Statement by H.E. Ambassador Toshiya Hoshino, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation

(As delivered)

 Thank you Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would also like to begin by expressing my sincere congratulations on the great work accomplished by the member of high-level panel on digital cooperation under the auspices of the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres. And my appreciation goes to His Excellency Minister Astrup, Mr. Cerf, and Ms. Sambuli for being with us today to share their significant achievements and reflect on priorities and actions for us to consider in the coming digital world.
We are proud of that Japan’s experience has contributed to the development of the report through Dr. Yuichiro Anzai, President of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, who took part in this panel of global experts. Japan was the second country to deliver a national AI strategy, and Dr. Anzai was the leading expert who shaped the Japanese Artificial Intelligence Technology Strategy released in March, 2017.
Japan’s AI technology strategy is anchored in a human-centered approach. I am very pleased to see that the high-level panel’s report shares this principle. We strongly support putting human beings at the heart of strategy.
In a world that is rapidly embracing digital technology in such fields of public services, education and communication, we must recognize the important game changes that have been already taken place, and one of our national priorities is to empower the whole population, and young people in particular, by equipping them with digital skills and coding literacy in order to ensure that they can be full participants in today’s evolving digital world. Starting from next year, computer programming and coding will be a compulsory subject at all Japanese primary schools.  Such changes are not easy, but they are necessary both to help individuals conquer their fear of being overwhelmed by the changes occurring, and to distribute the benefits of digital technologies evenly across society and the world.
Japan envisions transforming our society by integrating the frontier between cyberspace and the physical world, which is the blueprint for a super-smart society; which we call “Society 5.0”, targeting a sustainable, inclusive socio-economic system, powered by digital technology such as big data analytics, AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics. Harnessing the digital economy and AI is a great opportunity for us, facing as we are an ageing population and sluggish demographic growth, to reverse these disadvantages through a transition to a less labor-intensive economy.
Mr. Secretary-General and Excellencies.
We hope to present our vision for Society 5.0 and the link with the SDGs at the G20 Summit in Osaka this month, to be followed by the High-Level Political Forum in September. We will continue to share our experiences as an actor in the field of inclusive and diverse digital cooperation.
I thank you.