Statement by Mr. Katsuya Okada,
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan,
at the International Conference towards a New Future for Haiti
March 31, 2010
His Excellency, Rene Preval, President of Haiti,
His Excellency, Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,
Her Excellency, Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America,
Ladies and gentlemen,
- I would like to express my gratitude to the United Nations, the United States of America and all the other parties concerned, including the co-chairs, for their efforts to realize today's conference, which demonstrates the solidarity of the international community towards Haiti.
- I visited Haiti ten days ago. Observing its present situation, I felt sorry for the gravity of the devastation and the agony of the victims of the earthquake. At the same time, I was impressed by the determination and efforts of the people who were working for Haiti's recovery and reconstruction.
- Through my visit, I have fully realized that what Haiti urgently needs are the removal of debris and, with the rainy season approaching, the construction of shelters and prevention of the spread of infectious diseases.
- So far, the Japan Disaster Relief Team has extended medical care services and an engineering unit of Japan's Self-Defense Force, which participates in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), has been removing debris. In addition, Japan will construct about 9,000 shelters and provide assistance against infectious diseases for about 3 million people, including vaccinations for mothers and children.
- To implement this assistance, Japan will contribute 30 million dollars in addition to the 70 million dollars already announced. As a result, Japan's aid for Haiti has reached 100 million dollars. Besides, Japan welcomes the recent decision of the Inter-American Development Bank to waive the debt of Haiti, concerning which Japan is prepared to make an appropriate contribution.
- Hereafter, reconstruction will be the major task for Haiti. To this end, it is most important for the Haitian people to lead and take ownership of the reconstruction of their own state. In this sense, Japan appreciates the submission of the Action Plan for the Reconstruction and National Development of Haiti by the Government of Haiti today. On the other hand, true reconstruction does not simply mean a return to the pre-earthquake situation but the rebirth of a state which has an adequate foundation to fully satisfy the people's needs in such fields as education, medical services, employment and the rule of law. It is essential that the international community collaborate in assisting such efforts of the Government of Haiti. Japan is determined to proactively contribute to this endeavor.
- Japan's assistance has hitherto emphasized three areas: education and capacity building; health and medical care; and food and agriculture. Japan will continue to assist Haiti in these areas, making use of its experience and knowledge as a country prone to earthquakes and taking into account the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment. Thus, Japan will dispatch disaster prevention experts and will establish a field office of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Haiti.
- Lastly, Japan promises to fully support, with the international community, the efforts of the Haitian people so that they can recover from this tragedy and regain hope for the future.
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