Remarks by Mr. Kenichi MIZUNO
Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Japan
At Round Table, "World Food Summit: five years later"
June 11, 2002
It is my great pleasure to participate in this Round Table discussion as a representative of the Japanese Government.
The Japanese Government has been actively working towards the realization of "Food security for all" and the reduction of the number of population who suffer from malnutrition. In East Asia, we observe positive development; in Africa and South Asia, however, the situation is worsening. We need to further strengthen our efforts.
Each government who faces malnutrition problem should strengthen its efforts. International community also should support such endeavors.
Efforts to increase food production should be the focus of such activities. Economic development of the country itself is also necessary in order to overcome malnutrition problem. Japan believes that the concept of "ownership" by each developing country is most important for its economic development. We also believe that "comprehensive approach" to economic development is needed. We should try to tackle various issues and tasks such as conflicts, water resources, agricultural development, health, education, empowerment of women and international trade in integrated manner with "good governance."
Then, support from international community to such efforts should be effectively implemented. I would like to touch upon Japan's efforts in this regard. Japan has provided about 7.5 billion US dollar bilateral assistance to developing economies for food production and rural development during the last 4 years. Japan has also provided contribution to FAO as the second largest donor and voluntary contribution for joint projects. "UN Human Security Fund" financed by Japan started joint projects with FAO in Sudan, Uganda, Congo Democratic Republic and East Timor. According to DAC, 37% of all agriculture-related ODA comes from Japan.
We should not close our eyes to serious situation in some African countries. As you know, African development will be one of key topics in G8 Summit and the WSSD (World Summit for Sustainable Development) this year. I distributed a document, which explains Japan's efforts in this regard. Next year, we will organize the 3rd meeting of TICAD in Japan. Through TICAD process, we support sustainable development, including agriculture sector.
Japan has been strongly supporting the research project of "NERICA" or "New Rice for Africa". We are very happy to share Asian experiences in rice production with African friends. We praise efforts by West African Rice Development Association to develop "NERICA".
Japan attaches high importance to so-called "south-south cooperation". Potential benefits are enormous, if neighboring countries and regions could share their experiences and know-how to overcome similar problems. Such "south-south" cooperation will also promote sense of "ownership".
In trade area, Japan is committed to work towards the objective of duty-free, quota-free market access to products from LDCs.
In conclusion, I assure you that Japan continues to collaborate with all of you to achieve the goal of the World Food Summit.
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