2003 Statement


Ms. Kay Fusano

Alternate Representative of Japan

On item 110, "Advancement of Women", and Item 111, "Implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the twenty-third session of the General Assembly, entitled 'Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century'"


15 October 2003

Mr. Chairman,

As globalization transforms the world in this post-Cold War era, manifold issues are becoming interconnected, the gender issue among them. Indeed, the gender issue itself is multi-faceted and needs to be tackled from many angles. It is also one of the core elements of human security. At the outset therefore, I would like to take the opportunity to express the appreciation Japan feels for the UN-wide trend of incorporating a gender perspective throughout its agenda.

Mr. Chairman,

Japan's commitment to the advancement of women and the mainstreaming of a gender perspective has been reiterated in several policy statements and decisions. First, Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, in his General Policy Speech to the Diet delivered on 26 September, unequivocally stated that the proportion of women in leadership positions is expected to be increased to 30 percent with a view to achieving equal representation between women and men. The Government of Japan will endeavor to advance the status of women by improving women's representation in all spheres of society. In connection with the promotion of women's participation, Mr. Chairman, we would like to encourage the United Nations system to increase the number of qualified female staff and the appointment of qualified female candidates at high levels, in conformity with the principle of equitable geographical distribution, with a view to promoting gender equality and achieving gender balance in the United Nations system. In addition to these efforts, we would also like to encourage the United Nations system to recruit more men and women from un-represented or under-represented countries, including Japan.

Second, Japan's revised Official Development Assistance (ODA) Charter was approved by the Cabinet in August this year. The revised Charter lays out the five basic policies on our assistance. In connection with one of those pillars, "Assurance of fairness," it states that the perspective of gender equality is particularly important in formulating and implementing assistance policies and should always be taken into consideration. The Government of Japan accordingly reaffirms its determination to make further efforts to improve the status of women, giving full consideration to the active participation of women in development, and to ensuring that women reap benefits from development.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like now briefly to refer to the consideration of Japan's fourth and fifth reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which took place on 8 July this year, during that body's twenty-ninth session. In its concluding comments on the reports, the Committee congratulated Japan for its important achievements in regard to the promotion of a gender-equal society. It singled out for particular praise a series of legal initiatives and reforms, the allocation of around 10 percent of ODA to gender-related assistance in developing countries, and the partnership with women's non-governmental organizations in the preparation of the reports. Japan will carefully consider the recommendations of the Committee and take any appropriate measures necessary.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like briefly to describe Japan's efforts and views on combating violence against women. Before doing so, however, I would like to take a moment to congratulate Ms. Yakin Erturk on her appointment as Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. We all look forward to her playing an active leadership role.

Japan recognizes that trafficking in women and girls is a serious issue and firmly believes that it is a grave violation of the human rights of women and girls. Japan has made great efforts to address this problem, cooperating with law enforcement and immigration authorities in countries of origin and transit in the Asia-Pacific region to investigate instances of trafficking and prevent trafficking from taking place. The Government of Japan will continue to make its utmost efforts to combat this form of violence against women and girls as well as to support victims.

Japan is profoundly pleased that the Government of Sudan successfully convened the Regional Symposium on the Abolition of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to Ensure Safe Motherhood, in Khartoum in August, which was cosponsored by UNICEF and Japan. It is of great importance to recognize that the problem of FGM is related to four of the eight Millennium Development Goals: empowerment of girls and women and promoting gender equality; reduction of child mortality; improving maternal health; and combating HIV/AIDS. We strongly hope that the harmful consequences of this practice will be more effectively addressed and that it will be eliminated any place in the world where it is found today.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the year 2005 will be the tenth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Japan regards celebration of the tenth anniversary as an important way of emphasizing the continuing relevance of the gender issue to the world. However, we do not necessarily think it would be productive to organize a large-scale conference such as "Beijing + 5" and negotiate another outcome document. Instead, it may be more effective to address the importance of the issue, for example, by holding a ceremonial event such as a high-level meeting on the gender issue. My delegation believes that in this manner, we would be able to mark the year commemoratively, and also to great effect.

To conclude, Mr. Chairman, the Government of Japan renews its commitment to further promoting a gender-equal society, where both men and women can exercise their abilities to the maximum, domestically under the leadership of the Gender Equality Bureau in our Cabinet Office, and internationally in cooperation with the UN system and other Member States.

Thank you very much.