Deputy-Secretary-General Malloch Brown Representative of the General Assembly President, Ms. Nora Benary,
Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you all for joining us at the Asian Artists & Concerts performance tonight in this Assembly Hall.
First, I too would like to express my sadness over the sudden death of Dr. Lee Jong-wook, who, in his capacity as Director-General of WHO, was a dedicated and exceptionally able leader in the international response to such world major health crises as those caused by SARS and bird flu. I wish to extend to his family and friends my heartfelt condolences.
Tonight, you have come here to enjoy concert music, not to listen to boring speeches of UN ambassadors, with which this hall is sometimes, I emphasize only sometimes, filled. I hope mine will not be one, but please bear with me just for a few minutes.
This concert commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and serves at the same time, on a more modest scale, as a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Japan’s membership in the United Nations.
As you know, the UN Charter was adopted in June 1945, when my country, Japan, was still fighting a desperate war. Two months later, it surrendered and the wars ended.
From the ashes of the war, our nation arose and made great efforts to rebuild and to create an open democracy and a vibrant economy. It rejoined the community of nations at this world body in 1956, and has aspired to be a model of international engagement. Japan is now a nation that is dedicated to international peace and development and a strong advocate of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has just completed an official visit to Japan. He delivered an inspiring speech before an audience of more than one thousand students at the University of Tokyo. Allow me to quote just a few sentences from his remarks there: “At the end of the Second World War, Japan was defeated, devastated and occupied. Today, Japan’s transformation is the envy of many countries throughout the world. Well beyond its standing as a global economic power, Japan is strongly committed to multilateralism, democracy and the peaceful resolution of disputes.”
We are proud that during the past 50 years since joining the UN, Japan has come such a long way, to become a nation that has the ability to contribute to building peace, enhancing stability, and promoting development in the world.
It is in this spirit that this concert has been organized, to express our joy and pride through the universal language of music. Tonight’s program features music conveying the common message of human beings searching for peace and harmony while expressing our strong commitment to work tirelessly for the solidarity of the world community.
This concert marks the first in the inaugural series of concerts by the Asian Artists & Concerts, following its establishment this year. AAC supports the career development of talented young Asian musicians by creating performance opportunities for them. The Permanent Mission of Japan wishes to support this commitment to cultivate the talent of young Asian musicians in the early stages of their careers and help them make the transition to the professional music arena.
Admission to this concert was free to everyone here tonight. I can assure you, however, that in the future the tickets for the performances of most of these musicians will certainly be quite expensive. So let’s indulge ourselves now in the privilege of listening to what would otherwise be a costly night of classical music.
Last but not least, I would like to take this occasion to acknowledge with high appreciation the generous support of the companies and organizations that have made this event possible: Mitsui & Co., Toyota Motor North America, Sumitomo Corporation of America Foundation, Canon USA, and Suntory International Corp. On behalf of the Japanese Mission, I wish to thank them all very, very much.
I hope that all those present tonight will join with me in embracing this spirit dedicated to world peace and express your warm support for these promising musicians.
Thank you, again, and enjoy the evening.