26 March 2003

Mr. President

Thank you for convening today's meeting.

Japan has consistently sought a peaceful solution to the problem of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction through international coordination, and has exerted its own diplomatic efforts, including the dispatch of the Prime Minister's Special Envoy to Iraq.

Weapons of mass destruction are terrible weapons which indiscriminately kill and maim civilians in large numbers. We must seriously consider the situation in which such inhumane weapons are in the hands of a dictator who represses his own people. In the world today, the question of whether or not one possesses weapons of mass destruction is not something that could be left unanswered.

Mr. President,

Japan has stressed that the United Nations Security Council must act in unity and fulfill its responsibility for the peace and security of the world. It is regrettable that the Security Council ultimately could not reach a common view and thus failed to stand united.

However, we could not leave this problem unresolved forever. This is because in the course of twelve years, Iraq has time and again violated seventeen Security Council resolutions; although the international community gave it repeated opportunities for a peaceful solution, Iraq made no effort to seize such opportunities and repeatedly violated the Security Council resolutions; and it failed to take the final opportunity afforded by resolution 1441 and to the very end refused to respond to the earnest efforts by the international community. Although it was clear that only Iraq held the key to peace, it closed off the way to peace through its own actions. Iraq did not demonstrate that it was fundamentally changing its attitude.

In no situation is it easy to make a decision to support use of force. It goes without saying that the best way possible would be for the weapons of mass destruction to be dismantled without an armed conflict. However, in a situation where that is impossible, Japan has come to the conclusion that as a responsible member of the international community, it supports the actions taken by the United States and its coalition partners.

Mr. President,

It is Japan's heartfelt hope that the combat will be concluded at the earliest possible time with the minimum casualties, and that the threat posed by Iraq to the international community will be removed. We also find it essential that Iraq be rebuilt as soon as possible and its people be able to live peacefully in a free and prosperous society. Toward that end, it is important that the international community cooperate in supporting the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Iraq; Japan, for its part, will address this issue actively.

Mr. president,

Japan deeply recognizes that anxiety about the future in the Middle East is mounting because of the military actions against Iraq. Now is the time for Japan to make further efforts for peace and stability in the region.

In accordance with this basic policy, Japan has decided to implement humanitarian assistance including aid for refugees and assistance for neighboring countries totaling approximately 112.53 million dollars. Specifically, it has announced (a) assistance to be provided through international organizations at 5.03 million dollars; (b) assistance through Japanese NGO's at 3.3 million dollars; (c) assistance for strengthening emergency medical care system through the Japan International Cooperation Agency; and (d) humanitarian emergency assistance in personnel and material based on its International Peace Cooperation Law. Japan also decided to extend 100 million dollars in grant aid to Jordan and 4.2 million dollars in food aid to Palestinian refugees through UNRWA.

Moreover, Japan will strengthen its efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East, and will promote such steps as dialogue and exchanges with the Islamic world.

Japan strongly hopes that the international community will focus on the tasks that lie ahead, and that the United Nations, including the Security Council, will be united in the effort to restore peace and stability in Iraq and the surrounding area. Japan, for its part, will contribute actively to ensure that the United Nations will fulfill its primary expected functions so that solutions can be found to the various challenges facing the international community.

Thank you very much.

Related Information (The Issue of Iraq)
Related Information (Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations (2003))

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