Careers as a researcher
On 31 October 2005, she was appointed Minister of State for Gender equality and Social Affairs. She is in charge of policies associated with equal opportunities and social justice including gender equality, youth affairs, and consumer protection. She was substantially elected as Member of House of Representative by no vote in September 2005. Kuniko works on the issue of gender equality with Satsuki Katayama, and Yukari Sato.
Prior to her new appointment, she served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, as Head of the Delegation of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland, from April 2002 to April 2004. She also served the challenging post of President to the Conference on Disarmament from 18 August to 31 December 2003, and her efforts during this tenure were highly commended by Member States. She also served as Western Group coordinator at the commencement of the 2004 session of the Conference on Disarmament.
In addition to her duties as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Conference on Disarmament, She was appointed Chairperson of the United Nations First Biennial Meeting of States on Small Arms and Light Weapons, held in New York in July 2003. In this capacity, she instigated numerous consultations with States, regional and international organizations, and non-governmental organizations in the lead-up to the Meeting. As Chairperson, she led the Meeting to a successful conclusion with her unfailing drive and enthusiasm. Furthermore, She served as co-chair of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, an intersessional body of the Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction in 2004. She has also made invaluable contributions in her capacity as Board Member of the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), and Member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, particularly in the field of disarmament and reconciliation.
Also is an active member of the Club of Rome.
During her term as Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, she participated in numerous television programs and documentaries. She also contributed articles to various newspapers and periodicals on a wide range of topics in order to further the causes of disarmament and world peace.
Prior to her appointment as Ambassador, she taught first as Associate Professor, then Professor, in the Faculty of Law at Sophia University, Tokyo, from 1981 to 2002. During this period, she was also a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs. She was selected in 1993 among one of 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum.
She has been requested by the government to serve on a number of Councils, including the Prime Minister’s Defence Policy Review Council, the Prime Minister’s Administrative Reform Council, and the Prime Minister’s Gender Equity Council. She was also a member of the Special Committee on the ITER Project. On the academic side, She has served as an executive member of both the Japan Association for International Relations and the Japan Association of Gaming and Simulation, among others. In addition, she has served as a lecturer at civil service training institutions and a commentator on foreign policy and international affairs for newspapers and television. But it is known that her political slant is close to the Social Democratic Party, not to the Liberal Democratic Party, and she strongly opposed strengthening the Japan Self-Defense Forces at the Prime Minister’s Administrative Reform Council.
Her publications include War and Peace (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1989, in Japanese), which earned her the Yoshino Sakuzo Prize, An Emerging Post-Hegemonic System: Choices for Japan (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 1987, in Japanese), Invitation to Political Science (co-authored, Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 1989, in Japanese) and academic articles published in various journals.