7 OCTOBER 2004
The Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization has been presented in order to remind us, once again, of the enormous and wide-ranging challenges that the United Nations is facing today. In view of the nature of those challenges, as well as the progressive globalization and the increasing level of interdependency in today’s international community, we strongly feel the need to keep our multilateral framework as credible as possible, so that we will be able to work out collective solutions to those challenges effectively.
Today I would like to touch upon some of the issues we consider critical in reviewing the work of the UN over the past year.
Let me begin with Iraq. Stability in Iraq has a lot to do with peace and stability in the Middle East as a whole. I am convinced that the international community must make a united effort to support the transition process in Iraq, so that the country can return to the international community as early as possible as a stable and democratic nation friendly to its neighboring countries. We believe that the United Nations has leading role to play in this endeavor.
It is of vital importance that the political process be promoted by the Iraqi people themselves according to the timetable provided in the Security Council resolution 1546. The most urgent task in this regard is to carry out the elections to the Transitional National Assembly as scheduled for January of next year. We strongly hope that utmost efforts be made to hold inclusive elections with the participation of all major political factions. The UNAMI’s support for the Independent Electoral Commission will be critical in ensuring fair and credible elections. It is our sincere hope that the Secretary-General and his Special Representative, Mr. Qazi, will continue to provide leadership in this regard.
Japan has been actively participating in the international efforts to assist the Iraqi people in rebuilding their country. Japan has pledged financial assistance amounting to US$5 billion and is steadily implementing it. Japan has also deployed its Self-Defense Forces in Iraq to provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. We will host the Third Donors’ Meeting of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq on 13 and 14 October in Tokyo. We are confident that the Meeting will add further momentum to the concerted effort of the international community to support Iraq. We expect that the Meeting will also address the issues of support for the political process, including election support, and will provide us with a good opportunity to reconfirm our unified commitment.
In Afghanistan, the Bonn Process is reaching its final stage with the approach of the presidential election on 9 October and parliamentary elections next year. The rebirth of Afghanistan as a democratic state is at stake in these elections. It is our sincere hope that the elections be conducted in a peaceful and fair manner and will result in a successful outcome.
Japan, as the sponsor of the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan, held in Tokyo in January 2002, has been playing a major role in assisting that country. Japan’s regional comprehensive development assistance program, known as the Ogata Initiative, aims at facilitating a seamless transition from humanitarian to reconstruction and development assistance. We have been promoting the program as a model for peace and the human security response in post-conflict situations.
Japan is also the lead country in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process, together with the United Nations. We will continue our efforts to support direct negotiations between leaders of the transitional government and regional commanders, implementation of the commander incentive programs and promotion of the reintegration programs, so that the momentum for DDR be maintained even after the presidential election.
The reconstruction of Afghanistan is a touchstone in our fight against terrorism. For that reason, it is essential that the international community continue its support for the efforts of the Afghan people.
Prime Minister Koizumi clearly stated in his statement at the General Debate that there will be no stability and prosperity in the world until the issues of Africa are resolved. In fact, the issues of Africa pose serious challenges to the United Nations, both in achieving peace and security and in promoting development, including meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
In Sudan, it is crucial that the Government of Sudan and the rebels make every effort to reach a political settlement on Darfur, in accordance with the Security Counsel resolutions 1556 and 1564. All possible measures to improve the security conditions must be taken, beginning with disarming of the militias in order to halt the attacks against civilians. To ensure an end to the current climate of impunity, it is a matter of urgency to bring to justice all those responsible for the massive human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. In this regard, we highly appreciate the steps taken by the African Union for the resolution of the Darfur issue. The international community must continue to assist the efforts of the African Union.
In addressing the issue of peace and security in Africa, we are of the view that it is important for the African countries to exercise ownership to a greater extent. International support to enhance Africa’s capacity for managing conflicts is certainly necessary, but the ownership efforts of Africa are the most important element. Japan is strengthening its partnership through dialogue with the African Union, so as to enable the AU to play an even more constructive role in peace-building activities.
Japan hosted the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD III, last year. Since the beginning of the TICAD process in 1993, Japan has been steadily implementing wide-ranging assistance to Africa. Consolidation of peace, poverty reduction through economic growth and human-centered development are the three main pillars of our undertaking there.
Consolidation of peace and realization of human security are urgent and essential tasks for Africa. A society impoverished by armed conflict remains in a precarious state. It stands at a crossroads between peace and national rebirth, on the one hand, and a return to armed conflict, on the other. Under such circumstances, promoting human security enables such a society to move toward peace and robust national reconstruction. Japan, advocating the importance of promoting human security, is firmly committed to providing assistance through such channels as the Trust Fund for Human Security, in order to promote the protection and empowerment of individuals.
An effective strategy for disaster reduction is one of the key elements in attaining sustainable development. A natural disaster can wipe out in an instant the fruits of years-long development efforts. Japan is to host the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe next January and is committed to the success of the Conference.
In another critical sector, that of water and sanitation, Japan is also taking a leading role. In fact, Japan is now the largest contributor in this sector, having provided approximately one-third of the development assistance extended worldwide for drinking water and sanitation in the last three years. Japan’s former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto currently chairs the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation. Japan intends to continue its active engagement in this field.
Terrorist activities show no sign of ceasing. Acts of terror continue to claim innocent lives, including those of children. Japan strongly condemns these atrocious acts and acutely feels the necessity of further strengthening international cooperation aimed at deterring such violence. We continue to support the activities of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee and offer our full cooperation.
The realization of justice and the rule of law is a fundamental element of a stable society. It is also a necessary means to deter the recurrence of violent conflict. The importance of ownership should be emphasized in this area as well. Each country has the primary responsibility of establishing justice and the rule of law within its own borders. The United Nations, when it extends assistance in this field, should honor the ownership of the recipient countries and give due consideration to the support to and participation of the people.
Japan welcomes the fact that Cambodia’s National Assembly has approved the agreement with the United Nations with regard to the Khmer Rouge Trials. We expect that the further necessary steps be taken for its prompt ratification. We also sincerely hope that the United Nations will make the necessary preparations with all due haste. Japan, having played the central role in supporting Cambodia’s efforts to carry out the Trials, urges the Member States to make an active contribution to the process with a view to an early realization of the Trials.
Through our experience in ad hoc tribunals, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), we have learned that the administrative organizations of such tribunals financed through assessed contributions can grow far bigger than is necessary. That being the case, we need to identify the most efficient and effective form of organization for international tribunals.
Japan is increasingly concerned about the rapid expansion of the UN regular budget as well as the PKO budget. In order to earn the support of our taxpayers, the UN must be always mindful of the need to demonstrate that it is committed to utilizing the limited resources properly and with the utmost efficiency.
I would also like to touch upon some aspects of the management of our Organization. Japan considers that the scale of assessments for Member States needs to be more balanced. Another point I would like to emphasize is that we are still a long way from realizing equitable geographical representation with regard to the nationalities of the staff in the UN Secretariat. The current condition of severe under-representation must be redressed as a matter of priority.
As the Secretary-General’s Report suggests, the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations will provide us with a good opportunity for fresh thinking about the problems of our world and how the UN can address them. In this context, I am pleased to note that the work of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change seems to be progressing as scheduled. It is our strong hope that their report will contain a number of inspiring ideas for our reflection. In our view, one of our vital tasks in this session is to duly follow up the report of the Panel. We need to create "A New United Nations for the New Era," as multilateral framework that will enable us to cope with new threats and challenges more effectively.