Feature Article
2ND LEAD (Updated details from Petrie Report)

Takasu, Tamils' adversary in UN Security Council?

[TamilNet, Friday, 28 December 2012, 00:15 GMT]
Yukio Takasu, the 2009 President of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on the critical month of February, was one of the key UN officials who allegedly prevented Sri Lanka from being dragged into the UNSC for the unfolding mass scale killings in Mu'l'livaaykkaal, public statements made by UN officials during media stakes reveal. While some UN Security Council (UNSC) permanent members may have agreed with Takasu'a views, in a media stake out, Takasu lays out his "own" critical view of the "terrorist LTTE," and the primacy of political and security need to "defeat" the Tigers over imminent large scale civilian casualties. Political observers believe that Japanese cultural views on refugees, asylum seekers may provide clues to Takasu's approach and conduct in the UNSC that led to the disastrous outcome for the Tamil refugees trapped in Sri Lanka's civil war.

Yukio Takasu was the President of the UNSC during February 2009 and later in 2010. He was also Japan's Ambassador to the United Nations.

Yukio Takasu, President UN Security Council Feb, 2009
Yukio Takasu, President UN Security Council Feb, 2009
In the three media briefings on 9th, 20th and 27th February at the UN, Takasu, lays out the strategy adopted at the UNSC. Political observers commenting on the video pointed to the unmistakable hand of Takasu in adopting the chillingly cruel UN strategy to allow, in the name of security and politics, Colombo a free hand in the impending brutal massacre of nearly 80,000 civilians [Petrie Report: "an estimated 360,000 or more civilians were crowded into an ever smaller part of ‘the Wanni’ area of Northern Sri Lanka where many died as a result of sustained artillery shelling, illness and starvation. Almost 280,000 survivors were forcibly interned in military-run camps outside."]

In articulating first the UN's motivations, and then responding to probing questions from a few journalists, Takasu is seen drawing his decades of experience in being a UN bureaucrat, as he switches between his three roles, the President of the UNSC, the Ambassador and as a Japanese private citizen, to deliver his message: that LTTE is the problem, and needs to be taken out. As a private citizen he confesses that no one wants to see “damage” to civilian people, but it is unfortunate [that we should allow that to happen in this instance]."

The videos and the associated news coverage by Innercity Press's Matthew Lee during the civilian carnage at Mu'l'livaaykkaal, establishes, with reasonable certainty, Takasu's involvement in continuing to refuse to taking up the matter at the Security Council.

Yasushi Akashi, Former Japanese Envoy to the Tokyo Co-Chairs
Yasushi Akashi, Former Japanese Envoy to the Tokyo Co-Chairs
Tamil activists also accuse another Japanese, Yasushi Akashi, the former Special Envoy of the Tokyo Co-chair to the Peace Process, for allegedly supporting US South Asia's Secretary Blake, in architecting the defeat of Tigers. The co-chairs assembled a coalition of countries to first proscribe, then to arrest activists in the US, Australia, Canada, and in several European cities in a well-coordinated action to blunt the support from the Tamil diaspora by inculcating fear. Political observers say the Blake-led action, supported by co-chairs provided a internationally muted, clear political space for Colombo to carry out the massacre.

On Akashi's visit in August 2012, three years after the Mu'l'livaaykkaal massacre, a Jaffna social activist commented: “Architects of the genocidal war cannot be mere listeners. They are answerable to the affected people and to the world. There is no foreign establishment involved in the island that doesn't really know what is happening. Therefore, the boldness with which the grass-root aspirations of the nation of Eezham Tamils has to be politically translated in a befitting way should never be compromised in the island and in the diaspora."

Observers also point out that specific to Japan-Sri Lanka relationship, the role of common bond through religion [Buddhism] and sympathetic overtures offered by Sri Lanka towards Japan following the WWII defeat, reinforce the skewed position of Japan in speaking in favor of Sinhala-centric political goals in Sri Lanka.

Research indicates that the Japanese society abhors refugees and asylum seekers to maintain a homogeneous population, and activists argue that this cultural instinct may have played a role in the Japanese officials' mindset to allow humanitarian issues take a secondary role, and a factor behind the perceived insensitivity of the Japanese officials to the plight of Tamil civilians as hundreds of thousands were made refugees in their own homeland by deliberation action of the State. Takasu charaterizes the "impending crime-of-the-century" as "damage" to the "civilian people."

Japan also remained the biggest donor nation to Sri Lanka for many decades as the state sponsored discrimination of Tamils and pogroms against Tamils plagued the Island- another Japanese, Colombo affiliation that may have likely played in the Takasu-Akashi involvement in the war which led to disastrous consequences to the Tamil civilians, political observes point out.

Takasu's UN briefings, news reports on Sri Lanka, IDPs and War

Date of Briefings, News Reports

Video, News Report Link

[Start Time] Key Points made


1. UN-Takasu Feb 09 2009 Video

2. Innercity Press Report

The 2009 President of the UN Security Council, and the Japanese Ambassador to the UN, Takasu, conducts the mediation to take up Sri Lanka for discussions in the UNSC: (First minute of the video only)
- Mexico requested discussions. Takasu says he is engaged in consultations.
- When pressed for details, says different members have different views of the conflict. Some concerned about the humanitarian aspect, some feel the war is an internal matter. Takasu says there is no UNSC agenda yet on the matter.
- British Ambassador remarked, "[t]he Tamil Tigers are a proscribed organization and the government of Sri Lanka has long been blighted by the activities of the Tamil Tigers. We want these to be brought to an end."


UN-Takasu Feb- 20-2009 Video

[12:20]Yukio Takasu, reveals behind-the scene thinking of member countries of UN Security Council on Sri Lanka.
- Sri Lanka situation is not "just" a humanitarian issue, but involves politics and security
- LTTE is a terrorist organization that has broken several CeaseFire agreements
- LTTE is well organized, and uses CeaseFires to advance its military strategy
- LTTE uses civilians as "human shields"


1. UN-Takasu Feb 27 2009 Video

2. Innercity Press Report

Important video from Takasu (Starting @00:00:35), points out the "Convergence of Views" indicating that UN will not impede in GoSL's military action:
- Takasu says the Sri Lanka conflict will not be a Council agenda item going forward. (Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, even before the meeting began, called the briefing by UN humanitarian chief John Holmes a "one-time" event.)
- Takasu lays the blame for the catastrophe mainly on the LTTE and defends the Government while expressing serious concern on the humanitarian situation.
- Brings up terrorist LTTE exploting the IDPs for military advantage. Members have pointed out the terrorist list from US, EU. Escaping IDPs being shot by the LTTE, recruitment of child soldiers. THis is an important message from the Security Council.
- GoSL is taking precautions, and UN hopes GoSL exercises maximum restraint
- Convergence of views expect LTTE to lay down arms and participate in discussions in a political process towards "devolution" or "self-rule"..."whatever you call it"
- Says, action of the UNSC on Sudan is consistent with the UNSC refusing to take up Sri Lanka for discussions.


1. ICP: Sri lanka discussions in UN Basement
2. ICP: Takasu praises his meeting innovations

- Security Council deliberation carried out off the record, came to be known as "basement briefings, as in the Innercity press report: "As the UN's envoy to Sri Lanka Vijay Nambiar gave a begrudging basement briefing to the UN Security Council, France flexed up its humanitarian muscles while China offered unequivocal support to the government's military crackdown in the north."
- Takasu thinks this was an innovation: Reflecting on the changes Takasu architected to the procedures and "working methods" of the Security Council, Takasu says, "transparency to non Council members is the goal, and noted that the informal meetings on Sri Lanka, for example, were an innovation."

Japan's history on hostility to asylum seekers/immigrants

1. UNHCR article on Japan's Immigration Policy
2. Japan's policy of exclusion I
3. Japan's policy of exclusion II
4. Waseda Research: Defying Convention
5. TamilNet: Akashi comes to ‘listen’ to people in Jaffna

Yukio Takasu and Yasushi Akashi, both UN diplomats, horned their diplomatic skills growing up in an environment that was hostile to refugees and immigrants. Popular images of refugees in Japan are dominated by media portrayals of precarious refugee camps in Africa, leading to misplaced biases that a refugee is, “poor, dirty and having a weak existence without the right of protection under international laws”:
- Japan joined the UN in 1956, it did not become party to the Refugee convention until 1981.
- Japan did accept White Russian refugees after WWI and Jewish refugees during WWII. However, those accepted tended to be the wealthy or intellectual elite.
- Japan’s restrictive immigration policy, reveals the cruel treatment Kurdish and Afghani asylum seekers received at the hands of the Ministry of Justice as they applied for refugee status.
- Japan which saw itself as ethnically, culturally and linguistically homogeneous the prospect of a mass immigration of refugees was alarming to the populace and the negative reaction of the Japanese Government reflected that concern.

Source: UN video archives, Wikileaks, ICP Reports

Related Articles:
18.11.12   UN culpable under "complicity clause," says Professor Boyle
24.09.12   UN complicit in Mu'l'livaaykaal killings, say UN humanitaria..
08.10.11   Japan's defiance to adhere to UN Convention, leaves Tamil Re..
10.05.09   2,000 civilians feared slaughtered in a single night

External Links:
ICP: On Sri Lanka at UN, Mere "Remarks to the Press," UK Says IMF Loan Not Relevant
JF: Open the Door-- Japan ’s Policy of Exclusion of Refugees (Part 1)
ICP: To Visit Sri Lanka, Ban Ki-moon Called “Too Busy” by UN Sources, Despite Japanese Urging and Invitation
AUGov: The Problem with the 1951 Refugee Convention
ICP: Amid Death in Sri Lanka, UN Wedding in New York, Ban's Visit Delay Questioned
ICP: UN's and Ban's Backing-Down to Sri Lanka Questioned by NGOs, IMF Delay Praised
Inner City Press: At UN, Sri Lanka Accused of Shelling Civilians, "Friendly Censure," LTTE Condemned
ICP: At Sri Lanka Dialogue of UN Council, Photos on Wall, Press in the Hall
ICP: Sri Lanka Set for Security Council Dialogue in UN Basement, Beslan Analogy
ICP: In Sri Lanka 13,130 Missing IDPs Reported But Downplayed By UN
ICP: Sri Lanka Damage Satellite Photos Withheld by UNITAR
ICP: On Sri Lanka, UN Speak of Siege, Calls Cease-Fire Unrealistic, Only Private Diplomacy
Waseda: Defying Convention: Japan, National Identity and the Illegalisation of Asylum
ICP: In UN Council, Japan Works on Sri Lanka Issue
IPC: UN Still Withholds Casualty Numbers, Funds Detention Camps
Inner City Press: UN Meeting Called One-Off, UK Makes No Proposals, Holmes Differs from Ban
ICP: Mexico Invokes Responsibility to Protect, Rebukes Colombo's "Inaccuracies"
ICP: On Sri Lanka, France Pitches Hospital Not IMF or Genocide
ICP: In N. Sri Lanka, 2,683 Civilian Killings This Year, UN Leaked Documents Show
ICP: UN's Ban Declines To Call for Cease-Fire, Double Standard Unexplained
ICP: On Sri Lanka, UN's Holmes Tells Council to Speak with One Voice, Envoy Request
ICP: On Sri Lanka in UN Basement, Rice of US Speaks, Libya Offers Money, and China Support
ICP: On Sri Lanka, UN Official Describes "Nightmare Scenario," Treaty Official "Knows Better"
ICP: US' Rice Joins Call for UN Council Briefing
JF: Open the Door-- Japan ’s Policy of Exclusion of Refugees (Part 1)



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