Statement by Minister Shinsuke Shimizu
Delegation of Japan
On Agenda Item 55: Questions relating to Information
Sixty-eighth Session of the United Nations General Assembly
17 October 2013
At the outset, let me express my gratitude to the Secretary General for his reports on the activities of the Department of Public Information A/AC.198/2013/2, A/AC.198/2013/3, A/AC.198/2013/4, and A/68/315 and commend the excellent work being carried out by the Department of Public Information (DPI) under the leadership of Under-Secretary-General Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal. As DPI comprehensively covers all the United Nations main and priority activities, including rule of law, human rights, the post-2015 development agenda, climate change, international peace and security, and Security Council Reform, their services to the media and civil society as well as outreach activities, especially through the work of the United Nations Information Centres (UNICs), are highly appreciated.
In addition, Japan wishes to acknowledge the continuing efforts at DPI to enhance effectiveness and rationalize its operations.
In August of this year, the Secretary General appointed Ms. Kaoru Nemoto as Director of UNIC Tokyo. Ms. Nemoto brings a wealth of impressive and diverse experience to the position, with more than 26 years in the fields of journalism, communication and public relations, as well as a long and distinguished career of service in the United Nations. The Government of Japan sincerely appreciates and supports the Secretary General’s appointment of Ms. Nemoto, and will make every effort to extend her full cooperation as she guides UNIC Tokyo in its role as the disseminator of critical information about the United Nations throughout Japan. In support of UNIC Tokyo, earlier this year the Government of Japan made a voluntary contribution in the amount of Yen 22,123,000 (approximately $220,000).
Furthermore, I would like to mention that the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) was held in June 2013. Japan highly appreciates the valuable participation of H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in this conference. In his keynote address, the Secretary General praised TICAD V as “a call to action” in step with the goals of the UN, and also discussed the UN’s contributions and commitment to building a more climate and disaster resilient Africa. The conference successfully concluded with the adoption of the “Yokohama Declaration 2013” and the “Yokohama Action Plan 2013-2017,” which present a future direction for African development and outline specific measures to be taken under the TICAD Process, respectively. Co-chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the African Union, the conference was a great success, and turned out to be the largest international conference ever hosted by Japan, with over 4,500 participants.
In observation of the International Day of Peace on 21 September, the Japanese delegation partook in the Peace Bell Ceremony here at UN Headquarters. The ringing of the Peace Bell, which was donated by the United Nations Association of Japan in 1954, has become an annual tradition, and precludes the start of the UN General Assembly. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to DPI for its determined efforts to successfully promote and hold the Peace Bell Ceremony every September, during what is undoubtedly the busiest time of year for the UN.
As mentioned by the Under-Secretary-General in yesterday’s address to this Committee, in May of 2012 the General Assembly Hall was used as a filming location for the Japanese film The Human Trust. The film, which recently opened in Japan, has received a great deal of press attention, and stands as one example of DPI’s commitment to UN collaboration and outreach through new mediums like film and television. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to DPI for allowing The Human Trust to be filmed in the General Assembly Hall.
As the United Nations faces a multitude of new challenges with increasingly limited resources, Japan believes that it is necessary for the United Nations to improve efficiency and transparency through the rationalization of current resources. In this regard, Japan values the instrumental role that partnerships play in sustaining the effective and timely sharing of information for tangible results, not only to the general public, but also within the political arena.
Consistent with the Secretary General’s report on the work of the Organization, over the past year we have focused on enhancing our use of social media platforms. These cost effective tools have helped Japan to expand its reach, as well as to facilitate and improve information–sharing, collaboration and internal communications. We continue to encourage and support the expansion of DPI’s use of social media platforms, and look forward to receiving further updates from the Secretariat on developments in this field.
Japan regards DPI as the main organ charged with advocating the work of the United Nations. Therefore, Japan calls on DPI to continue utilizing strategic operations to improve the efficiency and transparency of its activities. In closing, I wish to reaffirm Japan’s strong support for the Department of Public Information.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.