On 30 October 2007, the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations welcomed four Yokohama Peace Messengers in an annual meeting. Ms. Misa Imai, Mr. Masaya Koga, Ms. Naomi Furutachi, and Mr. Souichi Watanabe are this year’s elementary and junior high school winners of the Yokohama original peace-related speech contest. The students were accompanied by Yokohama Board of Education members, the principle of Aobadai Junior High School, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations International School, Ms. Sylvia Fuhrman.
Each student eloquently described their goals and ambitions to bringing peace to the world. Ambassador Yukio Takasu congratulated them on their outstanding vision and explained the details of Japan’s participation in the United Nations. He also raised issues of importance to Japan’s diplomacy at the UN, including Security Council Reform and the Peacebuilding Commission.
Ambassador Takasu also introduced the logo for the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), which was recently published on 24 October 2007. TICAD IV will be held next year in Yokohama City in May of next year, as well as other events related to Africa, including the Yokohama African Festival, which will be held in advance of the conference. He expressed his wish that Japanese people would take this valuable opportunity and learn more about the situation in Africa.
The students spent five days in New York, visiting the United Nations Headquarters, participating in United Nations International School classes, as well as presenting the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with funds raised by the citizens of Yokohama.
The Yokohama Peace Messengers formed in 1986. Yokohama’s history of involvement in a range of international exchange activities won it official recognition by the United Nations as a ‘Peace Messenger City’ in 1987.