H.E. Mr. Koichi Haraguchi
Permanent Representative of Japan
At the Plenary Meeting of the 58th General Assembly
on the Follow-up to the Outcome of the Millennium Summit (Item 60)
and the Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organisation (Item 10)
6 October 2003
The international community is getting increasingly more interdependent among its member states as a result of advance in globalisation. We are not any more able to achieve our security or prosperity alone. We need to behave in accordance with international agreements and rules so as to avoid unnecessary frictions among us and to enhance cooperation. We are in an increasing need for an effective, properly structured multilateral framework. Furthermore the challenges we face today are getting more and more diverse and complex. Effective, lasting solutions have to be sought in a comprehensive and integrated manner.
The United Nations, with its universal membership and broad mandate, is the body available that can meet those requirements of our time. We believe that the UN should continue to play an important role, a role which no other international organisation can fulfil.
It is true that a number of frustrations and criticisms have been raised against the UN as a result of the handling of the Iraq situation. However, they should be taken as a disguised expression of high expectation we place on the role of the UN. We continue to believe in the relevance of the UN as an organisation charged with the task of maintaining international peace and security.
Of course, this does not mean that we are satisfied with the Organisation's performance. There is no question that the UN needs reforms in a number of aspects. We, the Member States, need to reflect seriously on ways and means to revitalise the UN: how best to reform the Organisation in order to enable it to fulfil its expected function more effectively as authentic system of world governance.
In this respect, Japan is of the view that Security Council reform, administrative and budgetary reform, and revitalisation of this General Assembly deserve particular attention.
First, Security Council reform basically involves enhancing the Council's legitimacy and effectiveness. I cannot agree more with the Secretary-General when he stated in his report on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration that, "The composition of the Security Council...seems at odds with the geopolitical realities of the twenty-first century."
The Council, in our view, needs to add new states both willing and able to shoulder global responsibility as its permanent members. As our Foreign Minister clearly indicated in her address at the General Debate, Japan continues to work actively for the realisation of Security Council reform and would like to assume greater responsibility as a permanent member in a reformed Council.
Second, in order to meet new challenges within its limited financial resources, the UN must further rationalise its budget through more strict prioritisation of activities and further redeployment of resources from obsolete activities. This is the basic position of my Government on the deliberation of the program budget for the biennium 2004-2005.
As regards the scale of assessments, it ought to be changed to a more properly balanced and equitable one at an appropriate timing, in conformity with each country's actual economic performance, as well as with its status and responsibility in the UN.
I would also like to draw your attention to the need for an equitable geographical distribution among member states with regard to the number of staff in the UN Secretariat. It is yet a far away goal to be attained. Severe under-representation has to be redressed as a matter of priority.
What I would like particularly to stress here is that unless a sense of fairness is widely shared among the Member States, we cannot hope for a smooth management of the Organisation. In the long run, the UN will enjoy the wholehearted support of the Member States only when each one of them considers the Organisation as being managed in a fair and equitable manner. If certain countries are left unheeded with a feeling that they are obliged to bear excessive burdens, or being unfairly treated, I am afraid that it may lead to a serious erosion of support for the Organisation.
Third, one may observe that the UN diplomats are perhaps too preoccupied with the task of passing so many number of resolutions every year that hardly have real impact on the outside world. In order to enable the General Assembly to effectively play the role of the chief deliberative, policy-making, and representative organ of the UN, the discussions there must be reinvigorated and must regain relevance. The obvious step to be taken in this direction is to further streamline and consolidate the agenda.
Now let me turn to the three areas that the Secretary-General addresses in his report on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration, i.e., peace and security, development, and human rights and democracy.
Restoration of security and promotion of reconstruction of Iraq remain high on our agenda. Japan believes it critically important for the international community to extend support to Iraq so that it will become a moderate, unified country which will coexist peacefully with neighbouring countries. In this context, we sincerely hope that the new resolution now being discussed will provide a good basis for a strengthened international partnership.
As far as peace and security in Northeast Asia is concerned, North Korea's nuclear development program is of the gravest concern not only to Japan, but also to the international community as a whole. We urge North Korea once again to promptly dismantle all of its nuclear development programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.
At the same time, as our Minister Kawaguchi stated, Japan intends to effect the normalisation of diplomatic relations with North Korea on the basis of Pyongyang Declaration after achieving a comprehensive solution on all the outstanding issues including the nuclear issue, the missile issue, and the abduction issue.
In the area of disarmament and non-proliferation, Japan, as a sole nation which experienced the enormous tragedies caused by nuclear weapons, is making strenuous and resolute diplomatic efforts towards a peaceful and safe world free of nuclear weapons, based on a realistic and incremental approach. We will submit a draft resolution in this General Assembly session entitled, "A path to the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons." I would like to call on the Member States to extend your overwhelming support to it.
We were all shocked by the terrorist attack on UN Headquarters in Baghdad. It was an attack to us all. We must take resolute action against those despicable terrorists. It is now more important than ever for all members of the international community to show the political will to take forceful counter-terrorism measures, and to build the capacity to implement them. At the same time, more effective ways should be explored to ensure the safety of UN and humanitarian personnel.
The realisation of universal criminal justice to put an end to impunity for those who have committed serious crimes is another means of addressing the root causes of violent conflict. Japan, having played a central role in supporting the Cambodia's efforts to carry out the Khmer Rouge Trials with the help of the UN, welcomes the signing of the draft agreement between the UN and Cambodia. We call on both the Cambodian Government and the UN to expedite the process leading to an early realisation of justice in Cambodia and appeal to the Member States to extend support to the Trials.
I am happy to note that the third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD III) was successfully concluded on October 1. The TICAD process, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, demonstrates Japan's firm commitment to African development. We are proud to have continued to stress the need for assistance to Africa at the time when the international community was suffering from aid fatigue to Africa. It is our hope that the results of the TICAD III would serve as another important momentum for further development in Africa.
In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, all the countries concerned must increase their efforts to realise the commitments and work to produce concrete positive results. It would be a pity, if developed and developing countries end up accusing each other for a lack of effort in working towards our goals and objectives. Regarding the Secretary-General's Report on the Millennium Declaration (A/58/323), my Government has some specific comments and is preparing a note to present to the Secretariat and to distribute to the Member States later on.
Natural disaster often wipes out the precious fruits of our laborious effort for development. Therefore, disaster reduction is one of the indispensable prerequisites for sustainable development. Let me take this occasion to reiterate Japan's proposal to host the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in the framework of the UN in order to develop new strategies in the 21st century.
For achieving sustainable development, education is another key to be emphasised. Japan will continue to promote the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and would like to propose a draft resolution on this item.
We are convinced that respect for human rights, establishment of democracy and good governance are essential ingredients for a sound foundation on which decent societies may flourish. However, the process by which this is achieved is by no means an automatic and self-sustaining one. It has been, and continues to be, affected by a whole variety of external, as well as internal, challenges.
Those challenges are so diverse and so complex that we need a more comprehensive, integrated approach that encompasses a wide range of the political, economic, and social aspects of our life. Japan is actively promoting the conceptual framework of "Human Security" and strengthening our efforts in protecting and empowering individuals and communities from a human-centred perspective. We will continue to work for the realisation of the recommendations made in the Report by the Commission on Human Security.
The progress achieved in implementing the Millennium Declaration is to be reviewed in the year 2005. Japan remains committed to making its proper contribution and to working with other Member States towards the attainment of the goals of the Declaration.
Thank you very much.