2004 Statement


Ms. Akiko Tejima

Delegation of Japan

Follow-up to to the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly Forty-second Session
Commission for Social Development

6 February 2004

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the delegation of Japan, to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election and also to express my gratitude to the entire Bureau and the Secretariat for the preparations for this session of the Commission. We have full confidence in your leadership and stand ready to cooperate with you throughout the session.

Mr. Chairman,

 We believe that, the ultimate goal of social development is to realize a society in which each and every person, although living under different circumstances, can live a healthy and active life.

The Government of Japan wishes to reaffirm its strong determination to address social issues. The Prime Minister has stressed that it is incumbent on the nation to provide assurance to people regarding the quality of the lives they live in the future. As in many countries, demographic change requires making changes in our pension, medical care, and insurance systems. The Government of Japan will carry out several reforms in order to create a social security system in which the young and older generations support each other, with the aim of realizing a society where people can live with peace of mind.

Mr. Chairman,

It goes without saying that improving public sector effectiveness is indispensable to successful implementation of social development, especially taking into consideration the limited availability of resources. The Government of Japan concurs with some of the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General on improving public sector effectiveness, including the consideration of such steps as decentralization, public-private partnerships, and privatization. In fact, promoting decentralization and privatization has been the key to many of our policy reforms in Japan, and we are interested in applying these notions to the field of social development.

With regard to the methods of work of the Commission for Social Development, the delegation of Japan takes note of the report on the Secretary-General's review. My delegation has also previously indicated that the discussions in this Commission should be more action-oriented, as opposed to abstract and generalized. We hope that, the recommendations contained in the report will facilitate increasing the efficiency of the Commission's work and create a more dynamic format.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation would like now to touch upon the issues of disability and ageing, to which the Government of Japan attaches great importance.

Concerning the issue of ageing, Japan is one of those countries whose population is ageing with unprecedented speed. It is anticipated that the percentage of the population over 65 in Japan will reach 26.0 percent in 2015 and 35.7 percent in 2050. We are, of course, grateful that the people in our country enjoy the longest life expectancy in the world, exceeding 80 years; however, the reality of an ageing society also presents serious challenges. In addition to revising its socio-economic system, the Government of Japan has been making cross-cutting efforts to promote independence and self-reliance on the part of older persons and has established policies regarding the employment, income, health, and welfare of older persons. We believe that our efforts to improve the quality of life of older persons should be recognized as an example of implementing the goals of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. My delegation looks forward to sharing our experiences in this field with the international community.

Regarding the issue of disabled persons, the Government of Japan is committed to facilitating a barrier-free society, including not only in buildings and public transportation but also in systems and public awareness, and promoting education and heightened consciousness of human rights in order to realize a society where everyone respects each other's personality and individuality. Based on these national efforts and experiences regarding the issue of persons with disabilities, Japan has been extending its commitment in this field both regionally and internationally. My delegation recognizes that significant progress has been made toward a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Japan participated constructively in the Meeting of the Working Group to prepare a base for the draft text of the convention this January, and we had intensive, straightforward, and worthwhile interactions there. My Government is pleased with the results of the meeting and will continue to contribute to this process.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the delegation of Japan wishes to reiterate that we are all in pursuit of better lives for the people of the world, and it sincerely hopes that this Commission will continue to make an important contribution to progress in social development for that purpose.

Thank you very much.