Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
and Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan
At the High-level Meeting on Youth
Sixty-Fifth Session of the General Assembly
26 July 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank His Excellency Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the UN General Assembly, for his initiative in convening this meeting.
At the outset, I would like to express Japan’s deep condolences and sympathy to the government and people of Norway, as well as the families of the victims of last Friday’s bombing and shooting, which deprived many young people of their precious lives.
The Earthquake and tsunami which struck East Japan in March caused enormous human and material losses. Let me reiterate our gratitude to all the assistance and solidarity of the international community. I would like to take this opportunity to report the encouraging fact that a lot of young people have volunteered to help in the reconstruction of their devastated communities.
Today’s youth are our future. They will be expected to solve the challenges we leave unmet. Therefore, we are responsible for addressing the challenges youth face today and for improving conditions for future generations.
Now, I hope you will allow me to speak about some of the challenges youth face today as well as the issues to be addressed by the international community.
First, we reaffirm the World Programme of Action for Youth. We stress the necessity of implementing the Programme as well as achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.
Second, we believe that we must increase the participation of young people in society. At the international level, the Government of Japan has been implementing several exchange programmes, including multinational activities like study-abroad at sea programmes and bilateral activities such as home-stay and international discussion programmes, which allow young people from various countries and the youth of Japan to meet, live and work together; thus enhancing the mutual understanding between the youth of Japan and the global community. At the national level, Japan has created opportunities for our youth to participate in volunteer activities within their communities.
Third, eradicating poverty is a priority issue of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). Young people in particular are affected by poverty; and we especially recognize the vulnerability of girls and young women. In this context, I stress the importance of addressing the issue of youth unemployment, which is not only crucial for peace-building and development, but also for maintaining social stability in every country in the world. As we have observed in the recent developments in the so-called Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa, we should remind ourselves that employment provides a sense of security and pride, allowing a young person to begin his or her life as a full-fledged member of society. Mindful of our responsibility to ensure employment for all youth around the world, we in Japan support human and social development as well as increased employment and sustainable economic growth in developing countries. The basic policy of Japan’s ODA emphasizes human security for every individual. Japan therefore contributes aid, both bilaterally and through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security.
In conclusion, my delegation would like to thank the Co-facilitators for their perseverance in coordinating the outcome document for this meeting.