Statement by Mr. Tetsuji Miyamoto
Delegation of Japan
Item 3 (b): Review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups
Commission for Social Development
8 February 2010
Since the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995, the United Nations has contributed to the improvement of the situation of vulnerable groups through the adoption of various frameworks to strengthen social cohesion through the inclusion of all members of a society in its activities and the decisions it makes. This Commission has played a role in that process, and it is doing so today through the review it conducts under this agenda item.
The world financial and economic crisis has had a particularly devastating impact on vulnerable populations, however, especially in developing countries, and it threatens to wipe out the gains that we have made to date towards the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.
Even under the present difficult circumstances, we should bear in mind the importance of protecting the livelihoods and dignity of individuals in need. As we agreed in Copenhagen, we must "put people at the centre of development," or in other words strive always to pursue social development from the perspective of human security.
Japan has worked to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by empowering people in need and improving the conditions in which they live. My delegation would like to share with you some of Japan's domestic efforts and experiences.
Young people are vital for the continuing development of the societies in which they live, as the World Programme of Action for Youth affirms. Empowerment of young people and ensuring their full and effective participation in those societies is therefore crucial.
The Government of Japan considers tackling youth unemployment an urgent matter because it is youth that has been most greatly affected by the recent global financial and economic crisis. The number of regular full-time jobs for new graduates is decreasing and the number of young people hired as part-time or casual employees growing. To promote youth employment, the Government of Japan increased the number of advisors who staff the Public Employment Security Office, and it is encouraging schools to strengthen their assistance to students seeking jobs.
In July 2009, the Government of Japan also introduced new legislation, entitled the "Act on Promotion of Development and Support for Children and Young People," to help those who are having difficulty participating in society because they have dropped out of school or are what we call NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training). Through this legislation, Japan is promoting a comprehensive policy on youth that relates to education, welfare and employment. It also promotes the building of a regional network to support young people in need.
Persons with disabilities make up about ten percent of the world population, and the majority live in poverty. The Japanese public has a strong interest in promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities and several new initiatives to that end have been introduced by the new administration since last year. To improve the system in place for assisting the disabled and reinforce its policies in this area, the Government of Japan established the Ministerial Board for the Promotion of Systemic Reforms for Persons with Disabilities in December 2009 and the Committee to Promote Systemic Reforms for Persons with Disabilities whose membership was established last month and consists of experts including persons with disabilities and academics.
In addition, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which came into force in May 2008, is an important normative framework for such efforts, which Japan is now in the process of ratifying.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we have in place today several frameworks that can be used to improve the situation of vulnerable social groups. As was noted in our discussion last year, what is needed now is action-oriented policies and programmes that produce concrete outcomes, and they should be followed up with systematic evaluations of the results they yield. To eliminate the gap between policies and implementation, it is essential that we collect data and a list of best practices. Japan is committed to working actively with the rest of the international community to implement relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action to realize our goals in this area.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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