Ms. Kay Fusano
Alternate Representative of Japan to the
On Item 113, "Promotion and protection
of the rights of children"
20 October 2003
Japan considers this agenda item as one of
the most important issues because we believe that children
are main actors of our bright future. The resolution on the
Rights of the Child does not only complement the Convention
on the Rights of the Child, but also serves as guidelines
for the action to be taken by the international community
to protect and promote the rights of children. For this reason,
Japan reaffirms its willingness to make an active contribution
to drafting the resolutions.
Before expressing our views on the issues
upon which Japan places emphasis, let me briefly comment on
the structure of the resolution on the rights of children.
This will be the ninth year that the resolutions under this
agenda item have been integrated into an omnibus resolution.
The present omnibus resolution is important in that it deals
comprehensively with and provides an overview of issues of
particular importance. The problem, however, lies in the length
of the resolution, which last year expanded to 16 pages with
118 operative paragraphs. We believe that it is important
for all Member States, including the main sponsor of the resolution,
to thoroughly review and attempt to shorten and simplify this
omnibus resolution in order to focus on very urgent and central
For sound growth and development of children,
their rights such as the right to live and the right to education
must be ensured. Governments should plan and implement policies
targeted at children and youth, bearing in mind that these
rights are properly secured. This is a key element of a rights-based
It is of particular concern that the well-being
of so many children is threatened by recent global trends
such as globalization and multiplication of conflict. It is
the obligation to us, adults, to protect children from such
threats and defend their right to live. The concept of "Human
Security" that Japan has been promoting is going along with
that idea, since it assures the "Protection" of every individual
and promotes their "Empowerment". Based on this idea, the
Government of Japan endeavors to resolve the problems children
Let me outline the efforts Japan has been
making and express the views it has on three particular issues.
First, it is extremely sad that so many children
are being affected by armed conflict, for example, in Liberia
and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Liberia, many of
the militias are reportedly composed of child soldiers. Disarming
them and providing them with the necessary care are pressing
needs. Many children are also suffering in Iraq. Japan has
contributed fifteen-million-ninety-three-thousand dollars
for the relief of Iraqi children, of which ten-million-twenty-eight-thousand
went to the implementation of the Back to School Campaign.
So many tasks need to be carried out by the United Nations
to deal effectively with this serious problem. In this regards,
the Government of Japan expects the comprehensive assessment
on the U.N. response to this issue be carried out at the earliest
possible date, as agreed at the last session of the General
Assembly. We are convinced that based on the assessment, the
U.N.'s capacity to address this urgent matter will be strengthened.
Child trafficking is one of the worst forms
of commercial sexual exploitation of children, especially
in South-East Asia where several thousand children are being
trafficked every year. Since this is a complex and cross-border
issue and its causes range from poverty and the socio-economic
gap between the countries concerned to the difference in their
legal systems, it is difficult to find ideal solutions. We
must nevertheless try. In this regard, Japan hosted the International
Symposium on Trafficking of Children jointly with UNICEF this
February in Tokyo, inviting nongovernmental organizations
from South-East Asian countries. At the symposium, we reached
the conclusion that we must take a comprehensive approach
involving governments, international organizations, and NGOs
at the regional level. On the basis of the outcome of the
symposium, Japan continues to work to put an end to such problems
and has already contributed a total of four-hundred-seventy-thousand
dollars to the project to protect and care for girl victims
of trafficking in Myanmar.
As I mentioned in my previous statement on
agenda item 110, Japan is tackling with another important
challenge, the elimination of harmful traditional practices
such as female genital mutilation (FGM). These practices have
been left unsolved under the cloak of tradition. The pain
and tears of girls have been ignored. Such practices should
not be regarded as traditions that should be passed on. Governments
should take a leadership role in eliminating them.
Through the human rights dialogue between
the Governments of Japan and Sudan, an agreement was made
to have human rights cooperation on the elimination of FGM.
To that end, Sudan held the Regional Symposium on the Abolition
of FGM to Ensure Safe Motherhood jointly with Japan and UNICEF
in Khartoum on 26-28 August. This symposium successfully awakened
the Sudanese public and has created momentum to anti-FGM movement.
Japan highly appreciates the efforts of the Government of
Sudan and hopes that it will make further efforts to abolish
this harmful practice and these actions will have a positive
influence on neighboring countries where the practice still
In addition to the international cooperation
mentioned above, Japan also is making continuous efforts to
change domestic legal systems in such a way as to protect
and promote the rights of children. The Law for Punishing
Acts Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography,
and for Protecting Children, which began to be enforced in
November 1999, has been bearing fruit, not only in the arrest
of 1,366 perpetrators in the last fiscal year alone, but also
in having a deterrent effect both outside and inside of Japan
since the law covers crimes committed by Japanese nationals
outside of Japan. An amendment strengthening these measures
has been submitted to the Diet, which is now under consideration.
Regarding the two Optional Protocols to the
Convention of the Rights of the Child that Japan signed in
May 2002, the Government of Japan is currently working on
the ratification process. Child pornography through the computer
system is becoming a serious issue. Article 9 of the Convention
on Cyber-crime, which was drafted under the leadership of
the Council of Europe, obliges States parties to take appropriate
measures on crimes related to child pornography. Japan considers
it an effective tool to fight against the problem and is preparing
to conclude it at the earliest possible date.
Legal and administrative measures with a view
to the full implementation of the CRC are crucial for the
promotion and protection of the rights of the child. Much
more needs to be done, but Japan reaffirms its determination
to work towards our goals in this area.
Thank you very much for your attention.