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Deputy Consul Yanai Arrives at Chicago

Former Deputy Consul Hironori Sawada left, and New Deputy Consul Keiko Yanai arrived at Chicago on July 16.
She received a master’s degree in international relations and wanted to work for the United Nations. After passing the competitive recruitment examinations of the U.N., she joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan.

She has held various positions in MOFA, specializing in treaty negotiations and multilateral affairs focusing on disarmament and non-proliferation. She served as an expert for the UN Group of Governmental Experts on the related subjects such as the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

From 2006 to 2008, she was Deputy Director for Non-proliferation, Scientific and Nuclear Energy Division overseeing IAEA related matters, and also served as Atomic Energy Specialist in the Cabinet Office.

Her latest responsibility in MOFA was to work on overall disarmament and non-proliferation policies, international export control regimes, and nuclear related issues including the IAEA as Senior Coordinator for Non-proliferation, Scientific and Nuclear Energy Division.

“Disarmament and non-proliferation” sounds unfamiliar for ordinary people, but its activities include introducing “Hibakusha” (atomic bomb survivors) testimony to countries around the world.
As the only country, which has suffered atomic bombings, Japan has devoted itself to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. After President Obama’s Prague Speech, the world gained momentum to strive towards nuclear disarmament.

According to Yanai, there are various categories of weapons such as weapons of mass destruction including nuclear weapons and biological weapons, and conventional weapons like small arms. Each category has some sort of international frameworks to control or ban them.
She has worked on creation of “Arms Trade Treaty” from an early stage to a pre-negotiation stage. The Treaty aims to strengthen control over the trade of conventional weapons through establishing international standards. Although it was a tough process, the negotiation reached an agreement, and Japan signed the Treaty last June.

While overseas, Yanai worked in the Embassy of Japan in Singapore from 1988 to 1992, the Embassy of Japan in the Netherlands from 1999 to 2002, and the Delegation of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva from 2002 to 2005. She said that the issues related to non-proliferation and disarmament, which encompass nuclear weapons to small arms, have been actively discussed in Geneva and New York where the headquarters of the U.N. is located.

Deputy Consul Keiko Yanai works in Chicago and the Midwest for the first time. Her main responsibilities include overall management of the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago and assisting the Consul General. Yanai said, “While doing my jobs in the office, I would like to meet people from all walks of life in the 10 states under the jurisdiction of the Chicago office and expand a network of personal contacts. I hope to introduce more about Japan to the people.”