My friends and colleagues in Tokyo asked me "Is it safe there?" before I left for Kosovo last week. I said of course, although I was not 100 percent sure then. Upon arriving in Pristina, however, I felt fully confident that I was correct. Yet many in Tokyo don't even know Pristina is the name of Kosovo's capital.
The Balkan Peninsula is one of the areas I had never been to prior to now. The main objective of the visit, however, is to directly see what is going on in this region. One of the lessons in the history of the 20th century Europe is the danger that an unstable Balkans might pose to the rest of the world.
In Kosovo international entities assist the nation-building of this young republic. The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) was active even before its "independence" in 2008. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is more effective, but this is not the end of the story.