Health and Medical Care
Address by Prime Minister SUGA at the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
1. On December 4th, at 06:26 a.m.（JST）, Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide delivered a video speech (around 5 minutes) at the General Debate of the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
2. The full text of the speech is as follows:
I am SUGA Yoshihide, Prime Minister of Japan.
I wish to express my deep respect and sincere gratitude to the people around the world fighting this pandemic, including front-line health workers, for their dedicated efforts. I would also like to show my respect to the United Nations including the World Health Organization for their hard work and tireless efforts.
The COVID-19 pandemic has confronted the humanity with an unprecedented challenge. Japan will continue to protect people’s lives and livelihoods by harnessing the wisdom of the public and private sectors as well as preventing the spread of infections.
This crisis has reminded us of the need for global solidarity. To overcome this crisis, we must realize a “united world”, not a “divided world”, in the face of this challenge.
In particular, the UN is a forum where all stakeholders engage constructively and work together with transparency. Japan stands ready to cooperate in the review and reform process of the WHO in order to not only overcome the current crisis, but also to be better prepared for future crises.
This crisis is threatening people's lives, livelihoods and dignity across the globe.It is important to aim at “leaving no one’s health behind” in achieving Universal Health Coverage, guided by the principle of “human security”.
Therefore, Japan has been promptly taking multi-layered efforts: first, to overcome the current crisis of the pandemic; second, to strengthen health and medical systems for future crises; and, third, to generate an environment that is resilient to infectious diseases.
To overcome the pandemic, multilateral cooperation schemes such as the ACT accelerator are of critical importance. Japan, as a founding donor of the ACT, responded rapidly to the call for contributions to the COVAX facility, and will promote the supply of therapeutics through voluntary licensing of patents.
Strengthening health and medical systems is important for preparedness in the face of future health crises. Japan has helped to reinforce community health systems by establishing core medical facilities, promoting networking among those facilities, and training health workers, mainly in Asia and African countries.
To generate an environment that is resilient to infectious diseases, Japan supports cross-sectoral activities in such fields as nutrition, water, and sanitation, in cooperation with the private sector. The continued spread of COVID-19 is exacerbating the problem of malnutrition. Japan will host the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit in December 2021, and will commit to strengthening global efforts to improve nutrition in partnership with the UN Food Systems Summit, to be held next autumn.
It is also essential to revive the damaged global economy and realize economic growth in order to create a new society in the COVID- and post-COVID-era. To bolster economic activities in developing countries, Japan is implementing the COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan of up to \500 billion, or US$4.5 billion, over the course of two years.
Furthermore, Japan is committed to leading efforts towards sustainable development, through our efforts including digitalization, realization of a decarbonized society, expansion of a free and fair economic zone, and maintaining and strengthening of the multilateral free trade system.
At the UN General Assembly in September this year, I expressed my strong determination to host the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of next year as proof that humanity has defeated the pandemic. I will continue to spare no effort to bring about the Games that are safe and secure. Thank you.
[Note] Special Session of the United Nations General Assmbly in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Considering the severe disruption to societies and economies caused by unprecedented and negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and importance of comprehensive, innovative and coordinated global response based on multilateral cooperation, the Special Session of the United Nations General Assmbly in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic was proposed by Azerbaijan, chair of Non-Aligned Countries.