H.E. Mr. Junichiro Koizumi
Prime Minister of Japan
At the Fifty-seventh Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
13 September 2002
ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to congratulate His Excellency Mr. Jan Kavan on his assumption of the Presidency of the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly. At the same time, I pay high tribute to His Excellency Doctor Han Seung-soo, former President of the General Assembly, for his leadership.
I am pleased on this occasion to congratulate Switzerland on becoming a UN Member State. My congratulations also go to the Democratic Republic of East Timor, which declared its independence on May 20th. Japan heartily supports its admission to the membership of the United Nations.
The Peace Bell in the garden of United Nations headquarters was presented to the United Nations in 1954 by Japanese people with a prayer for world peace. It has been rung every year for world peace. The beautiful sound of the bell, which was made from coins collected from all over the world, reminds us of what the United Nations represents.
In order to ensure world peace and prosperity, we need to harmonize a range of efforts which encompass not only military measures but also initiatives for the solution of poverty problems and the establishment of social infrastructures that will put an end to human rights violations. The United Nations should be a forum where the contributions of each and every state are consolidated and implemented in the most efficient manner. No single state or organization can accomplish this. Only the United Nations is capable of carrying out such a lofty task.
In this connection, I would like to refer to the issue of Iraq, which is of grave concern to the international community. Iraq must comply with all the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. In particular, Iraq must allow immediate and unconditional inspections and dispose of all weapons of mass destruction. It is important for the international community to continue to work together, and to engage more strenuously in diplomatic efforts through the United Nations. In doing so, we must pursue the adoption of necessary and appropriate Security Council resolutions as soon as possible.
Terrorism remains a critical issue this year. Today, in addition to terrorism, I would like to take up other major challenges which the United Nations must address, and to describe Japan's contributions in those areas, namely, the consolidation of peace and nation-building, the environment and development, and nuclear disarmament. I will also touch upon my ideas for the realization of United Nations reform, which is essential in order for this Organization to tackle these challenges successfully.
The first challenge is the fight against terrorism. Just after the terrorist attacks on September 11, I visited Ground Zero. Seeing with my own eyes the magnitude of the destruction, I was speechless at the enormity of the terrorist attack. September 11 is a challenge not only to the United States but also to all humankind. The prevention and eradication of terrorism is an important task for the United Nations and, indeed, for all Member States.
Japan calls upon all States to conclude international conventions related to terrorism. It is important to develop international norms in this area, such as the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. Safe havens for terrorists cannot be allowed. Japan will further strengthen its domestic counter-terrorism measures. Consulting closely with the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council, it will share its knowledge and expertise in counter-terrorism measures with those states that are in need of it. Japan will respond to threats where weapons of mass destruction might be used in acts of terrorism by actively joining the efforts of the international community to prevent the proliferation of these weapons.
The second challenge is the consolidation of peace and nation-building. Japan attaches great importance to extending post-conflict assistance for the consolidation of peace and nation-building to prevent the recurrence of conflicts. Having developed a mechanism to enable it to cooperate effectively in broader areas, Japan has entered a new stage in its cooperation with peacekeeping operations. This positive posture is manifested in its deployment since February of six hundred and ninety Self-Defense Force personnel, mainly as an engineer group, to the PKO in East Timor. Japan will enhance its cooperation in other areas as well, such as demining, rehabilitation of infrastructure, elections and the establishment of systems for internal security.
Concerning Afghanistan, at the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan held in Tokyo in January, Japan strived to solidify the resolve of the international community. We are now preparing a program for assisting the demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, which will give form to our proposed "Register for Peace." My country is also contributing to regional reconstruction by developing an assistance project for the resettlement of refugees and displaced people in such areas as Kandahar.
In the Middle East, it is crucial that the vision of the peaceful coexistence of Israel and an independent Palestinian state be materialized as early as possible. Japan will assist the reform of the Palestinian Authority which is aimed at establishing a new state by the Palestinian people. We will do so particularly by providing technical assistance for democratization. Elections by the Palestinians are the first step toward nation-building, and I believe that the international community should extend assistance to ensure their success. However, putting an end to the vicious circle of violence remains our most urgent task. Japan resolutely condemns terrorist acts by Palestinian extremists, and strongly urges Israel to immediately withdraw its troops to the line of September 2000, halt its military operations, and lift the economic closures in the autonomous areas.
In Africa, peace and stability are prerequisites for development. We are encouraged by the positive movements in that continent, such as the realization of peace in Angola and a partial cease-fire in Sudan. Japan will actively support the efforts of African states for conflict resolution and the consolidation of peace.
The third challenge is the simultaneous achievement of environmental protection and development. Toward that end, it is of course important to utilize all available financial resources and to develop human resources, which are the engine of nation-building. However, "ownership" by developing countries and their "partnership" with the international community which supports their ownership are also essential. In this respect, we welcome the development of the "New Partnership for Africa's Development" and the establishment of the African Union as manifestations of the ownership by African countries. In order to help strengthen both the ownership by Africa and the partnership with the international community, and building on the results of the successful World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, Japan will convene the third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD III) in October 2003. Also in pursuit of sustainable development, it will host the International Ministerial-level Conference on Water in Kyoto in March 2003. Japan will continue to actively participate in worldwide actions for environmental protection and development by providing expertise and taking concrete actions.
In the fourth place, I would like to touch upon the nuclear disarmament issue. I believe that Japan, as the only country in human history to have suffered nuclear devastation, has a significant role to play in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Japan will continue its efforts to realize a peaceful and safe world free of nuclear weapons as early as possible. Toward that end, we will propose a draft resolution titled "A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons" at this session of the General Assembly, and will redouble our efforts to achieve the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
When addressing these challenges, we must ensure that the variety of measures taken by Member States are effectively coordinated. The United Nations must exercise its leadership in this endeavor. We, all Member States, must breathe new life into the United Nations by strengthening its functions through reforms.
Next year, the debate on Security Council reform will enter its tenth year. I believe that we should now focus our discussion on such questions as the number of seats on the enlarged Security Council. Japan intends to work hard toward that end. In this connection, I would remind all Member States of the question of the enemy state clauses, meaningless legacies of the 20th century, remaining in the United Nations Charter.
Since assuming office as Prime Minister in April 2001, I have proceeded with a series of reforms to enable Japan to respond appropriately to the new era. The United Nations also must continue to reform itself to respond to new situations in the world by constantly reviewing its organization and functions. The prescription for reform is already shown in the Millennium Declaration. In order to achieve the goals contained in the Declaration and build a more peaceful, prosperous and just world, every Member State should renew its determination to accomplish United Nations reform, and take actions toward that end. Japan will make utmost efforts to ensure that the United Nations is able to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Thank you very much.