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Statement by Minister Yasushi Takase
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Agenda item 27: Assistance in mine action
Sixtieth Session of the General Assembly
27 October 2005
The First Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention held in Kenya in 2004 was the most significant event since the treaty became international law on 1 March 1999 . It made it clear that much progress had been made but that there were still many challenges ahead and they would require a major commitment by States Parties, international organizations and civil society. I think that the next five years will be even more important than the last five years if we are to ensure that the Five-Year Action Plan adopted at the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World, is steadily implemented.
At the Review Conference, Japan announced its new policy on anti-personnel mines, which places emphasis on the Middle East , Asia and Africa and includes the following three principles:
The first principle is consolidation of peace. Japan has been supporting mine action as a way to consolidate post-conflict peace and, with this in mind, it has been providing particular assistance to countries in the wake of conflict. Japan provided support of 800 million yen (US $7.3 million) to Sudan , for example, after the agreement on a comprehensive peace between the North and the South was successfully concluded in January 2005. It did so by financing through the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), mainly in the field of mine clearance and emergency mine action response.
The second principle is human security. Japan attaches importance to victim assistance and mine risk education with a view to protecting and empowering people, as these are pivotal concepts underlying human security. Japan established a Trust Fund for Human Security in the United Nations in March 1999.
The last principle is close cooperation between governments, NGOs, the private sector and academia. In Japan , several Ministries, each with its own strengths in this field, are involved in mine action, for example, by funding the development and improvement of the existing technologies by Japanese companies and by funding research and development of advanced technologies for mine detection by Japanese researchers.
In this connection, Japan has supported research and overseas field tests through grant aid for scholarship and research. For example, it recently finished a field evaluation test in Afghanistan of demining machines that meet the environmental conditions of that country.
What is important for the future is to apply Japan ’s technological expertise to the development of more effective equipment for the detection and clearance of mines, in cooperation with end-users, private companies and researchers. We expect the new technologies will enhance the good work being done in the field.
It is also important to note the roles of NGOs and international organizations in assistance in mine action. In this regard, the Government of Japan will continue to carry out mine action activities by increasing dialogue and coordination with NGOs as well as supporting their activities through grants and subsidies. For example, Japan provided assistance to the project for supporting humanitarian mine action in Cambodia and mine clearance project in Sri Lanka through the grant aid for grassroots human security projects.
Since it announced its new policy on Anti-personnel Mines in December 2004, Japan has provided roughly 27.5 million dollars in assistance to 32 projects on mine clearance, victim assistance, and mine risk education. We would like to continue to provide such assistance in order to achieve the objectives of the Zero Victims Program.
Japan takes account of the need to integrate mine action into its development program, strategy and budget. Mine action is a multi-faceted issue involving human security and development. Therefore, it requires a comprehensive and flexible approach. A mainstreaming approach would benefit both donors and mine-affected countries increasing opportunity to approach and consult with possible donors, including regional and international organizations.
I would like to conclude my statement by reaffirming the determination of the Government of Japan to continue its endeavors, in collaboration with civil society and the international community, to achieve the objectives of the Zero Victims Program and thus make our world a safer place for us all.
I thank you very much.