(As delivered)Mr. Chair,
Gender equality and the empowerment of women maximize the potential of women. I believe that more engaged societies and stronger economies can and should be realized through more enhanced participation of women.
Based on this idea, Japan has been reinforcing its international cooperation and development assistance with a view toward achieving ‘a society where women shine’ all around the world.
Gender equality and empowerment of women are imperative to achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals. SDG 5 in particular indicates the necessity to comprehensively address the challenges faced by women and girls. Gender equality must be accomplished immediately through collective efforts by all nations.
In line with these international efforts, Japan has been engaged in various undertakings. Allow me to introduce some of our contributions in the past year.
Japan has made a contribution of 50 million US Dollars to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, “We-Fi”, which was established at the G20 Hamburg Summit in July 2017. Our contribution has been promoting the financial independence and economic and social participation of women in developing countries.
On the domestic scene, the Act on Promotion of Gender Equality in the Political Field was enacted this May. We believe that an enlargement of women’s participation in politics is important in order to reflect diverse public opinions in this area.
In addition, the parliament also passed relevant laws to promote the work style reform in June. Japan aims to achieve a society where all people are able to find employment with a various work style appropriate to their needs by reducing excessive working hours and ensuring fair working conditions regardless of employment status.
With regard to our commitment to the UN, Prof. Hiroko Akizuki was elected as a new member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in June. We believe that Prof. Akizuki will make significant contributions to the Committee based on her broad and in-depth knowledge and experience in women’s rights issues. Japan spares no effort to support the work of Prof. Akizuki and the Committee.
Moreover, Japan has been promoting the Women, Peace and Security agenda at the UN. Specifically, we support the empowerment of conflict-affected women and girls in the Middle East and Africa, as well as the improvement of judicial systems for preventing sexual violence in conflict.
Every year since 2014, Japan has been hosting the World Assembly for Women, “WAW!”, in Tokyo to discuss various aspects of women’s empowerment with the world’s top women leaders and other relevant stakeholders. At the last WAW! Symposium in November 2017, we discussed and presented recommendations under various agendas, including supporting female entrepreneurs, mainstreaming gender in enterprises, technology transformation and women, redistribution of the unpaid work, the Women and Peace and Security agenda, and women in media.
Japan continues its efforts to realize ‘a society where women shine’ with the cooperation of UN organizations, the Member States, the private sector and Civil Society organizations. The fifth WAW! Symposium will be held in Tokyo in March 2019 along with the W20 Summit, for which Japan will serve as chair. We are wholeheartedly looking forward to welcoming participants from all over the world.
I thank you.