wish to work for international peace cooperation.

Dispatched by the Japanese government, I received a lot of support from the government while working in the mission. On the other hand, working with foreign colleagues and under a non-Japanese supervisor, I had to think and act for myself. In such a situation, one's personal ability seems to be tested. In my case, my experiences of an international student in the US for two years and of cooperation with foreign investigating authorities in criminal investigation and drug and firearms control worked positively while I was engaged in my assignment in Timor-Leste. Recently the decreasing number of Japanese students abroad is often picked up by the media, but it seems there is still high expectation for international contributions by the Japanese government and Japanese people in the world. So, if you are interested in international peace cooperation, why don't you try your best?

Mr. Shigeru Yotoriyama(img)

Interviewed on June 15 at the Yamagata Prefectural Police Headquarters
Interviewers:Minoru Hanai and Takuro Horikawa, Secretariat of the International Peace Cooperation Headquarters
Photographer:Takuro Horikawa, Secretariat of the International Peace Cooperation Headquarters

Back number :

No.1  Mr. Yasushi AkashiNo.2  Dr. Hideki KobayashiNo.4  Colonel Toru NamatameSpecial Edition  Mr. Lou Oshiba

In “Relay Messages from Japanese Peacekeepers”, we look back on the history of Japan's international peace cooperation through messages delivered by prominent figures who are well versed in international peace cooperation as well as former members of International Peace Cooperation Corps in commemoration of the 20 years since the enactment of the International Peace Cooperation Law.

Cabinet Office, Government of Japan1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8914, Japan.
Tel: +81-3-5253-2111