Statement by Ambassador Kenzo Oshima
Permanent Representative of Japan
At the Special Meeting of the General Assembly
On Commemoration of the Sixtieth Anniversary of the
End of the Second World War
9 May 2005
We appreciate your convening this special meeting to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Japan joins other Member States in paying tribute to all victims of the Second World War. This is a solemn occasion to reflect upon the lessons learned from this war as well as on the path of international cooperation and understanding that has been followed during the past sixty years of the life of the United Nations. It should also be an occasion for us to renew our resolve to strengthen our common efforts towards peace for the world in the 21st century.
The Leaders of many nations are gathered in a ceremony in Moscow today, embracing the spirit of “remembrance and reconciliation”, the same spirit in which this special meeting of the General Assembly has been organized. The Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi, is among the leaders attending that ceremony.
Twice in the first half of the 20th century the world went through the unspeakable horrors of war, and humankind experienced untold suffering, misery and sorrow. This must not be repeated. Mistakes made in our past history must be remembered, and we must learn from them and resolve never to allow them to happen again. Only by learning from the past can humanity make progress into the future.
Japan has made its own mistake in its recent history. Prime Minister Koizumi stated recently, on the occasion of the Asian-African Summit held in Indonesia last month:
“In the past, Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many counties, particularly to those of Asian nations. Japan squarely faces these facts of history in a spirit of humility. And with feeling of deep remorse and heartfelt apology always engraved in mind, Japan has resolutely maintained, consistently since the end of World War II, never turning to a military power but an economic power, its principle of resolving all matters by peaceful means, without recourse to use of force. Japan once again states its resolve to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world in the future as well, prizing the relationship of trust it enjoys with the nations of the world.”
In this spirit the Japanese people have strived to rebuild their nation since the end of the war as a free, democratic and peace-loving nation.
Peace treaties and the international agreements were concluded with former belligerent states, and the obligations assumed were fully and sincerely implemented. Our people worked hard to recover from the devastation to our country, to reconstruct our institutions and rebuild our industrial base. In the early phase of this national recovery, our people and our nation received generous support and assistance from the international community. We remember this and we are truly grateful for all of this.
Since becoming a member of the United Nations in 1956, Japan has made assiduous efforts to contribute to the ideals and objectives of the Organization, ranging from development, humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, to disarmament, arms control and conflict resolution, and to peacekeeping operations. This was in part giving back to the international community, but it is more a reflection of the genuine desire of my country to faithfully dedicate itself to promoting the ideals and objectives enshrined in the Charter. We are proud of this record and we will continue on this path, working together with all Member State in Asia and around the world.
The United Nations was created by a determination to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and is now embraced by all nations of the world as the universal institution, transcending diverse political, economic, geographic and historical backgrounds. Today, sixty years on from its inception, the world has changed dramatically, and this world body must modernize and reform itself accordingly, if it is to deal effectively with the problems and challenges of the 21st century.
The time of remembrance and reconciliation must also be a time of resolve to ensure that this universal organization, and the multilateralism that it embodies, will maintain the peace, stability and prosperity of the world, and serve the interests and welfare of the greatest possible numbers of humankind. Japan’s own resolve towards that end remains strong and unchanged.