Opening Statement by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the Press Conference on the World Summit on Sustainable Development

September 3, 2002

I came to this Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), to join other distinguished world leaders in addressing the challenge of defining what must be done in order to ensure sustainable development for all. We had our consultations under the strong leadership of President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mmbeki of the Republic of South Africa and I trust that tomorrow afternoon, with the formal adoption of the relevant documents, the meeting will conclude successfully. I am most gratified that such results are being achieved.

At this Summit I strongly and repeatedly appealed to the gathering that the greatest cause for Japan's development to date, although the country does not have much natural resources, is due to human resource development. Japan, also in the process of its growth, suffered serious pollutions. So, behind the successful history of growth and development, we also cannot disregard this experience in mistakes of serious pollution. How are we to overcome such serious environmental pollution and achieve both environmental protection and development? This is a question that is not just for Japan, not just for developing countries and not just for the developed world. It is a challenge for all peoples around the world, for all countries on all continents of this globe.

Cognizant of this, Japan wishes to share both the examples of successes as well as failures of Japan's own experience, so that peoples in developing countries will not again repeat the mistakes that Japan committed in the past. This is another point that I stressed. Japan, also, throughout has exercised its leadership in drawing up and concluding the Kyoto Protocol because of this philosophy. Building on this philosophy, at the gathering I also appealed strongly for the early conclusion of the Kyoto Protocol and stepped-up efforts against global warming.

To reduce poverty, in the first instance, the developing countries themselves must achieve good governance, promote the liberalization and promotion of trade and investment and act on development with ownership. The international community also needs to extend its helping as an equal partner. In doing this, we must recognize that there are ways that are suitable for each country, ways that may not be suitable in other countries that might be suitable in a particular country. We should respect the ownership of each country, each recipient of assistance, and provide assistance. This is Japan's assistance philosophy. In general I believe that Japan's philosophy has gained the understanding and the concurrence of other countries. As a result, these views will be reflected in the result of the Summit meeting and I am most gratified.

Johannesburg should also be oriented, before anything else, towards concrete action. That is why Japan is determined to provide US$2 billion in education assistance and also human resource development in the environmental protection area for 5,000 people over a five-year period. These items constitute the so-called Koizumi Initiative.

Also, on the occasion of the Summit meeting, in the wings of the meeting I also had bilateral meetings, one-on-one meetings, with President Thabo Mmbeki, as well as Secretary-General Kofi Annan of the United Nations, and engaged in very useful exchanges of views on the questions related with environment and development.

There will be no world stability and prosperity in the 21st century without the resolution of the problems in Africa, where poverty in particular, is particularly acute. This is a matter that my predecessor Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori stressed from time-to-time, and I also wish to stress this point. Japan should like to make use of its ability as much as possible in the interest of sustainable development on our planet. And through cooperation with the various countries concerned, we should like to see to it that each country will play its part in making in this a reality.

I would like to express my gratitude to President Thabo Mmbeki and to the people of South Africa, as well as all of the people involved in organizing this Summit meeting for all of their efforts. Thank you very much.

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