2002 Statement



Permanent Representative of Japan

At the Plenary Meeting of the 57th General Assemblyon

the Follow-up to the Outcome of the Millennium Summit (Item 44) and

Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization (Item 10)

7 October 2002

Mr. President,

Today I would like to focus on the following three areas, which are currently high on the UN agenda, namely: international peace and security, development, and UN reform.

(International Peace and Security)

Mr. President,

Preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery has become a task of greatest urgency in the maintenance of international peace and security. Weapons of mass destruction are a particularly grave threat when they are used for terrorism. At this time, the issue of Iraq is of profound concern to the international community. It is essential that Iraq allow inspections without any conditions and restrictions and comply with all relevant UN Security Council resolutions. We consider that the Security Council should seek to adopt appropriate and necessary resolutions in order to gain international cooperation in resolving this issue.

The relaxation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula is essential for the peace and stability in Northeast Asia. At the recent summit meeting between Japan and North Korea, North Korea expressed its intention to work with sincerity to resolve humanitarian issues such as the abduction of Japanese nationals, and security issues such as its nuclear and missile activities. Japan intends to make strenuous efforts to resolve these and other important issues in the process of the resumed normalization talks, and to realize normalization of relations, thereby contributing to the peace and stability of the region.

The recent relationship between India and Pakistan is a serious concern for us. We want to urge both of them to seek the reduction of tensions and the resumption of dialogue, not only for the sake of peace and stability in South Asia but also for the world. On the other hand, Japan welcomes the commencement of peace talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and LTTE, the talks which are meant to bring about peace and reconstruction in Sri Lanka. Japan is prepared to cooperate in the peace talks and reconstruction process.

Concerning Afghanistan, it is important for the international community to promote cooperation to ensure security and to steadily fulfill its commitments of assistance to that country. In this regard, Japan is now preparing a program called "Register for Peace," to facilitate the reintegration of former combatants. In our view, ensuring a seamless transition from humanitarian assistance to recovery and reconstruction assistance is critically important for the stability of Afghanistan. Cooperation for the construction of the road which connects major cities is an especially urgent need, as is a comprehensive regional development program through, inter alia, resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons.

I would also like to touch upon the situation in the Middle East. It is crucial that the vision of the peaceful coexistence of Israel and an independent Palestinian state be materialized as early as possible. However, the most urgent task is for both parties to rebuild mutual trust, and put an end to the vicious cycle of violence. Toward that end, Japan strongly urges Israel to immediately withdraw its troops to the line of September 2000, halt its military operations, and lift closures in the autonomous areas; at the same time, Japan resolutely condemns terrorist acts by Palestinian extremists.

Let me also refer to the situation in Africa. We are encouraged by the positive movements, such as the establishment of peace in Angola and a partial cease-fire in Sudan. On the other hand, efforts for national reconciliation in Cote d’Ivoire are retrogressing, to our regret. Violence and bloodshed must be stopped immediately. In this regard, we highly appreciate and support the efforts by the African people themselves through, for example, ECOWAS which has been seeking to undertake arbitration.


Mr. President,

There is a clear causal link between development on the one hand and peace and stability on the other. Where instability, conflicts and war prevail, we see sorrow, tears, frustration, lack of development and poverty. Where there is stability and peace, we find joys, smiles, hopes and steady developments. Development also has lots to do with enhancement of "human security". Incidentally, human security is a concept to which Japan attaches great importance and we are looking forward to the final report which the Commission on Human Security co-chaired by Mrs.Ogata and Professor Sen is going to issue next spring.

Having said that, I would like to draw your attention to the following historical fact. In the 1960s, the per capita GNP of countries in East Asia was similar to that of sub-Saharan African countries. Since then, however, East Asian countries have dramatically increased their per capita GNP, and in the past ten years the proportion of the population living in poverty has been successfully cut in half. Such sustainable growth has been described as the "East Asian Miracle." Naturally, it is not at all my intention to be boastful of the success of East Asia, of which Japan is a part. I cited the story simply because I thought that it must contain a valuable clue behind it which could serve as a useful reference for us in addressing the issue of development.

Then, what is the clue? After a thorough study, the World Bank came to a conclusion that this was achieved through vigorous investment which was sustained by high savings, and the availability of highly skilled human capital. I agree that vigorous investment was the powerful engine for growth. But, what is noteworthy here is that the major portion of the investment capital came from the accumulation of small amount of money saved by those with low income, but who believed in better future.

The availability of many men and women with basic education must have been another vital factor. It was made possible because there were many mothers who were willing to skip their lunch in order to pay education for their children. It is those vivid, concrete human factors that, in my view, have played a major role in achieving the success.

Of course, I do not deny the important, complementary role which donors and overseas investors played in their development. In view of the tremendous handicap in which many developing countries find themselves and in light of increasing interdependence of states, the assistance by the donors has become all the more important.

It is fortunate that we were able to agree on the Millennium Development Goals in this respect. However, it is crucial to keep reminding ourselves that these goals would lose much relevance, unless there are many who are prepared to run, sweating and short of breath toward these goals, and unless there are equally many who are prepared to cheer and give warm encouragement to supply water and towels to these serious runners, or to ensure that the course is in good condition.

In this respect, Japan welcomes NEPAD, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the establishment of the African Union as manifestations of the ownership by African countries. Anticipating that African countries will strive to make further progress in their development on the basis of NEPAD, and to help strengthen their partnership with the international community, Japan will convene TICAD III, the third Tokyo International Conference on African Development in October 2003.

Mr. President,

Development must be pursued in a sustainable manner. It is therefore important to duly follow up the results of the Johannesburg Summit. For example, the WSSD’s Plan of Implementation recommended that the UN General Assembly consider declaring a "Decade of Education for Sustainable Development" starting in 2005. Japan is in favor of this recommendation. And Japan, for its part, will host the Third Water Forum and its International Ministerial Conference in March of next year.

The treatment of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases is another big task. As the report by the Committee of Health and Macroeconomics of WHO pointed out last December, public health is critical for the economic development of poor countries, and investments in the health sector is a means not only of improving health conditions but also of achieving the Millennium Development Goals with respect to poverty reduction.

In order to address the issue of infectious diseases effectively, it is necessary to adopt a well-coordinated approach that responds to the wide-ranging needs of each country, including education, prevention, treatment, public sanitation, and research and development. Cooperation based on a balanced consideration to regions in need of assistance is also important. From this viewpoint, Japan will continue to contribute to the "Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria".

(UN Reform)

Mr. President,

Last but not least, I would like to address the need to strengthen the United Nations. The UN is required to focus on the new challenges of the twenty-first century and take actions in a flexible and more effective manner. The priority issues which the UN is expected to address are being defined by the Millennium Declaration and through global conferences. It is up to the UN to establish work programs and formulate budgets in accordance with these priorities, and then to undertake organizational reforms. The report on UN reform recently issued by Secretary-General clearly sets forth the direction which this effort should take. Japan welcomes the basic stance of the Secretary-General, and intends to fully cooperate in the process of reform.

A large number of heads of state and government noted at the Millennium Summit that Security Council reform is especially important in strengthening the United Nations. As the Secretary-General stated in his recent report: "No reform is complete without the Security Council reform". I welcome his exhortation to Member States with this statement to move ahead in the discussion of this important issue. As the debate on Security Council reform is about to enter its tenth year, Japan believes we should focus our discussion on such questions as the number of seats on the enlarged Security Council. Japan intends to make various efforts in this regard, and hopes that the present report will provide momentum to the discussions.

The Japanese Government also welcomes the fact that the reform of UN peace keeping operations, which is based on the "Brahimi Report" is showing increasing results. Japan looks forward to the efficient and effective use of the enhanced capacity of the Secretariat in this area.

Mr. President,

It is important that we not view the goals contained in the Millennium Declaration simply as ends in themselves. By 2015, we must reduce world poverty and hunger by half, we must eliminate gender disparity in education, and we must reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. Then, we can build a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. To that end, developing and developed countries are equally required to do their utmost according to their respective capacities. Towards the attainment of the goals of the Millennium Declaration, Japan will spare no effort to contribute to the work of the United Nations.

Thank you.