Statement by Minister Takahiro Nakamae
Delegation of Japan
On Agenda Item 55: Questions relating to Information
Sixty-sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly
19 October 2011
At the outset, let me express my gratitude to the Secretary-General for his report “Questions relating to information”(A/66/261), and commend the excellent work being carried out by the Department of Public Information (DPI) under the leadership of Under-Secretary-General Kiyo Akasaka. DPI is comprehensively covering the main and priority activities of the United Nations, including the Millennium Development Goals, sustainable development, climate change, international peace and security, and human rights. The services by United Nations information centres (UNICs) and DPI to the media and civil society and its outreach activities are also highly appreciated.
In addition, Japan wishes to acknowledge the efforts under way at DPI to enhance effectiveness and rationalize its operations.
Today, I would like to focus on two issues: one is the impact that the Secretary-General’s visit to Japan gave to the global public opinion; the other being some comments on the utilization of so called “new media.”
During the first half of the year 2011, which is covered by the Secretary-General’s report, Japan experienced a number of unprecedented disasters.
In this context, I would particularly like to mention the most recent visit of H. E. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Japan from the 7th to 9th of August. In addition to his meetings with the then Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, the Secretary-General visited Fukushima and exchanged views on the situation of the affected areas and the efforts towards rehabilitation and restoration with leaders of regional authorities. The Secretary-General also visited an evacuation centre to show his support and solidarity to the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The Secretary-General’s trip to Japan and the demonstration of his earnest resolve to support our country following the devastation had an invaluable impact to enhance solidarity in the international community. And Japan reiterates its appreciation for this.
Japan highly appreciates DPI’s efforts to engage itself in activities through so called “new media.”
The social networking service and other new media are proved to have direct access to the emotional part of the public opinion, and that on a global scale. Recently we have renewed this perception by witnessing the unprecedented impact to the people in occasions such as the Arab Spring. As the Report points out, this was also true in the case of the great earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
In this regard, I would like to raise a couple of points to take into account:
First, the “new media” stands without a medium of interpretation or synthesizing. The information or the idea of the emitter reaches directly to the viewers. Therefore, in transmitting information through these media, the management of the departments at Headquarters should be fully involved and committed to the contents.
Second, the responses from the viewers come quick and directly. There is a need for preparedness for this.
Third, given the characteristics of the new media being as such, using the new media is easy at first sight but potentially resource-consuming. In this regard, the challenge is the current budgetary circumstance. Enhancement of new media therefore has to be considered in tandem with the rationalization of conventional means, thus making an adequate resource shift possible.
Japan regards DPI as the organ charged with advocating the work of the United Nations. Therefore, Japan calls on DPI to continue to utilize strategic operations and to enhance the efficiency and transparency of its activities.
In closing, I wish to reaffirm Japan’s determination to continue its support for the Department of Public Information.
Thank you, Madame Chair.