Tracing Service and Dissemination of International Humanitarian Law
The International Committee of the Red Cross began its tracing services in 1870, when the organisation established a tracing agency to restore contact between prisoners of war and their families separated by the Franco-Prussian War. Since then the Red Cross has continued its efforts to reunite families separated by war. In addition, the Red Cross undertakes tracing activities for those who are separated by natural disasters.
Most of the tracing requests the JRCS receives are from families separated between Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In FY2007, the JRCS received 194 tracing requests of which 68 were deemed to contain sufficient information to commence a search. The Red Cross also serves as an intermediary, delivering Red Cross Messages (RCM) to and from family members separated by war.
Dissemination of International Humanitarian Law
Since its establishment, the Red Cross has been mandated to assist victims of war. To this day, the 1949 Geneva Conventions are the main legal for this mandate. It is thus important for the JRCS, a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, to disseminate international humanitarian law (IHL) and its humanitarian rules, particularly those in the four 1949 Geneva Conventions and its two 1977 Additional Protocols.
The Japanese Red Cross Society works closely with the Japanese government to disseminate IHL, particularly through the National Committee on IHL. It is through the JRCS' connections with the government, that Japan became a party to the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions in July 2004.