Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuyoshi Umemoto
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
On Agenda Item 111
Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization
At the 68th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
9 October 2013
First of all, I would like to begin by congratulating His Excellency Mr. John Ashe on his assumption of duties as the President of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Japan looks forward to his leadership during the current session in facing the global challenges which the General Assembly is mandated to discuss as outlined in the Charter and reaffirms its commitment to contribute to his work.
I further would like to convey to His Excellency Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Japan’s deep appreciation for his efforts in guiding the diverse activities of the United Nations and for his latest report on the work of the Organization, No. A/68/1.
Rule of Law / Human Rights
Peaceful settlement of international disputes is a fundamental principle of the international community enshrined in the United Nations Charter. My Government is firmly committed to contribute to establishing the rule of law on the international level through, inter alia, its support to international courts and tribunals as well as on the national level through its assistance to strengthen domestic legal systems and human resources in developing countries.
Furthermore, it is our strong belief that the idea of the rule of law strongly connects with the enhancement of human rights,
which is one of the three pillars of the United Nations. Japan will continue to actively contribute to international efforts under the auspices of the UN.
Japan strongly condemns the grave violations of human rights in places like Syria and in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). We support the endeavor of the United Nations, which includes the decision of the Human Rights Council to extend the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria. Japan strongly welcomed that the Council adopted by consensus the resolution on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, including the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK, and supports the activities of the Commission, as we cooperated fully with it when its members visited Japan for the investigation in August. Japan will again submit with the EU a draft resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to address the grave concern of the international community, including the abductions issue.
Peace and Security
As Prime Minister Abe stated in his statement at the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly, Japan newly bears the flag of “Proactive Contribution to Peace,” anchoring on the undeniable records and solid appraisal of our country, which has endeavored to bring peace and prosperity to the world, emphasizing cooperation with the international community.
The world’s balance of power has been changing rapidly and new types of threats have arisen because of technological innovations. It is now impossible for any one country, no matter which it may be, to safeguard its own peace and security acting entirely by itself. Japan will work to garner trust from the world as a creator of added value and a net contributor for regional and world peace and stability.
Given these circumstances, the role of the United Nations will become even more important. Maintenance of international peace and security is one of the primary tasks of the United Nations. Japan, in this regard, is fully committed to contributing to UN efforts by participating in UN PKO missions and extending assistance to affected areas. Japan is currently sending an engineering unit of approximately 330 personnel to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS). Japan is also deploying two Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers and two P-3C maritime patrol aircrafts in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, as part of international efforts to combat piracy.
Japan welcomes the work undertaken by the UN in the field of peacebuilding through the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund. We believe stronger emphasis must be placed on the linkages between peacekeeping and development operations. Japan remains committed to ensuring that peacebuilding dividends are felt on the ground through the work of UN Peacebuilding Architecture. To this end, Japan stresses the importance of further improving coordination between the relevant organizations and the donors. In addition, we also welcome the initiative by the Secretary-General to strengthen civilian capacities in post-conflict states, including through the launching of CAPMATCH last year, in which Japan takes part.
Turning to the situation in Syria, Japan profoundly deplores the deaths of over one hundred thousand innocent people. Faced with this scourge of war, the international community urgently needs to address the appalling humanitarian conditions. Japan will continue to proactively provide humanitarian assistance to refugees and to neighboring countries, which now totals, together with the additional US$60 million dollars pledged by Prime Minister Abe from this podium during the general debate, approximately US$280 million dollars.
Chemical weapons must never be used again. Japan strongly urges the Government of Syria to comply faithfully and fully with the chemical weapons elimination program set forth in Security Council resolution 2118. Japan will provide thorough support and the greatest possible cooperation towards the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons.
Now is the time for the international community to seize this window of opportunity with a view to bringing about a political solution. The successful convening of the so-called Geneva 2 conference is of utmost importance in this regard. I would like to reiterate Japan’s commitment to working together with the international community
towards an early Syrian-led political transition.
Post-2015 Development Agenda
The Special Event on the MDGs, held two weeks ago, was a great opportunity to renew our political commitment to the achievement of the MDGs, and also to lay out a clear work plan to organically integrate various related processes, with a view to working towards a single framework and set of goals.
On the post-2015 development agenda, it is essential that human security be made its guiding principle. In this connection, let me stress two points; universal health coverage (UHC) and disaster risk reduction. First, we should aim at satisfying broader health and medical needs based on a people-centred approach of attaining UHC, and supplement a disease-centred approach. Measures for vulnerable people, women in particular, are the key to realizing UHC. We will contribute to UHC-related programs through a multi-lateral approach. Second, disaster risk reduction should be mainstreamed in the post-2015 development agenda since a disaster can wipe out the hard-won achievements of years of development efforts in an instant. Having experienced numerous massive disasters, including the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of 2011, we would like to share with the world our experiences and lessons learned, as well as various new disaster reduction technologies and systems. With this in mind, we will host the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in the city of Sendai, the disaster-stricken area of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, in March 2015. I would like to ask all of you here for your cooperation for this conference.
In September of last year, the GA Resolution on the common understanding of the notion of human security was adopted. This was an important milestone for addressing widespread and cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of people. Recognizing that development, human rights, and peace and security, which are the three pillars of the United Nations, are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, Japan is determined to make further efforts to mainstream the concept of human security and build on implementing this principle.
A Society in Which Women Shine
During the General Debate in September, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared his intention to create “a society in which women shine,” “Women, Peace and Security” is one of three policy priorities of the Japanese Government. Japan is determined to redouble its efforts towards the participation of women at all stages, including the prevention and resolution of conflicts and peace building, as well as towards safeguarding the rights and physical well-being of women who are exposed to danger in times of conflict. In this regard, we will also further strengthen our support for the activities of UN women and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
The threat posed by weapons of mass destruction continues to be one of the most imminent issues that the United Nations and its Member States need to tackle. Japan has been playing a leading role in adopting the General Assembly resolutions which call for united actions to achieve a world without nuclear weapon. Furthermore, the DPRK’s continued development of its nuclear and missile programs is a serious threat for the region as well as for the entire international community. Japan strongly urges the DPRK take concrete steps towards denuclearization, and to fully comply with the relevant Security Council Resolutions and its commitments under the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks in 2005.
With regard to Iran, Japan continues to cooperate with the Committee established pursuant to the Security Council resolution 1737. Japan strongly believes that the full implementation of the related Security Council Resolutions is of critical importance as it provides a solid basis for the UN to promote international peace and stability.
Establishing the highest common standards to regulate the international trade in conventional arms had been eagerly anticipated. As one of the original seven co-authors of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), Japan did its utmost to finalize our work, which culminated in the adoption of the ATT in the 67th Session. Japan strongly urges member states to sign and ratify this treaty at the earliest possible opportunity, so the ATT will go into effect as soon as possible.
Security Council Reform
It was regrettable that the Security Council had failed to unite and act as one concerning the grave situation in Syria before the recent adoption of the Security Council resolution. The malfunction of the Security Council reminds us that reform of the Council is long overdue and one of the most urgent tasks which Member States should tackle with priority. Based on this belief, the Foreign Ministers of the G4 Countries met in the margins of the opening of the current session of the General Assembly. The Ministers reconfirmed their common vision for reform and stressed the need to intensify efforts to translate, at the latest by 2015, the commitment by the leaders at the 2005 World Summit toward an early reform of the Security Council in concrete outcomes. In this context, Japan appreciates the emphasis you have put on this matter in your inaugural address. Japan also welcomes the invaluable efforts made by the Chairman of the intergovernmental negotiations, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, and supports his proposal of a concise working document.
Administrative and Budget
Regarding Administrative and Budgetary issues, the main session deals with the 2012-2013 budget as well as the 2014-2015 budget proposal. In order to ensure budgetary discipline, Japan will carefully analyze and judge the appropriateness and affordability of all potential additional requirements to the current budget as well as the proposed programme budget 2014-2015. With regard to human resources management, including the proposed mobility framework as well as the common system, these items have a great impact on the future of this Organization, and Japan will actively and positively participate in the related negotiations. Japan expresses its appreciation for the Secretary-General’s continued and strong commitment to a better management of the Secretariat and the UN facilities.
I will close my statement today by reiterating Japan’s intention to work closely with the Secretary-General in ensuring a more effective and efficient United Nations.