Statement by Ms. Satomi Okagaki
Delegation of Japan
On Social Development (Items 61, 62 and 63)
Sixtieth Session of the General Assembly
4 October 2005
At the outset, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the delegation of Japan, to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. We have full confidence in your leadership and assure you of our full support and cooperation in order to guarantee the success of the work of the Committee during the sixtieth session of the General Assembly.
Japan welcomes the successful outcome of the forty-third session of the Commission for Social Development which convened high-level plenary meetings on the 10-year review of the implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and the Programme of Action. The forty-third session of the Commission offered us an opportunity to reclaim Copenhagen and renew the momentum to strengthen social development. Japan fully supports its outcome document entitled "Declaration on the tenth anniversary of the World Summit for Social Development," which reaffirmed that people must be at the center of development efforts.
In this regard, Japan has been promoting "human security" as one of the key perspectives of Japan's foreign policy. Human security is a concept of protecting and empowering people vis-à-vis critical and pervasive threats and situations thus enhancing human fulfillment. Endorsing human security, Japan supports the emphasis on a people-centered approach. In the area of international assistance, Japan launched its medium-term policy on ODA in February 2005, which states that Japan has been contributing and will continue to contribute, actively to efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, emphasizing the need to adopt the perspective of human security. At the World Summit last month, Prime Minister Koizumi stated that the United Nations would need to encourage the ownership of developing countries through partnership with the international community, focusing on a human-centered approach that we call "human security." In this regard, Japan welcomes the commitment made by Member States in the 2005 World Summit Outcome to discuss the notion of "human security" in the General Assembly. Japan is committed to take a leading role to promote the discussions together with Member States.
Japan attaches great importance to the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging and supports the idea presented in the report of the Secretary-General that the mainstreaming of aging in national plans and international strategies is essential to that end. Japan is steadily enforcing the measures it has taken in this area with regard to its socio-economic system, so as to tackle the problems of its rapidly aging society. In the area of employment, it maintains a system of continuous employment for persons up to the age of 65, and has also elaborated on a system to promote re-employment of the elderly. Japan has also initiated reforms of its pension and medical care systems. And in order to promote the fulfillment and health of the elderly, grants are provided for educational and social activities. In regard to aspects of everyday living, facilities such as elevators and escalators in public transportation terminals are being designed and built taking into consideration that they are to be used by the elderly. Japan reiterates its commitment to ensure that the challenges of aging and the concerns of older persons are adequately incorporated into national and international policy and programmes.
With regard to the issues facing persons with disabilities, recognizing the importance of protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, Japan has been participating actively in the negotiations of the Ad Hoc Committee on the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. Japan welcomes the significant progress we have made during the sixth session of the Ad Hoc Committee in August and reiterates its commitment to continuing its cooperation in this initiative. Japan shares the views presented in the report of the Secretary-General and has been enhancing dialogue and cooperation with non-governmental organizations in this area. With regard to Japan's legislative activity, the Basic Law for Persons with Disabilities was amended in 2004 to include articles on the prohibition of discrimination against persons with disabilities and to provide such persons with a greater opportunity for participation in policy-making. Japan has made considerable progress in promoting accessibility in the physical environment, including access to transport services and buildings, and we are making efforts to accelerate the process of realizing a barrier-free society. Japan has been enhancing international cooperation in this field from the perspective of human security, for example, through grant aid for the construction of facilities that are friendly to persons with disabilities and through provision of technical assistance, including vocational training for persons with disabilities.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond. As presented in the report of the Secretary-General, although the ten priorities included in the World Programme of Action remain critical, there are also new issues identified in the World Youth Report 2003 which must be tackled. Japan hopes that the plenary meeting on 6 October will provide us with an opportunity to address all these issues and to evaluate the progress made in the implementation of the World Programme of Action.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairperson, the delegation of Japan wishes to reaffirm its sincere hope that Japan will be able to contribute to efforts to create a society for all from a perspective of human security, by protecting and empowering individuals' lives, livelihoods and dignity.
Thank you very much.
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