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Statement by H.E. Mr. Shinichi Kitaoka
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
Item 62 (Ten-year Review of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond)
Sixtieth Session of the General Assembly
6 October 2005
Today, ten years after the adoption of the World Programme of Action for Youth in 1995, there have been significant developments in the priority areas of the World Programme, however, the current generation of young people is facing even more complex challenges than those envisaged ten years ago.
Japanese society has been undergoing a rapid transformation from a traditionally homogenous society to a more individualistic society. This has been partly caused by globalization of economy as well as the advent of information technology which resulted in an increase in usage of the Internet and cellular phones. In addition, a change in demographic structure created more single-person families and families with only one child as a result of our low birthrate and aging population. In order to promote the sound development of the young people who will lead Japan and contribute to international society in the twenty-first century, it is important to appropriately take into account today's social environment and take drastic action to that end as we formulate national youth development policy.
And while Japan has been fortunate enough to have a high educational standard, a side effect has been our falling slightly behind in its commitment to national youth development policy. In June 2003, however, the Headquarters for Youth Development, composed of all the Cabinet ministers, was set up within the Cabinet Office. In December 2003, six months later, the National Youth Development Policy which articulates both basic principles and mid- and long-term government policies, was adopted.
Taking the World Programme of Action fully into consideration,, Japan also has been adopting measures for the development of youth in order to foster human qualities such as independence, responsibility, solidarity, and tolerance, and to promote awareness of human rights and what it is to live in a global society.
While actively committing itself to the formulation and implementation of a national youth policy, Japan is also firmly engaged in international cooperation and supports youth in developing countries by providing development assistance as well as by engaging in international exchange and volunteer activities. For example, Japan has vigorously provided assistance in the field of education by building educational institutions, accepting teachers for training and dispatching experts, as well as providing educational material and classroom equipment.
In conclusion,Mr. Chairperson, the delegation of Japan wishes to reaffirm its sincere hope that the review we are conducting at this meeting will contribute further to addressing the challenges facing youth and renewing the determination of every Member State to attain the goals of the World Programme of Action for Youth. At this, the tenth anniversary of the World Programme of Action, I would like to quote from the address of the Secretary-General to the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth in 1998: "No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime. Young people must be included from birth. A society that cuts itself off from its youth severs its lifeline."
Thank you very much.