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
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.
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
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.
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.