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Statement by Hajime Kishimori
Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
On Agenda Item 53: Questions Relating to Information
Fourth Committee
Seventy First Session of the United Nations General Assembly
14 October 2016



Mr. Chair,


          I would like to begin by congratulating you for your assumption as Chair of the Fourth Committee, as well as the distinguished Bureau members. I would also like to express my delegation’s appreciation for the outstanding direction of Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Public Information (DPI), Ms. Cristina Gallach, together with the excellent work being carried out by the Department. DPI’s efforts to fulfill its mandate in covering the United Nations’ main and priority activities, including international peace and security, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, climate change, human rights, Security Council reform, and the rule of law, are highly appreciated.



Mr. Chair,


          Let me begin by reiterating the importance that Japan attaches to the UN Peace Bell. The Peace Bell, created in accordance with the will of the late Chiyoji Nakagawa and donated by the United Nations Association of Japan 62 years ago in 1954, is the first gift passed along the UN tour route. It is an enduring reminder of this Organization’s dedication to realizing world peace.


          In observation of the International Day of Peace, on September 16, the Japanese delegation partook in the Peace Bell Ceremony here at UN Headquarters. This year, in the weeks leading up to the Peace Bell Ceremony, Ms. Seiko Takase, daughter of Chiyoji Nakagawa, sent a craftsman to New York from Japan to restore the gold inscription inside the bell, which reads “絶対平和萬歳,” meaning “Absolute world peace for eternity.” Over 62 years, these characters faded away, but thanks to the efforts of Ms. Takase, the inscription was fully restored in time for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to ring the bell on September 16. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to DPI for its annual efforts to promote and hold the Peace Bell Ceremony, and look forward to coordinating with DPI to observe the International Day of Peace for the next 62 years.


          Following the Peace Bell Ceremony, the Japanese Mission, in collaboration with DPI, also held a Book Launch event for Ms. Takase’s book, entitled The Story of the UN Peace Bell.This event featured a reading of the book in both English and Japanese. In particular, my delegation would like to express our appreciation for the devoted efforts of Mr. Ramu Damodaran, Chief of UN Academic Impact, and Ms. Sherrie Aldis, Chief of Sales and Marketing, who respectively moderated this event and facilitated the inclusion of Ms. Takase’s book on the UN Bookshop’s shelves.        



Mr. Chair,


          Acting as the face of the United Nations in Japan, UNIC Tokyo continues its important task of disseminating information about the significant work of the United Nations to the Japanese public. In her capacity as director, Ms. Kaoru Nemoto continues to actively and expertly guide the activities of UNIC Tokyo, which promotes greater support for the United Nations throughout Japan. Under the direction of Ms. Nemoto, UNIC Tokyo and the Government of Japan have closely collaborated to promote the activities of the UN, especially on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Japan’s accession to the UN.


          Allow me to share two examples. UNIC Tokyo is playing an active role in promoting the Agenda for Sustainable Development and making it a top priority. In this connection, UNIC Tokyo recently organized a student photo contest on the SDGs in observation of Japan’s 60th anniversary at the UN. This contest received more than 600 photos from 50 countries on five continents, and garnered strong support from artists worldwide, including the likes of Mr. Leslie Kee, a renowned Singaporean photographer. In honor of UN Day, UNIC Tokyo will hold an award ceremony to announce prizes on October 24. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to attend.


          UN Academic Impact (UNAI) is a global initiative started in 2009 to align institutions of higher education with the United Nations. UNIC Tokyo accepts applications for UNAI in Japan, and we are proud to report that the number of Japanese universities and colleges involved in UNAI has now risen to 43. UNIC Tokyo’s activities naturally give students opportunities to learn about the activities of the UN through UNAI, and as such encourage greater interest by the Japanese youth about the global challenges the UN and the international community currently face. My delegation also notes the outstanding work by the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, led by Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, and hopes to continue expanding our collaboration in a meaningful way.



Mr. Chair,


          Promoting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should be a top priority for DPI. My delegation appreciates the efforts undertaken by the Department thus far to raise awareness of the Agenda and its 17 goals, and calls on DPI to continue advocating the SDGs through a variety of mediums. For example, the Hip Hop Performance on the SDGs by Ike Ramos and Nitty Scotto of Flocabulary at the Student Conference on the International Day of Peace demonstrated how creative and accessible promotional activities like photography and music can be used to teach our youth about the serious topics of SDG implementation and the rationalization of current resources.


          In this regard, neither DPI nor member states should forget about the importance of multiculturalism in SDG promotion. While cartoon characters such as Red from Angry Birds and Wonder Woman may be instantly recognizable to many in their role as honorary ambassadors for the SDGs and the UN as a whole, their popularity and success may not automatically translate in places like Japan and East Asia, where characters like Doraemon might be more familiar. Diversity is key, and my delegation encourages DPI to take a more tailor-made approach to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development based on different cultures and values. In this context, the role of the global network of UNICs cannot be stressed more.



Mr. Chair,


          Multilingualism is a topic which I feel obliged to touch upon briefly. In July, I attended the award ceremony for UNAI’s “Many Languages, One World” contest, which for the past four years has promoted and celebrated the principle of multilingualism among the world’s youth.  “Many Languages, One World” helps to stress how significant multilingualism is to the work of this Organization and its member states. Nevertheless, multilingualism is a principle which should continue to be implemented in a cost-neutral manner through creative schemes, such as through innovative translation partnerships, including with universities. The principle of multilingualism should also extend to non-UN official languages in order to reach out to large populations. For instance, Africa Renewal, the only printed magazine of DPI, could be translated into more than just the six official languages, using translation partnerships so as to avoid budgetary implications, in order to provide opportunities for students from all over the world to learn about development initiatives in Africa in their own languages.



Mr. Chair,


          There is no doubt that the United Nations will continue to stand as a key organ to tackle unprecedented global challenges. DPI’s mandate to promote the activities of the UN is thus more important than ever before. I will conclude my statement by reaffirming the strong support of my delegation for the Department of Public Information.



Thank you, Mr. Chair.



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