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Statement by Prof. Arino Yaguchi
Alternate Representative of Japan
on item 26: Social Development
Third Committee
Sixty-ninth Session of the United Nations General Assembly
New York
7 October 2014


Madame Chair,


I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to you on your assumption of the position as chair of this committee.  Let me assure you of my delegation's utmost support to your efforts and leadership.


            I have joined this Committee as a member of the Japanese delegation, based on the recommendation of nine Japanese women's NGOs. Since 1957, the year following Japan joining the United Nations as a Member State, a representative from Japanese women's NGOs has participated as a member of the delegation. This participation exists as an example of how the Japanese Government and civil society have worked closely together.


            I will participate in the discussion of the Committee, recognizing the importance, in particular, of women's empowerment and democratic governance, which are necessary in order to achieve a peaceful, equal and people-centered society.


Madame Chair,


            A number of people around the world face challenges of poverty, inequality, discrimination, social exclusion, and unemployment. In moving towards the achievement of three themes of social development: that is, poverty eradication, social integration, and full and productive employment and decent work for all, governments play an essential role in creating an environment which enables people's empowerment. It is also the role of governments to implement policies for this purpose.


            The intergovernmental negotiations for the post-2015 development agenda will begin at the 69th session of the General Assembly. The Government of Japan will continue to be as strongly involved as it has been up till now. The Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Shinzo Abe, in his address to the General Assembly of the United Nations, strongly urged that "if we are to truly pursue the attainment of inclusiveness, sustainability, and resilience as put forth in that agenda, then it is the protection and empowerment of the vulnerable, irrespective of race, gender, or age that is important." Through this process, we need to take into account the social dimension as an approach of social development.


            The promotion of rights and empowerment of persons with disabilities are matters on which we have attached great importance. The Government of Japan ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the 20th of January this year. We attended the Conference of States Parties to the Convention as a State Party for the first time this June and two representatives from civil society in Japan joined as members of the Japanese delegation. Building upon the voices of civil society, the Government of Japan urged that people with diversified disabilities must join in discussions together to promote an inclusive society, and that the international community should respond to the needs of persons with disabilities in disaster risk reduction. Furthermore, we will implement the outcome document for disability-inclusive development adopted at the High-level Meeting on Disability and Development held last year.


            The Government of Japan supports the empowerment of youth, which is a priority under the Secretary-General's Five-Year Action Agenda. In this regard, we appreciate the active engagement of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, which has focused on enhancing youth participation. Japan has strongly promoted youth volunteering as a form of participation in society. We welcome that UNV created the first strategic framework, 2014-2017, to move towards becoming a more effective and efficient organization, and that UN Youth Volunteer programmes were placed in it as a programme priority.  UNV has developed a university volunteer scheme in cooperation with Kwansei Gakuin University (KGU) in Japan. Pilot programmes based on this scheme have been expanded to Asia, Europe, and Gulf states in line with the "KGU model." A representative volunteer from KGU presented her experience through the volunteer scheme at the first UNV Partnership Forum held last week in Bonn, Germany. We hope that youth participation in society through volunteering will lead to their empowerment and also that "youth power" will be used to implement the post-2015 development agenda.


            An ageing society is an issue of not just one country but also the international community. Japan, as the most rapidly ageing country, will cooperate with other Member States, in particular with the Asian countries, who share a situation concerning older persons similar to Japan's, in combating the challenge of ageing.

Madame Chair,


            Africa still faces conflicts and poverty. We cannot realize Africa's sustainable development without eliminating the threat of the Ebola virus currently spreading in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and even more. The Government of Japan already extended a total amount of 5 million US dollars of financial assistance. In addition to that, Prime Minister Abe announced more pledges, such as an additional assistance of a total of 40 million US dollars in the future, here at the UN.


            Japan co-hosted the TICAD V with the African Union Commission, the UN, the World Bank, and the UNDP, and pledged to support African growth through public and private sectors by means of approximately 32 billion US dollars. The TICAD process has played an important role in the realization of priority areas of NEPAD. We continue to contribute to promoting transformative, resilient, and inclusive growth across Africa, through the TICAD process under the ownership of the African states.


Madame Chair,


            The Government of Japan will engage in the achievement of the empowerment of all individuals, including women, persons with disabilities, youth, older persons, and LGBT people, thereby building a better society for all.


Thank you.

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