Statement by Mr. Tetsuya Kimura
Delegation of Japan
Agenda item 3(a): Poverty eradication
Forty-ninth Session of the Commission for Social Development
9 February 2011
At the outset, on behalf of the delegation of Japan, I would like to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. I also wish to express my gratitude to the Bureau and the Secretariat for the excellent preparations that were made for this session of the Commission. We assure you that you will have our full support and cooperation as you discharge your important responsibilities.
Since the World Summit for Social Development in 1995, poverty eradication has been recognized as one of three priority areas of social development. In 2000, eradication of extreme poverty and hunger was established as the first Millennium Development Goal. Japan nevertheless remains concerned that the number of people living in extreme poverty and hunger now surpasses one billion, as we recognized at the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals last fall.
As the report of the Secretary-General on poverty eradication (E/CN.5/2011/3) explains, poverty has various manifestations, including lack of income and productive resources sufficient to ensure sustainable livelihoods; hunger and malnutrition; limited or no access to education and other basic services; and lack of participation in decision-making and in civil, social and cultural life. The report also concludes that universal access to basic social protection and social services, especially health and education, is necessary to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. My delegation would therefore like to share with you some of the efforts Japan has been making at home and abroad to provide such access.
Increasing opportunities for employment, and income, is indispensable to the eradication of poverty. Employment is also important in that it enables people to discover the role they wish to play in society and find a place they truly belong. At the national level, there are three pillars to the program of the Government of Japan to promote employment. They are: connection, creation, and protection. "Connection" means matching job seekers and employers. "Creation" means creating new jobs in areas where demand is potentially great. And finally "protection" means working to prevent employment opportunities, and qualified individuals, from being lost to other countries. The number of regular full-time jobs for new university graduates is decreasing in Japan, for example, and among the steps the Government of Japan has taken in response is doubling the number of advisors in the Public Employment Security Office..
Of course in order to obtain a stable job, it is necessary to have a proper education in one's field of choice. In Japan, the public school system is free through high school, so tuition is no obstacle. Also, the Japanese government has been increasing the number of scholarship and tuition exemptions it grants university students.
Important as well in eradicating poverty is a social security system, which functions as a safety net and promotes social equality through the redistribution of income.
Poverty eradication is recognized as a priority issue in Japan's aid policy. Japan has supported human and social development, as well as sustainable economic growth, increased employment, and improvement of the quality of life in developing countries, as all are necessary to reduce poverty. And it attaches high priority to education, health care and welfare, water and sanitation and agriculture. Priority is also attached to cooperation in promoting sustainable economic growth and employment in developing countries.
The basic policy of Japan on official development assistance (ODA) emphasizes the importance of human security for every individual. Japan therefore contributes aid, both bilaterally and through the UN Human Security Fund, to protect and empower those who are most vulnerable.
For example, it contributed 4 million US dollars to a project entitled "Community mobilization for poverty reduction and social inclusion in service delivery" in Timor- Leste, which, targeting extremely poor households, provides income generation opportunities and aims at improving food security, increasing the participation in education of children who are not now in school, enhancing community awareness concerning maternal and child health, and providing better access to water sources.
In September last year, at the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals, Prime Minister Kan announced the "Kan Commitment," the provision of five billion US dollars to achieve health-related MDGs and 3.5 billion dollars for education-related MDGs over a five-year period beginning this year. In addition, Japan will host an international conference this year to follow up on the High-level Plenary Meeting. By following through on its commitments, Japan will continue to contribute to the realization of the MDGs by the year 2015.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman,
In order to achieve a truly sustainable and prosperous future, every individual needs to emerge from poverty and be able to satisfy her or his essential needs, such as the need for food, clothing and shelter. For its part, Japan will continue to make every effort to eradicate poverty by working to improve its domestic policies and engaging actively in cooperation with the rest of the international community.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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