Mr. Jiro Kodera
Delegation of Japan
On Agenda Item 33: Questions Relating to Information
Sixtieth Session of the General Assembly
14 October 2005
On behalf of my Delegation, I wish to thank Mr. Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary for Communications and Public Information, for his comprehensive and valuable explanation on the Secretary-General’s Report. I would also like to take this occasion to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, and other members of the Bureau, on your election.
At the Summit Meeting held in September, the Outcome Document was adopted to strengthen the United Nations and to implement reform of the Organization. H.E. Mr. Nobutaka Machimura, Foreign Minister of Japan, stated in the General Debate, “ Japan needs an effective and efficient UN and strongly endorses the Outcome Document of the Summit .” The reform of the United Nations is the most important issue and, in that light, we recognize that the Department of Public Information has taken the lead in striving for reform. Japan highly appreciates its actions and initiatives achieved under the leadership of Mr. Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.
Japan strongly believes that, in order to give meaning to United Nations reform, it is important that concrete results be produced in the area of the Secretariat and management reform. From that point of view, we hope the efforts for reforming the Department of Public Information will continue to yield substantive results.
As you are aware, the Independent Inquiry Committee on the Oil-For-Food Programme issued its final report on United Nations involvement last month. In this report, while providing a positive assessment of the Oil-For-Food Programme in securing humanitarian assistance needed for Iraq under the sanctions, the Committee asked critical questions about the management and oversight capabilities of the United Nations. With the world media watching, this misconduct and corruption within the United Nations had the inevitable effect of undermining the credibility of the UN in the eyes of the world.
The GA resolution of 13 February 1946 which established the Department of Public Information states that “the activities of the Department should be so organized and directed as to promote to the greatest possible extent an informed understanding of the work and purposes of the United Nations among the peoples of the world.” The Secretary-General also stated in a recent report that “the mission of the Department of Public Information is to help fulfill the substantive purposes of the United Nations by strategically communicating its activities and concerns.” There is no better time than now to take the required steps to fully restore the credibility of the United Nations with the international community, and all such efforts for UN reform and any outcomes to this effect should be presented as part of our outreach efforts to the world at large in, as indicated in the draft resolution B, “United Nations public information policies and activities, an “accurate, impartial, comprehensive and timely” manner. We strongly hope that the Department will continue to devote its efforts to achieving this goal.
My government is making a great effort to ensure that UNIC Tokyo will not absorb a large proportion of the Department’s resources, contributing as much as 350,000 dollars in assistance for the Centre’s activities in 2005. Allow me to point out that this represents an increase of more than 70% over a three-year period. The year 2006 will mark the 50 th Anniversary of Japan’s entry into the United Nations. We believe that it is of vital importance to take this opportunity to enhance people’s interest in the responsibilities and activities of the United Nations. In this regard, the role of UNIC Tokyo, which is the only centre from which the United Nations issues information in the Japanese language, will continue to play an important role, and Japan will continue to support its work.
Allow me at this point to announce that the Government of Japan donated more than 30,000 digitized documents to the United Nations in July this year. These digitized files, stored on 38 CDs, contain documents of the United Nations’ three main bodies, the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, dating from the 1970’s and 1980’s. At the handover ceremony held at the Dag Hammarskjold Library, Mr. Tharoor described the library as “moving from a collection-based resource, to a connection based resource.” Japan highly appreciates that the Department has been developing programmes through which it can reach out to the world more efficiently by utilizing new technologies and enriching the functions of its libraries. It will be an honor for Japan if, by the handover of these digitized files, it has been able to contribute in some small way to the achievement of that goal.
As you know, the “EXPO 2005 Aiichi , Japan ” was held with the theme of “Nature’s Wisdom” beginning in March 2005 and closing on 25 September, after running for 185 days. I am pleased to report to you that over 22 million people, many more than we had originally anticipated, came to visit the expo. In that connection, I would also like to express our appreciation to the United Nations for setting up the Consultative Group for Expo 2005 within the UN and vigorously striving to help make this expo a great success. At the UN Pavilion, issues related to health and HIV/AIDS were discussed, among other important international issues, and many activities were held to address those issues and the UN’s role in tackling them. We are aware that UNIC Tokyo also played an important role in publicizing the UN’s participation in the 2005 Expo.
Japan reiterates its determination to continue to work in cooperation with the United Nations and its Member States to strengthen and improve United Nations public information activities.