(Provisional Translation)

Address by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the Asian Regional Conference for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

January 14, 2003
Japaneseother site

Distinguished representatives, ladies and gentlemen,
Upon the opening of the Asian Regional Conference for the World Summit on the Information Society, I would like to extend to all of you my warmest welcome.

During the last decade, new technologies, such as the Internet and cellular phones, have bloomed one after another and diffused on a global basis. As a result, people's lives and businesses around the world have significantly changed; for example, information flows instantly across national borders, which enables you to do shopping at foreign-based shops while being at home. Information and communications technologies bring people who live far apart closer, build ties among people, generate new businesses, create a new culture through convergence of different cultures and enrich people's lives.

We are responsible for developing a sound information society that brings about unlimited benefits to humankind. We have to protect our society against cyber-terrorism and human rights violations, through finding solutions to new problems of the information society, including privacy protection and information security. However, gaps in benefits from the information society should not exist between one country and another, one area and another, the haves and have-nots, men and women, the young and the elderly.

Japan aims to become the world's most advanced IT nation by 2005. Through active measures towards "sustainable economic growth" and "construction of a secure and safe society," the government of Japan wishes to create an information society benefiting not just Japan but also the entire global community.

The Asia-Pacific region is proud of its diverse cultures and civilizations, comprised of some 3,000 languages and nurtured by long, multifaceted histories. The information society must respect and foster cultural diversity. I am convinced that the information society developing in this diverse Asia-Pacific region will surely contribute to the development of a global information society.

I understand that at this conference, representatives of governments, international organizations, private businesses and NGOs will adopt a "declaration" as the result of forward-looking, constructive discussions on various issues concerning the information society. The World Summit on the Information Society will be held this December. I would like to conclude my greetings by stating my firm belief that joint effort of the people in the Asia-Pacific region will be a driving force for the Information Society in the 21st century.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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