2004 Statement




Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations


At the Plenary Meeting of the 59th General Assembly on Agenda Item 45: Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields; and Item 55: Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit

22 NOVEMBER 2004

Mr. President,

In the face of the new threats and challenges emerging in the international community today, the UN system is in urgent need of reform and strengthening in order to maintain its relevance and effectiveness. At this year’s General Debate in September, Prime Minister Koizumi emphasized the need to create "A New United Nations for the New Era." Although expressed in a variety of ways, the need for such change within the United Nations was stressed by a large number of leaders.

I believe that we are now presented with a historical opportunity to make the UN more effective in addressing the new realities. The High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change is expected to submit its report to the Secretary-General in early December. We do hope that the report will provide us with many inspiring ideas for strengthening the multilateral framework. In January the UN Millennium Project Report will also be submitted to the Secretary-General. Taking into account the content of these two reports and the comments of Member States, the Secretary-General will submit his report on the Millennium Declaration next March. With these important documents in hand, we will then set about preparing for the High-Level Meeting next September. We must work together and do our utmost in the current session to ensure that our preparations will be conducive to a successful outcome for the Meeting.

Mr. President,

Before I move on to the issues related to the preparations for the summit next year, I would like to briefly touch upon some points regarding the Secretary-General's Report on implementation of the Millennium Declaration, No. A/59/282.

First, the Report points out the jump in the demand for UN peacekeeping operations and calls for a greater commitment from all partners, including Member States. Japan will certainly fulfil its role in this regard. Bearing in mind, however, that the resources each country is able to provide for peacekeeping operations are not unlimited, we believe it vital to ensure the effective and efficient management of peacekeeping operations. We are also of the view that efforts based on a sense of ownership, that it is after all they themselves who own their future, on the part of the countries in conflicts, are critically important for the success of peacekeeping operations.
Second, this year’s report devotes special attention to the need for combating transnational crime. Japan fully endorses a coordinated global response to this challenge, and has been actively engaged in the efforts of the international community to curb transnational crimes. Upon adoption of the necessary domestic laws, Japan will ratify the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Japan is also preparing for the conclusion of its Protocols. The UN Convention against Corruption is another legal instrument of great importance. Japan was among the active participants in the negotiations for the Convention and signed it last December.

Third, protection of the vulnerable is one of Japan’s foreign policy priorities. Continuously stressing the importance of human security, we pay particular attention to the protection and empowerment of people in transition from conflict to peace. Armed conflicts impoverish a society and leave it in a dire state. Promoting human security enables people and the community to move toward peace and national reconstruction. Japan continues to commit itself to promoting the protection and empowerment of people by extending assistance through such channels as the UN Trust Fund for Human Security.

Mr. President,

We note with appreciation the Secretary-General’s Report on the modalities, format and organization of the high-level plenary meeting. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the work of H.E. Mr. Julian Hunte, President of the previous session, and the two esteemed facilitators. It is essential that we reach agreement on the organizational matters concerning the High-Level Meeting as early as possible, so that more of our time may be devoted to the discussions on the substantive issues of the meeting.

Japan supports the suggested duration and timing of the Meeting. We also support the suggested structure and format calling for one plenary meeting and four interactive round-table meetings. With regard to the matter of themes for the round-table meetings, we consider it more appropriate to have our leaders discuss one common theme, as was the case in the Millennium Summit, rather than to allocate different themes to each round table. This will allow them more time to reflect and to discuss the interlinkage of the issues we are dealing with from a wider perspective.

As to the timing for hold the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, our position is flexible. If there is enough support for the Secretary-General’s suggestion to hold the meeting in late June or early July 2005, immediately prior to the high-level segment of the substantive session of the ECOSOC, we would have no objection.

Mr. President,

The review of the Millennium Declaration is an overarching exercise, since the document addresses a wide variety of issues ranging from development, international peace and security to institutional reform of the UN system. The preparations for the High-Level Meeting next September are very important. Japan is firmly committed to making an active contribution to achieving progress in all those areas.

The decisions we will be making as we approach September of next year will be diverse in nature. Some will be legal decisions involving amendment of the Charter; others may take the form of affirmation of the commitments of the Member States to take certain actions. While some issues might be topics that are newly brought to our attention and thus require longer deliberation, there are other issues that we have discussed exhaustively for a period of more than ten years.

With a view to making the most of the opportunity provided by the High-Level Meeting next year, we need to conduct the preparatory process as effectively as possible. The success of the Meeting depends on the way decisions are made and how our achievements are brought together to produce an integrated outcome.

Mr. President,

With that in mind, I would like to draw your attention to the following points, which, in our view, are of critical importance in the preparatory process leading up to the summit next year.

First, we need to use our time effectively and efficiently to maintain the momentum generated by the Reports and to produce as many achievements as possible in the run-up to the summit.

Second, although the scope of the summit encompasses a wide range of issues to be addressed in a comprehensive manner, “comprehensive” does not necessarily mean “simultaneous”. If we assume that the summit next September is the only opportunity to make decisions on all matters, our efforts will not meet with success. In the period leading up to the summit meeting, we should try to bring each matter to a conclusion and build up these results to ensure a successful outcome for the summit meeting as a whole.

Third, an optimal mechanism to deal with the various themes needs to be devised. I would like to suggest, Mr. President, that you convene informal consultations of the plenary upon issuance of the report of the High-Level Panel and of the Millennium Project, respectively, with the author of each report invited. This would provide a great opportunity for a direct exchange of views between the Member States and the authors of the reports. Then we should proceed to parallel thematic discussions. In this preparatory process it is necessary for us to engage in focused and in-depth deliberation on each theme. We believe it may be a good idea to organize several round-table meetings on specific themes for that purpose. Of course such meetings would have to be open to all members.

Fourth, while efforts to build consensus are to be commended, there will certainly be cases where we will have to make decisions according to the procedures provided in the Charter. This is a perfectly legitimate and democratic step. At the same time, we should be aware of the danger that putting too much emphasis on consensus may in some instances stall improvements required for the UN.

Last but not least, being cautious is often a virtue but sometimes is used as camouflage for timidity or as a pretext for not taking any necessary step. We all know that there are occasions when we have to be courageous and take action. And we believe now is the time for us to make the necessary decisions. It is imperative for us to work together to seize this historic opportunity to create "A New United Nations for the New Era."

Thank you, Mr. President.