H.E. MR. SHINICHI KITAOKA
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan
Item 3 (a) : Review of further implementation of the World Summit for Social and the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly
High-level plenary meeting
Commission for Social Development
11 February 2005
At the outset let me congratulate you and other members of the Bureau
on assuming your important roles leading the ten-year review of the World
Summit for Social Development. I would like to assure you of my delegation'
s full cooperation throughout the meeting.
Today, ten years after the Copenhagen Summit, it is encouraging to note that
there have been significant developments in a number of areas and the
concept of a people-centered approach has taken firm hold at different
levels of policy-making. At the same time, we must admit that we are still a
long way from fulfilling all the commitments made at the Summit, as is
pointed out in the report of the Secretary-General.
Japan's development cooperation policy is based on the idea that
development efforts require a comprehensive approach. The Government of
Japan announced its new ODA Medium-Term Policy in February 2005, which
states that Japan will contribute actively to achieving the Millennium
Development Goals in developing countries. The policy has four priorities:
poverty reduction, sustainable growth, addressing global issues, and
peace-building, while emphasizing human security as an overarching goal of
Japanese ODA. It is from this human security perspective that Japan has been
extending assistance to protect and empower people, in particular, the most
vulnerable in society, giving due consideration to regional disparities and
socioeconomic inequalities. Thus, a people-centered approach is
incorporated in our development policy and we are committed to implementing
My delegation would like to share with you our self-review and assessment
with regard to the three core issues identified at the Copenhagen Summit.
With regard to poverty reduction, we are fully aware of the mixed results
and uneven progress made in the last ten years. As the report of the
Secretary-General pointed out, Asia, and we believe especially East Asia, is
a region that has experienced remarkable economic growth and success in
reducing poverty. Japan is fully convinced, based on its own experience with
East Asian countries, that poverty reduction can be achieved by realizing
sustainable economic growth through both support for infrastructure and
human resources development, focusing on capacity-building and empowering
people. Japan also believes that the East Asian development experience can
provide a practical reference for Africa. Japan will continue to actively
promote Asia-Africa cooperation through the Tokyo International Conference
on African Development (TICAD) process.
With regard to employment, Japan has experienced a difficult situation
due to our recent economic impasse. Japan's unemployment rate hit a record
high, 5.5 percent in January 2003. Although there has been some improvement
since that time and the figure fell to 4.4 percent in December 2004, further
efforts are required. Through our struggle to overcome these difficulties in
the ten years since the Copenhagen Summit, we have realized more clearly the
importance of employment in enabling individuals to maintain their
livelihoods and dignity, and in enabling society to be decent and
prosperous. As a result, we now give priority to promoting employment for
youth and older persons. While struggling to overcome a difficult domestic
situation, Japan has been extending international cooperation in this field
focusing on vocational training, with particular attention to supporting
women and vulnerable members of society.
Finally, with regard to social integration, we would like to note that Japan
has made steady efforts to elaborate appropriate measures for older persons
and persons with disabilities, as well as to support parents in
child-rearing and promote human rights education at various levels for the
purpose of creating a society for all.
With regard to the problems of facing our rapidly aging society, Japan is
accelerating revisions of its socio-economic system, including reforming
both the pension and care insurance systems. Although there exists a gap
between the thinking of young people and older persons as regards this issue
and we realize it is difficult to proceed in a way that will satisfy
everyone, the Government of Japan is intensifying its efforts to secure the
safety and future well-being of its citizens.
With regard to the issue of persons with disabilities, the Japanese Basic
Law for Persons with Disabilities was revised last year to include an
article on the prohibition of discrimination and greater representation in
policy-making. We have also made considerable progress in promoting
accessibility in the physical environment including the areas of transport
services and access to buildings, both public and private, although we are
still a long way from realizing a real barrier-free society. Japan has also
been enhancing international cooperation in this field from the perspective
of human security and ensuring fairness, and is contributing positively to
the negotiations of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Convention on the Protection
and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities.
In conclusion, the delegation of Japan wishes to reiterate its
sincere hope that the review we conduct at this meeting will contribute
further to creating a world in which each and every person can live a
healthy and active life, which we believe is the goal of social development.
Thank you very much.