Statement by Mr. Mikio Mori
Minister of Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Delegation of Japan

On Agenda Item 32: Question relating to Information

Fourth Committee
Sixty-third Session of the General Assembly
21 October 2008

Mr. Chairman,

I would first like to associate with the previous speakers in extending my delegation's gratitude to the Secretary-General's work on the report A/63/258 and express my profound appreciation to every activity conducted by the Department of Public Information (DPI), which places its priority on peace and security, development, and human rights corresponding to the three pillars of the United Nations' responsibility. In this context, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is being celebrated this year all over the world, including Japan. Furthermore, I appreciate the promotion of public information conducted by United Nations Information Centers (UNICs) in 80 local languages around the world, which meets the spirit of the multilingualism. I also commend DPI who are taking on the challenges of improving their effectiveness and rationalizing their operations under the firm leadership of Under-Secretary-General Kiyo Akasaka.

During the period of the first half of 2008 covered by the Secretary-General's report, Japan held various important international events, namely, the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in May, and the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in July. In addition, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited our country twice upon the official invitation of the Government of Japan in June and again in July to attend a part of the G8 Summit. Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro also visited Japan in order to attend TICAD IV on behalf of the United Nations. Japan highly appreciates the role played by DPI during these visits, especially in connection with events related to the visit of the Secretary-General such as arranging high-level meetings, public lectures, and press conferences, which were particularly useful in terms of the promotion of a positive image of the United Nations in Japan.

Mr. Chairman,

The G8 Summit in Hokkaido addressed development and African issues including achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the environment with a focus on climate change, and the steep rise in global food and commodity prices that affect the efforts of achieving the MDGs. In this regard, my delegation particularly welcomes the strong personal initiative of the Secretary-General to mobilize the entire UN system to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for short and medium term food security. The high-level meeting held on 25 September provided an ideal opportunity for world leaders to recommit to cooperation for the achievement of the MDGs. Therefore, I trust and expect that DPI will continue to publicly promote such crucial events conducted by the United Nations in an appropriate manner.

My delegation's appreciation extends also to the DPI's work on strengthening the mechanism of the UNIC offices, which is clearly stated by the Secretary-General in his report. In order to cooperate with DPI's activities, Japan supported DPI in organizing the Strategic Communication Workshop for Asia and the Pacific which was held in Bangkok in January this year. The workshop was attended by officials of DPI as well as UNICs' Directors who came from Asia and the Pacific region, and I am convinced that the workshop contributed to DPI in reinforcing its actions in terms of capacity building and networking for the UNICs in the region.

As the Secretary-General's report emphasized, in order to support the United Nations' activities in the field of peace and security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan jointly organized with DPI the "Seminar on the 60 Years of UN Peacekeeping Operations." It was remarkable that four high-ranking UN officials at USG level such as Jean-Marie Guehenno, then Under-Secretary-General for PKO, Ian Martin, Special Representative of the SG for Nepal (UNMIN), Taye-Brook Zerihoun, Special Representative of the SG in Cyprus, and USG Kiyo Akasaka himself participated in this event which gathered approximately 140 members of academia, opinion leaders, and government officials. The participants actively discussed the various challenges PKOs are currently facing, based on its 60 years' history, and also the possibility for Japan to contribute further in UN peacekeeping operations.

Holding the seminar on UN peacekeeping demonstrates Japan's commitment to actively participate in international activities for peace and security. In this regard, I should like to mention here that our country was elected as Non-Permanent Member of the Security Council on 17 October, thanks to the support of quite a large number of member states. We therefore would like to further play a more positive and constructive role in promoting and maintaining international peace and security as a member of the Security Council starting next January.

Mr. Chairman,

Considering the various global challenges the world faces today, I expect DPI, as the very organ for publicizing the work of the United Nations, to deploy further strategic operations and implement activities in a more efficient and transparent manner than ever before. In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Japan's determination to continue our support to the Department of Public Information.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

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