Japan and the United Nations
Statement by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, at the Side Event "Post-2015: Health and Development"

New York, 25 September 2013

September 25, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
As the deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) draws near, the question is raised ‘what kind of world do we want beyond 2015?’  You have all gathered here today to discuss the post-2015 development agenda at this critical time, and for this I would like to express my appreciation on behalf of the Government of Japan.
 
The MDGs are the common goals of the international community, and they have yielded enormous benefits to the world.  However, even as some parts of society reap the benefits of the development spurred by these goals, there have remained disadvantaged populations who are left behind.
 
“Leave no one behind.”  This phrase, proposed by the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, is the perfect interpretation of the concept of “human security,” an idea which focuses on the different circumstances of each individual and thus promotes the protection and empowerment of all individuals.  It is my firm conviction that this concept of human security should serve as a guiding principle of the post-2015 development agenda.
 
Health constitutes an indispensable part in the realisation of human security.  So far, the achievement of the health-related MDGs has been delayed, and therefore continuous support to such efforts as, for instance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, remains vital.  Japan intends to make an appropriate contribution to the Fund at the upcoming Fourth Replenishment.
 
In order to effectively respond to individual and diversified health needs, we aim at achieving universal health coverage (UHC), which ensures access to essential health-care services for all.  UHC eliminates disparities in access to health services and realises a health boost for the entire population, including vulnerable people, women in particular.
 
This May, Japan launched the Strategy on Global Health Diplomacy and positioned global health as one of the country’s diplomatic pillars. Japan is committed to cooperating with other countries to assist them to achieve UHC.  In addition to providing technical cooperation, Japan relaxes its yen loan condition in favour of health-related projects, as concrete measures toward this goal.
 
Beyond just the improvement of the health and well-being of all individuals, attaining UHC significantly contributes to a nation’s economic growth.  Japan introduced its universal health insurance system in 1961, which was a time when Japan was at the end of its post-war recovery period and was about to take a great economic leap.  With the achievement of UHC, Japan bolstered its spectacular economic growth buoyed by a healthy and well-educated middle class to become the second largest economy in the world.  We owe our present prosperity to the past economic growth supported by a robust health-care system.  No country develops without a healthy population.  Japan is an embodiment of the achievement of UHC in development.
 
Japan, knowing first-hand of the great effects of UHC, has the obligation to promote UHC in the post-2015 development agenda.  Health is a universal aspiration for all mankind.  I am committed to promoting the mainstreaming of UHC beyond 2015 through today’s discussion, backed by this multiple-stakeholder partnership in collaboration with governments, international and regional organisations, academia, civil society and the private sector.
 
Thank you for your kind attention.