STATEMENT BY H.E.MR.KEIZO OBUCHI PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN AT THE FIFTY-THIRD SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS

-TOWARD ACHIEVING PEACE, DEVELOPMENT,
AND UNITED NATIONS REFORM-

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished Delegates,

   I should like to extend my most sincere compliments to His Excellency Mr. Didier Opertti Badan, Foreign Minister of Uruguay, on his assumption of office as the President of the fifty-third session of the General Assembly. I should also like to express my respects to His Excellency Mr. Hennadiy Udovenko, Deputy of Supreme Rada of Ukraine, for all his efforts during his tenure as the President of the fifty-second session of the General Assembly.

Mr. President,

   How should we build the framework for a new international order in the twenty-first century? This is the question that our international community is facing amidst new situations that were created in the aftermath of the collapse of the Cold War, almost a decade ago. That collapse provided an opportunity to establish a harmonious order based upon the cooperation of the entire international community, rather than the maintenance of peace by a military balance between two Super Powers. However, our international community today is troubled with frequent regional conflicts and challenged by the inseparably connected problem of poverty. Creating a new system to cope effectively with such challenges is the greatest agenda for our international community today. To achieve this objective, we must simultaneously promote three issues: peace and development, which are two sides of the same coin, plus United Nations reforms, which are indispensable in our efforts to achieve the first two. Today, the@possibility of a world-wide conflict has decreased in comparison to the Cold War era, but conflicts arising from such causes as ethnic and religious confrontation are increasing. In dealing with these conflicts, it is more important to focus on how to prevent them rather than on how to solve them once they break out. In this regard, we must first consider the essential issues of arms control and disarmament. The recent nuclear tests of India and Pakistan constitute enormous challenges to the non-proliferation regime. We urgently need to find a way to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and to strengthen the non-proliferation regime. Furthermore, it is necessary to deal not only with the weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear, biological and chemical weapons but also with such conventional weapons as small arms and anti-personnel landmines.

   Social instabilities lie at the root of conflicts. This makes it extremely important to deal with development issues. There are also growing global threats such as environmental destruction and terrorism. The cruel destructive power of terrorism especially threatens the lives and safety of citizens. It is different by nature from conventional armed conflict between nations, but in the post Cold War world, it poses increasingly grave concerns to our security. Our international community should seriously consider ways to effectively cope with these problems and threats.

   Today, based on such thinking, I should like to discuss these issues from the perspectives of peace and development and of reform which is indispensable in promoting the first two. In so doing, I want to elaborate on our thinking and express our determination to play a leading role in fulfilling our responsibilities.

Mr. President,

   I should first like to talk about nuclear non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament, which are essential to maintaining peace. In May this year, India and Pakistan conducted, to our deepest regret, a series of nuclear tests, which are formidable challenges to the nuclear non-proliferation regime. In seeking a world free of nuclear weapons, it is indispensable that we allow no further proliferation and secure a solid basis for the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The existing format certainly is not perfect, but there is no feasible, realistic alternative if we are to ensure stability in our international community. No country should be allowed to attempt to set back international efforts toward strengthening of the non- proliferation regime. At the same time, to improve the effectiveness of this regime, it is important, together with the efforts by all nations to maintain non-proliferation, to see sincere implementation of nuclear disarmament by nuclear weapon states. Based on this thinking, we regard the following five points as important.

   First, the nuclear non-proliferation regime should become more universal. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) sets the structure for international control of nuclear weapons with no alternative, and we strongly urge non-parties to accede to this treaty promptly and without condition. In this context, we highly appreciate Brazil's accession to the NPT in August this year.

   Secondly, in order to complement the NPT and ensure nuclear non- proliferation, I should like to underline the need to place strict export controls on equipment, materials and technologies that relate to nuclear weapons and missiles. We urge every nation to engage in serious efforts to prevent any transfer of such materials and technologies.

   Thirdly, we must prevent any further nuclear testing. Without universal support for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the effectiveness of the nuclear non-proliferation system cannot be maintained. I should like to call on nations that have not yet done so to promptly become parties to this treaty so as to realize its early effectuation. In the meantime, we should take necessary steps to assure the cessation of nuclear testing.

   Fourthly, further advancement of nuclear disarmament by nuclear weapon states is more important than ever, in maintaining and strengthening various efforts for nuclear non-proliferation. We hope to see early effectuation of START II and an early start of negotiations of START III. Also, we welcome such actions as the decision made by the British Government in July this year for a significant reduction of their nuclear arsenals as well as France's decision to dismantle its ground-to- ground missiles. We urge all the nuclear weapon states to implement sincerely the obligations under Article 6 of the NPT, thereby promoting nuclear disarmament even further.

   Fifthly, to put a cap on nuclear weapons capability, each nation must positively participate in and reach an early conclusion of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.

   During this session of the General Assembly, Japan will take initiatives to promote these five objectives.

   Needless to say, the promotion of arms control and disarmament should not be limited to the area of nuclear weapons. Dealing with other weapons of mass destruction such as biological and chemical weapons as well as delivery vehicles such as missiles is of high importance. The recent missile launch by North Korea, even if it was an attempt to launch a satellite into orbit, poses a serious problem, which directly concerns both Japan's national security and peace and stability in Northeast Asia. It also constitutes a challenge to our efforts in preventing proliferation of delivery vehicles of weapons of mass destruction. I renew my call for North Korea to consider seriously the statement on September 15th by the President of the UN Security Council as a message reflecting the views of the entire international community and to never repeat such act.

   Furthermore, to prevent the outbreak and escalation of conflicts, we also need to address the problems of anti-personnel landmines and small arms including automatic rifles in which we have yet to make sufficient efforts. We intend to continue to play a leading role in these issues. In particular, in the area of anti- personnel landmines, we will endeavor to strengthen international cooperation toward early realization of the "Zero Victim" objective by supporting the elimination of landmines and assistance for victims. We are pleased that 40 countries have now concluded the Anti-Personnel Landmine Ban Convention and that it will enter into force on March 1st next year. We are now making efforts toward Japan's earliest possible conclusion. We ask other nations yet to conclude it to do so promptly, so that the convention may become a universal framework to ban the anti-personnel landmines totally.

   Conflicts give rise to intolerable crimes against humanity such as genocide. To deter such crimes, it is necessary to establish a permanent international court that punishes such acts as international crimes. Adoption of the treaty in July this year in Rome to establish such a court was an act of historic significance. Japan believes that the blessing and cooperation of the entire international community is indispensable for this court to produce effective results. That is why we took important initiatives in the diplomatic conference. It is our hope that this international criminal court will grow in this direction to become a universal framework.

Mr. President,

   In our efforts toward peace, with roles assumed by civilian staffs increasing in United Nations activities including peacekeeping, we observe with regret an increasing number of cases where non-combatants become the targets of violence by belligerents. In July this year, a staff member from Japan, together with members from Poland, Tajikistan and Uruguay, fell victim to a despicable criminal act directed at the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT). The countries concerned and the United Nations need to seriously examine ways to ensure the security of United Nations personnel and of relevant humanitarian assistance organizations. In this regard, we reiterate our call upon nations that have not yet done so to join the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, adopted in December 1994, so that it may come into force as soon as possible. At the same time, Japan will also make contributions of about one million US dollars to the United Nations to support secur ity measures for UN personnel. We hope many countries will also make contributions to support United Nations efforts in this field.

Mr. President,

   One of the basic causes of conflicts are problems of economic and social development. We must pay close attention to them. During the Tokyo International Conference on Preventive Strategy that Japan hosted this January, participants underlined the importance of a comprehensive approach in dealing with such problems by grasping various causes including poverty.

   The development issue is the greatest challenge the world will face in the twenty-first century. In addressing this issue, we have to deal not only with the economic development problems of the developing countries but also with the social sides of development such as human rights and good governance.

   Japan has been advocating a New Development Strategy that contains such ideas. We are pleased that the concept was endorsed in 1996 at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and has been gaining support in the United Nations. This strategy is based on the philosophy that the international community should make no distinction between donor countries and recipient countries, and should tackle the problems of development as a common issue for all. In this regard, this strategy attaches great importance to the developing countries' playing an active and responsible role in their own development (the "ownership" concept). It also emphasizes positive cooperation based on partnership without distinction between developing and developed countries. These are the guiding principles of the New Development Strategy.

   Based upon these principles, the Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD II) will be held in Japan this October as a follow-up to the first conference in 1993. Its objective is to seek a path to promote the New Development Strategy in Africa so as to support African countries' own efforts for nation-building. In this regard, we aim to draw up an Agenda for Action.

   Japan also has been making the greatest contributions possible to the stable development of Asia. In the present financial and economic crisis, we have taken initiatives to implement measures of support totalling about 43 billion dollars to Asian countries, which is the largest single contribution of any nation in the world. Simultaneously, Japan is making every possible effort, through such measures as stabilizing our financial system, to put our own economy on a recovery track within the next year or two. We believe that the early recovery of our own economy is the best contribution we can make to the economies of Asia and of the world. We hope strongly that the coming conference, TICAD II, will benefit from such Asian experiences and provide a good opportunity to use the wisdom and power of the entire international community to assist the development of the African continent.

   In the post Cold War transformation of international relations, Japan is actively promoting what we call Eurasian diplomacy. This means redefining relations with countries of the Eurasian continent, including the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, and countries in the Silk Road Regions of Central Asia and the Caucasus range. This is another example of Japan's policy of promoting both peace and development in tandem.

   In today's world, problems that directly threaten people's daily lives across national borders are becoming increasingly serious. These include environmental destruction, overpopulation, human rights violations, the exodus of refugees, terrorism, drug trafficking, international organized crime, and global diseases like AIDS. To cope with these problems, our international community must be united under the concept of protecting the security and dignity of mankind from global threats. Furthermore, citizens along with governments must get together to engage in common undertakings such as making common rules. In particular, as we mark the fiftieth anniversary year of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I should like to point out that efforts against large-scale human rights violations and to ease refugee problems arising from conflicts are also indispensable for preventing conflicts.

Mr. President,

   In addressing issues of peace and development, there is an urgent need to reform the United Nations and to strengthen its functions.

   Peace and development are two sides of the same coin. At the same time, if the United Nations is to respond effectively to various problems that our international community shoulders, we urgently need to do our best to assure a healthy financial basis: this includes each Member State's sincere implementation of its obligation to pay its assessed contribution. Japan's scale of assessment will be over 20%, exceeding the sum of that of four permanent members of the Security Council not including the United States. In this situation, reform in the financial area requires serious attention. In reforming the United Nations to strengthen its functions, we must promote reforms in three interrelated areas in a balanced manner: reform in the political area, the development area and the financial area, which supports political and development activities.

   It is regrettable that, even though the chances of materializing reforms increased during the last year's General Assembly session, discussions on the reform of the Security Council have not developed since then. Under the circumstances facing the international community I mentioned earlier, reforming the Security Council to reinforce its legitimacy and effectiveness is an urgent task. Japan, with the endorsement of many countries, is prepared to assume greater responsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council. This would be in accordance with our basic philosophy of non-resort to the use of force prohibited by our Constitution. We are now in the fifth year since the concrete discussions on the reform of the Security Council started. Points of argument have been exhausted. We are now at a stage where each country should make a political decision. Japan believes that we are able to agree on a package that responds to the interests of the entire international community and to the legitima te concerns of the majority of countries. If we do not have the will to decide and act in order to achieve an agreement on such a package, we will not be able to respond effectively to challenges the international community will face in the coming century. Japan strongly urges all countries to make a bold political decision for the strengthening of the United Nations so that we may reach an agreement on the framework of the reform during the present session of the General Assembly.

Mr. President,

   The twenty-first century is just around the corner. It is our duty to preserve and develop the heritage of mankind in the coming century. The late professor Mr. Yutaka Akino, who gave his life during his mission of peacekeeping in Tajikistan, was one of my close friends. He had the following motto, "do not be pushed around by events; take action." Along the same line, the United Nations should make action a top priority and become a strong organization equipped with both effectiveness and credibility, squarely tackling all problems. We the Member States should make utmost efforts to achieve it, so that the United Nations can enter the twenty-first century as such an organization. The future of the United Nations is in the hands of the Member States. My guiding principle in Japan's policy management is to be sincere, to be steady and to be courageously prompt. I therefore should like to conclude my remarks by emphasizing my resolution to take leadership in addressing issues of peace, development and reform in a sincere, steady and courageously prompt manner.

Thank you, Mr. President.

(End)


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