Remarks by Mr. Naoto Hisajima,
Minister, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the World Down Syndrome Day Conference
21 March 2014
Ladies and gentlemen,
As our Permanent Representative is out of town, let me give a few words representing the Japanese Mission to the United Nations.
It is my great honor to make a statement as a co-sponsor of today’s event in recognition of the World Down Syndrome Day. It is truly inspiring that so many events celebrating this day are being held all around the world.
In Japan, the World Down Syndrome Day event entitled “Step Forward Together” was held earlier today by the Japan Down syndrome Society. We celebrated it with music by Japanese musicians including those with Down syndrome, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and the Ministry of Education.
Last year Japan co-sponsored the event of the World Down Syndrome Day in the UN for the first time. I was greatly impressed by some young people with Down syndrome, including one Japanese youth, who presented their own views and experiences with confidence. We are also encouraged by those who have built independent lives. In order for people with Down syndrome to gain independence, ‘health and well-being’, the themes of this year’s event, are indispensable.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities now has  States Parties. Japan ratified the Convention on 20 January this year. Leading up to the ratification, my Government enacted a new law and also amended two relevant laws, taking into account the voices of persons with disabilities and their organizations. We are looking forward to joining the Conference of States Parties of the Convention to be held in June, now as a State Party.
We expect today’s event to further raise awareness of Down syndrome and to serve as an opportunity to share good practices and hear directly from persons with Down syndrome and experts.
Thank you very much.