Statement by H.E. Ambassador Toshiya Hoshino, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the General Debate at the General Assembly on the Responsibility to Protect

(As delivered)
At the outset, I would like to thank the President of the General Assembly for convening this important Debate.
The Government of Japan welcomes the holding of the General Debate on the Responsibility to Protect in the General Assembly, and this is the first formal debate on R2P since 2009, and we strongly commend Australia and Ghana for their leadership in realizing the Debate.
Mr. President,
As the Secretary-General’s report correctly points out, the gap have grown. States’ primary responsibility as well as the international society’s collective responsibility to protect people from mass atrocities are well acknowledged today. However, civilians are increasingly trapped in armed conflicts. Increase of battle-related deaths is sharp and the number of forced displacement is larger than ever. I agree with the Secretary-General that we need to match our commitments with the experience of vulnerable people on the ground. In doing so, I wish to once again highlight that prevention and early warning are key in the context of R2P.
In 2015, having observed that the concept of R2P became clearer, Japan decided to join the global network on the R2P and for the last three years, we have been participating actively in discussions with relevant Member States, the United Nations and civil society, with the aim of preventing mass atrocities. I believe that now is the time for the international community to work together to bring R2P into implementation.
Believing that Japan has an active role to play, we have been engaging in mobilizing our Official Development Assistance and for capacity-building of member states to assist national efforts in areas related to R2P, such as rule of law, and we have been organizing various types of seminars for legal experts and government officials in Asia as well as in Africa. For example, for the last three years, Japan implemented the training course called “Criminal Justice for French Speaking African Countries” with participation from eight francophone countries in Africa targeting those who belong to the field of criminal justice. In Vietnam, we have been continuing technical assistance for over 20 years. These training courses and assistance aim to improve criminal investigation standards in the target countries, ensure the protection of the human rights of suspects, improve planning and management of criminal justice related institutions, and thus, contribute to strengthening capacities in the area of rule of law.
We strongly believe that the international community’s collective action in linking development assistance with R2P will help advance the implementation of prevention and early action. Japan intends to further promote its support in areas that I just mentioned.
Japan also believes that the Security Council not only has the primary responsibility to deal with actual conflicts, but it should also play a more active role in preventing conflicts. Unfortunately however, we have witnessed some cases where the Security Council fails to fulfill its function to prevent or end mass atrocities due to the veto. In this regard, Japan continues to support the initiative by France and Mexico on the suspension of the veto in case of mass atrocities, as well as the Code of Conduct elaborated by the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, ACT.
Mr. President,
Facing the reality of the increasing gap between our commitment and what is happening on the on the ground, it goes without saying that we all should redouble our efforts to protect people from mass atrocities. The international community has accumulated discussions on the concept of R2P since the 2005 World Summit. Implementation requires our continued commitment and collective efforts. In this regard, Japan supports the inclusion of the Responsibility to Protect as a formal standing agenda item of the General Assembly. Japan is determined to collaborate with the international community on this critical, very important issue.
I thank you, Mr. President.