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Statement by Ms. Minori Ito

Official, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations

Item 3(b): Review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action

pertaining to the situation of social groups

Fifty-fourth Session of the Committee on Social Development

05 February 2016



Mr. Chairman,


        In 1995, the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen provided the opportunity for a wide and comprehensive discussion of social development issues, with special attention to three pillars: the promotion of social integration, the eradication of poverty and support for full and productive employment. Since then, more than twenty years have passed and various plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situations of social groups have been adopted at the United Nations. My delegation would like to share with you some of Japan’s domestic and international efforts and experiences with regard to three such groups, namely: persons with disabilities, youth and older persons.


Mr. Chairman,


        Japan seeks to realize a “society for all,” in which each and every individual, with or without disabilities, is recognized as deserving the support and respect of others. In order to contribute to the empowerment and the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, the Government of Japan ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in January 2014. We have also participated actively in international discussions and activities on this issue. Nationally, Japan has implemented measures for enhancing independence and social participation of persons with disabilities based on our “Third Basic Plans for persons with disabilities” to be implemented over the five years from 2013 to 2017. The Government of Japan also continues its efforts toward the enforcement of our “Reduction of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities” act, which will enter into force in April 2016, including the dissemination of corresponding guidelines based on the relevant laws and the Government of Japan’s key principles.


        Japan also considers it important to put its wealth of technology, experience and knowledge to good use not only in the domestic context but on an international scale. Over the years, Japan have provided development cooperation and support particularly focused on persons with disabilities to many developing countries mainly in the Asian-Pacific, Middle-East, African and Central and South American regions. The Government of Japan also continues to contribute to the realization of an inclusive society overseas by engaging in international cooperation in which persons with disabilities themselves play an active role as specialists and experts to be sent overseas, instead of treating them merely as subjects to be protected.


        Recently, Japan nominated Professor Ishikawa, an expert in the field of the assistive technology for the persons with disabilities, as a candidate for the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2016 in order to share with the international community our experience of international cooperation and our best practice in the area of persons with disabilities. Engagement with the CRPD is an important aspect of Japan’s contributions to the international community, and so I would like to take this opportunity to request your generous support for Professor Ishikawa’s candidature.


Mr. Chairman,


        Young people are vital for the continuing development of the societies in which they live. Empowering young people and ensuring their full and effective participation in society is therefore essential. In 2014, the Government of Japan formulated its policy outline for child poverty in order to promote a comprehensive policy on youth with a particular focus on child poverty. Japan continues its efforts to reduce child poverty and to realize a society in which every child grows up with the hope of a prosperous future.


        In order to implement the 2030 Agenda, various stakeholders including governments, civil society, the private sector and NGOs need to be engaged. Among these various stakeholders, volunteers are expected to play an important role. For this reason, as part of our contributions to the 2030 Agenda, the Government of Japan, together with the Government of Brazil, submitted a resolution regarding volunteerism to the Third Committee of the United Nations, under the item of “social development” at its seventieth session. We hope for each and every country to actively engage in the implementation of this resolution.


Mr. Chairman,


        Currently in Japan, persons over the age of 65 comprise 26% of the total population, making Japan one of the most aged countries in the world. In such a context, it is important to realize a welfare society where the empowerment of an increasing number of elderly people is promoted and their safety and security are ensured. One example of Japan’s national efforts in this regard has been to increase employment opportunities for the aged. Domestically, an amendment to our “Law concerning the stabilization of employment of older persons” came into force in 2014, which requires companies to adopt a system under which all employees who apply are secured employment until the age of 65. Japan also has a subsidy system for employers who organize their work environments to accommodate older persons and employ persons over 60. To enable older persons to work regardless of their age, and to give society the opportunity to benefit from their experience and knowledge, these initiatives contribute to improve the access of older persons to employment, to improve their work environment, and to combat discriminatory dismissal.


        Japan has also promoted international cooperation in the area of the protection and empowerment of the world’s elderly population, especially by sharing our experiences and technology with other countries, particularly those in the Asia and Pacific region, many of which are experiencing similar demographic changes to ours. The Government of Japan will continue its efforts in this field.


        In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the Government of Japan is committed to working actively both domestically and internationally to implement relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action to achieve the 2030 agenda and to realize a society conscious of these social groups including persons with disabilities, youth and older persons.


Thank you.




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