Statement by H.E. Ambassador Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the 41st Session of the Committee on Information

(As delivered)
Thank you, Mr. Chair,
 
Let me begin by commending the outgoing chair Ambassador Jan Kickert of Austria, and his team for their splendid work over the last two years.  I would also like to congratulate you, Ambassador Omar Hilale, and your team for assuming the chairmanship of the Bureau. Through your able leadership, I am confident that the 41st session of the Committee will be a productive and efficient one. As always, you can count on Japan’s full support and cooperation in this endeavour.  I wish also to extend my gratitude to Ms. Alison Smale, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, for the informative briefing on her department’s ongoing reform.
 
 
Mr. Chair,
 
This is a critical moment for the United Nations.  As the Secretary-General has noted repeatedly, we are becoming increasingly aware of how much people expect the United Nations to respond to global challenges, at the same time that many have lost confidence in the United Nations.  Under such circumstances, the Department of Global Communication (DGC) must shoulder its heavy responsibility to interact with people as the Organization’s vanguard in global society.  This is the reason why Japan takes the DGC very seriously and fully supports the reform, which stresses Leadership & Strategy, Human Resources and Operational Efficiency.
 
Among the various streams of the DGC reform, I would like to point out the importance of its field-centric approach through UN Information Centres.  UNICs are uniquely positioned to provide information on the activities of the UN to local populations in their own languages.  Following the reform of the resident coordinator system this year, Japan expects that UNICs will further develop close collaboration with resident coordinators and UN country teams to ensure coherent and strategic messaging of the UN’s activities and objectives at the local level.
 
 
Mr. Chair,
 
The Japanese people hold high expectations for the role of the United Nations in peace, development and human rights.  That is why it is so valuable for the people of Japan to have access to timely, meaningful and up-to-date information about the United Nations.  Therefore, the Government of Japan attaches considerable value to the tireless work of UNIC Tokyo to strengthen the close relationship between the people of Japan and the United Nations. 
 
Let me give you a few examples.  UNIC Tokyo initiated partnerships with “Sanrio,” the Japanese company that owns the Hello Kitty brand, to promote the Sustainable Development Goals, especially among Japanese young people.  The Hello Kitty official YouTube channel was launched last September, and since then has uploaded seven stories.  I was delighted to watch one of these stories in which Ms. Smale performed with a character named “Kitty White.”
 
Another example of efforts made by UNIC Tokyo is the collaboration between the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the United Nations.  The two organizations finalized a Letter of Intent aimed at promoting the contribution of sport to sustainable development, and to supporting achievement of the SDGs more specifically.  The letter was signed by Ms. Smale on behalf of the UN last November in Tokyo.  Since its founding, the Organising Committee has emphasised the importance of sustainability.  I thus have no doubt that both sides will be able to increase public awareness of the mutually beneficial links between the SDGs and sport around the world.       
 
 
Mr. Chair,
 
Since the reform process has just begun, Japan would like to request the DGC give a briefing so that all committee members are able to stay informed about progress made.   
 
Let me conclude by touching upon the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, in which the DGC also takes an active role within the Secretariat. Japan hopes it will become a golden opportunity to deliver a clear message that the UN continues to play its central role of responding to global challenges.  However, the UN cannot achieve it alone.  Partnership must continue to be at the heart of its strategy.  Japan sincerely hopes that the DGC will continue reaching out to a wide range of people, including civil society and other actors, and young people in particular, to make this anniversary successful. 
 
 
I thank you, Mr. Chair.