Statement by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
On Agenda Item 110
Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization
At the 66th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
4 October 2011
First of all, I would like to begin by congratulating His Excellency Mr. Al-Nasser on his assumption of duties as President of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Japan highly expects his strong leadership during the current session and reaffirms its commitment to contribute to his works.
Let me also convey to His Excellency Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Japan’s deep appreciation for his tireless efforts in guiding the diverse activities of the United Nations and for his latest report on the work of the Organization, No. A/66/1.
As the Secretary-General mentioned several times in his report, this has been a year of extraordinary challenges for Japan. Six months have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Approximately 20,000 people were killed or remain missing, and nearly 40,000 evacuees continue to cope with significant inconvenience in their daily lives. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the international community showed its strong sense of friendship and solidarity with the Japanese people as well as admiration for their cooperative spirit. In his address at the recent General Debate of the General Assembly, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, expressed his sincere gratitude on behalf of the people of Japan for the helping hands extended from all over the world.
Following the events of 11 March, a strong recovery effort has been under way throughout the Tohoku region of Japan. The Government of Japan has been utilizing all its resources to restore and reconstruct the disaster-affected areas. For those outside the affected areas, including the metropolitan area of Tokyo, daily life has almost returned to the previous situation. The work to restore the infrastructure and economy of the coastal areas of Tohoku, which were swept away by the tsunami, has been advancing at a rapid pace.
Japan has also been engaged in a determined and intensive effort to ensure stable control of the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Stations of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, with the aim of moving up the existing target period to achieve cold shutdown status by the end of the current year. Although some countries, regrettably, are still imposing undue restrictions on imports from Japan, our government will continue to provide prompt and accurate information on this matter, with maximum transparency. I would request that all countries make sound judgments based upon scientific evidence. We will focus more on the efforts for restoration and reconstruction, which we regard as our highest priority, to make a full recovery of Japan without delay.
Among the multitude of challenges confronting the United Nations as presented in the report of the Secretary-General, foremost is the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In order to achieve the MDGs by the target date of 2015, the global community must demonstrate clear political will, and work together with all stakeholders to accelerate its efforts to deliver concrete results in the remaining period of about one thousand days. For Japan’s part, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, in the aforementioned address, reiterated Japan’s unshaken commitment to the MDGs, focusing in particular on health and education.
As is widely recognized, poverty reduction efforts, however well implemented, will not suffice to ensure the achievement of the MDGs. Many of those around the world identified as the bottom billion poor are the victims of ongoing conflict or are struggling to survive in a fragile post-conflict situation. Recent studies have shown us that, within ten years after the end of a conflict, fully 50 percent of post-conflict countries relapse into hostilities.
We must dedicate ourselves to disrupting this vicious circle of conflict and poverty. To that end, there are two critical factors that must be addressed with strength of purpose and consistency. First, immediately upon the resolution of a conflict, strong efforts should be made for the quick delivery of a peace dividend discernible to the people as tangible improvements in their daily lives. Second, the positive momentum of such improvements should be maintained and given further impetus through urgent measures to enhance social and economic stability.
In this undertaking, no international body is better prepared to take an active role than the Peacebuilding Commission. The PBC has the mandate to promote such an integrated strategy and to fill some of the most conspicuous gaps. Japan continues to work to support and advance the seamless approach to peacebuilding.
As for human security, a significant step forward in this regard was the adoption of the resolution entitled “Follow-up to paragraph 143 on human security of the 2005 World Summit Outcome”(A/RES/64/291) in July 2010. Based on this resolution, a report of the Secretary-General will be issued during this 66th Session, and it is Japan’s hope that we will discuss this important subject in the General Assembly.
Gender equality and the empowerment of women are actively being integrated into the work of the United Nations. The establishment last year of UN Women, which will further advance the United Nations commitment to gender mainstreaming, was a welcome step forward. Japan, as a member of its Executive Board, continues to be resolved to make an active contribution to gender-related activities, to ensure that UN Women will bring about concrete results by strengthening its leadership and coordination role. From the broader perspective, we view the current momentum as an opportunity to renew our commitment to promoting the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment in Japan as well as in the international community at large.
United Nations peacekeeping operations represent the realization of the most fundamental principles of the Organization and remain its primary focus. As Prime Minister Noda expressed in the aforementioned address, Japan is eager to make contributions to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) in the fields in which Japan excels. This includes dispatch of Japan Self-Defense Forces personnel to Mission Headquarters as staff officers and possibly sending an SDF engineering unit after necessary field study .
Given the unprecedented challenges posed by current UN peacekeeping activities, in particular with regard to the capacity of Member States to contribute and the increasing complexity of mission mandates, it is critical that all concerned organs, including the General Assembly, the Security Council, Member States and the Secretariat, make a strong effort to enhance their mutual cooperation. There is a pressing need for measures to ensure that peacekeeping operations will have straightforward and achievable mandates, efficient and effective management, and resources adequate to the task at hand.
The United Nations must also play a proactive role in the Middle East Peace Process. Japan fully understands the earnest aspiration of Palestinians to build their own nation, and it strongly hopes immediate resumption of direct negotiations between the parties. Japan calls on all concerned to refrain from any provocative actions which may impede the peace process. In this regard, a complete freezing of settlement activities is essential. Japan is committed to continuously contributing to the efforts by the international community for the realization of a two-State solution.
As regards a new Libya, it is essential that the international community provide seamless support, from emergency humanitarian assistance to that of democratization and reconstruction. In this context, Japan commends the leadership by the United Nations in coordinating international assistance. Japan will support the country’s nation-building efforts in cooperation with the international community, utilizing its expertise and technological capacity. In this regard, Japan decided the provision of $2 million contribution through ICRC and initial release of Libyan frozen assets of up to $1.5 billion.
In our efforts to promote global peace and security, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation is a primary goal for all nations including Japan. It is for that reason that Japan will again this year submit a draft resolution calling for the united actions towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
We continue to tackle one of the most pressing challenges of our time: climate change. Our ultimate goal regarding climate change is an expeditious adoption of a new, single and comprehensive legal document which will establish a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate. To this end, it is important to make progress at the up-coming COP17 in Durban, and Japan will actively contribute to this discussion, in collaboration with other countries and the United Nations.
Japan will also steadily implement its fast-start finance for developing countries, particularly those most vulnerable countries to climate change up to 2012. International support should be seamlessly implemented beyond 2012, and Japan will continue to contribute actively, including through the early establishment of the Green Climate Fund. Japan believes that a “transition to a green economy” is an effective and appropriate approach to achieve sustainable development. In this regard, Rio+20, which will be held in June next year, should provide the opportunity for the international community to express its determination to make a transition to green economy as well as promote concrete policies of individual country which aim to achieve a green economy.
In the area of human rights, the year 2011 has been dedicated to a review of the role and functions of the Human Rights Council, at this critical juncture in its development. Japan remains committed to the active role it has been playing in the discussions in the General Assembly, the Third Committee and the Human Rights Council. The work and functions of the Human Rights Council should be continuously reviewed in the future. Through our collective efforts in these and other relevant fora, we can make further progress in the promotion and protection of human rights.
Efforts have been ongoing for the comprehensive reform of the United Nations. Such reform cannot be considered a success without the achievement of substantive Security Council reform. The intergovernmental negotiations held during the 65th session of the General Assembly gave increased momentum to this endeavor, and it is our expectation that we will undertake, with a renewed sense of urgency and purpose, international negotiations based on General Assembly decision 65/554.
We must accelerate the stagnated reform process. All Member States must proactively commit to the reform with a great sense of urgency. To that end, Mr. President, we are counting on your keen awareness of the need for early reform of the Security Council and your outstanding leadership to bring the process forward in a transparent manner, in order to achieve a concrete outcome during the current session.
As we conduct our annual review of the work of the Organization, let us continue to be mindful of the importance of our efforts to ensure transparent, accountable and efficient management of the United Nations, under the dedicated guidance of the Secretary-General.
The intractable stagnation of the current world economy has adversely affected the financial situations of Member States. Under such conditions, there is no room for continuous expansion of the Organization’s regular and peacekeeping budgets. Rationalization of the Secretariat is called for, not only in the interest of achieving greater effectiveness and efficiency, but also to ensure the feasibility of fulfillment of UN mandates within the limits of the financial resources of Member States. To assist in that effort, the Secretariat should focus closely on rationalizing expenditures and seeking lower-cost strategies for the implementation of mandated activities, and redeployment of existing resources should be the first approach to addressing newly mandated funding requirements. In the forthcoming consultations of the 2012-2013 proposed programme budget and the PKO mission budgets, the utmost attention must be paid to financial discipline and cost-effectiveness. In this regard, Japan welcomes the efforts made by the Secretary-General to reduce the level of his proposed programme budget by three percent.
I close today by reaffirming once more Japan's willingness and firm commitment to the efforts towards ensuring a more effective and efficient United Nations.