Chizu’s story: A Japanese UN peacekeeper in TL

26 May 2011

Chizu’s story: A Japanese UN peacekeeper in TL

Dili, 26 May 2011 -
For Major Chizu Kurita, a 36-year-old Japanese military officer from Kyoto, Japan, visiting the people who live in remote rural communities near Baucau, Timor-Leste, is an experience she will never forget.

As a peacekeeper in a Military Liaison Group, Chizu visits hospitals, schools, NGOs, local police and businesses to assess people's needs and their issues on the ground.

"I am the first Japanese woman military officer to serve individually in a UN mission," she says. "The experience that I gain here is precious as this will be my first and last mission abroad. Despite the difficult situation back home in the aftermath of a severe disaster, I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to work for a UN peacekeeping mission."

Chizu's day starts with a patrol in the morning. In the afternoon she writes reports about the food situation, health, law and order, security and the activities of political parties and of youth who are involved in martial arts groups. Her reports help Timor-Leste and the UN peacekeeping mission respond to the needs of the people.

"My first month was difficult," says Chizu. "It was a challenge to gather information. It is a skill that I am learning over time. Also, it can be lonely sometimes in Baucau. But I am lucky to have considerate, kind and gentle colleagues."
Chizu began her work in Timor-Leste in March 2011 and will be returning to Japan after six months.

"As a Japanese military officer, it is important for me to use my privileged position to raise awareness about the challenges that some of the less fortunate in this country have to face," says Chizu.

For more information, please contact:
Raabya Amjad, Public Information Officer, UNMIT at

Mobile: +670 7326475).