Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

September 2, 2019

H.E. Dr. Miroslav LAJČÁK, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic,
Excellencies, Representatives of the OSCE member countries and Partners for Cooperation,
Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government of Japan, I am delighted to welcome you to the 2019 OSCE Asian Conference. I would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Slovakia as the OSCE Chair, Italy as the Chair of the Contact Group with the Asian Partners for Cooperation, and the Secretariat of the OSCE, for their great efforts in preparing this Conference.

Japan is the oldest partner country of the OSCE. In February 2018, Minister Kono paid the first ever visit to the OSCE headquarters by a Japanese Foreign Minister in the long history of partnership. Last December, I myself participated in the 25th OSCE Ministerial Council in Milan. And today, it is a great honor and privilege for us to host the 2019 OSCE Asian Conference.

Why does Japan put great importance on cooperation with the OSCE? The reason is that the approach of the OSCE in terms of its comprehensive treatment of security is in line with Japan’s vision, which emphasizes human security and “Proactive Contribution to Peace based on the principle of international cooperation”.

Today, the international community is facing a fundamental challenge: one against the free and open international order based on the rule of law. If it is undermined, Europe will be destabilized and it will directly affect the security of Asia as well.

In order to manage these challenges, it is necessary to support the rules-based international order comprehensively. This is the reason why Japan is cooperating actively with the OSCE as its oldest Asian partner.

If the rule of law were to be further undermined in East Asia, it would potentially have a great impact on the OSCE member states as well. Thus it is necessary for the international community to unite in dealing with the issue.

First, regarding North Korea, it is important that the international community remain united in supporting the US-North Korea Process in order to realize CVID (Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Dismantlement) of all WMDs, in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions. From this perspective, the full implementation of the UNSCRs, including countering North Korea’s “ship-to-ship transfers”, is critical.

Also, the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea is the top priority for Japan. I would like to ask the OSCE member states for their continued understanding and cooperation towards its early resolution.

Secondly, maritime security. A free and open maritime domain is indispensable for the peace and stability of the world. Japan has been promoting the rule of law at sea. It is a universal principle that must be upheld not only in the Indo-Pacific but everywhere around the world, including in Europe. Japan will continue to firmly hold to the rule of law at sea, and endeavor to promote it while cooperating with the relevant countries.

The theme of this year's Conference is “How to achieve comprehensive security in the digital era”. Cyberspace is a new corridor that unites Asia with Europe, and it has neither borders nor regional frameworks. In this new domain, there must be a new posture of cooperation between the OSCE and its Partner Countries for the future.

I hope that, the discussions during these two days will be fruitful and meaningful.

Thank you very much.

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