Statement by Mr. Yasutoshi Nishimura,
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
At the Opening Ceremony of
The Third World Congress against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents

November 25, 2008, Rio de Janeiro

Your Excellency Mr. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil,
and Mrs. Marisa Letícia Lula da Silva, the Honorary Chairperson of the Third World Congress against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents,
Your Majesty Queen Sylvia of the Kingdom of Sweden,
Mr. Vannucchi, Minister and Special Secretary for Human Rights,
Distinguished Representatives of the Organizing Partners of the Third World Congress,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government of Japan, the host of the Second World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, I have the honour to extend our heartfelt congratulations, sincere appreciation and profound respect to the Government of Brazil, UNICEF, ECPAT International and NGO group for the CRC for hosting the Third World Congress and bringing the torch of the fight against sexual exploitation of children and adolescents from Yokohama to Rio de Janeiro, the city half a world away.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

(Yokohama Congress 2001)

Seven years ago, as many as three thousand participants came to Yokohama from all over the world and reaffirmed the commitment of Governments, international organizations, NGOs and civil societies to tackle the issue of sexual exploitation of children and promised to enhance cooperation. "The Yokohama Global Commitment 2001," which is the declaration adopted in Yokohama Congress as a follow-up of "Stockholm Declaration and Agenda for Action," has become one of the major international instruments for various actors to use as a guideline for their actions to address the issue.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

(Ratification of related international conventions)

Since then, significant developments have been observed especially in the area of ratifications of related international conventions. "Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography," which was not yet effective at the time of Yokohama Congress, entered into force in January 2002 and currently 129 countries have become parties to the Protocol. In addition, "ILO Convention No.182 Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour," which entered into force in November 2000, today holds 169 States Parties. These are the evidence of sincere efforts taken by the international community which has been placing great emphasis on this issue. In order to ensure compliance of these Conventions, the States Parties must earnestly consider and implement its national policies. In order to increase the number of States Parties to these conventions, the States Parties should continue to make its international efforts to encourage proactively the countries that have not yet done so to ratify these important international instruments.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

(International cooperation)

We are so much encouraged by the fact that, as the international attention to the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children increases, close cooperation has been realized among leading entities which endeavor to tackle this problem. At the G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting held in Tokyo this year, ministers renewed their own pledge to continue with the fight against sexual exploitation of children. With the aim of combating child pornography on the Internet which spreads without any borders, detection of child pornography offences have been realized by multinational cooperation. The international framework to prevent and suppress such cyber crimes has been formulated, which includes the Convention on Cybercrime that came into force in 2004.

As for Japan, we invite representatives of law-enforcement agencies, judicial institutions and NGOs from Southeast Asian countries to Japan with a view to enhancing and strengthening cooperation for investigation by exchanging views on the current situation of commercial sexual exploitation of children in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, Japan has actively supported projects designed to tackle sexual exploitation and trafficking in children in a comprehensive manner to ensure their protection and empowerment, which is an approach based on the concept of "Human Security" that Japan has been promoting for many years.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

(Challenges ahead)

Grave violation of human rights of the child still remains in such forms as child prostitution, sexual abuse caused domestically or by relatives, abuse images produced at the scene and then distributed on the Internet, pornographic depictions in which children are treated as sexual objects and transnational trafficking in children. New forms of sexual exploitation have occurred due to the development of information technologies and widespread use of the Internet and mobile phones.

We have to admit that our assembly here in Rio de Janeiro implies that tragedies still exist in reality. On this occasion, however, let us reiterate once again that sexual exploitation of children can not be tolerated, and let us renew our determination to tackle this problem together.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

(Child abuse prevention month)

In Japan, the month of November is designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month, during which we use an orange ribbon as its symbol, implement various awareness-raising activities for the prevention of child abuse including sexual abuse. The color of orange is an expression of our hope to give bright future like sunshine to our children.

In this year marking the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in order to protect human rights of children, I earnestly wish that, with the Third Congress as a new milestone and through the attention of many more people to this problem and their actions with us, we will promise to children all over the world to realize the future which is bright, robust and full of hope like brilliant rays of sunshine here in Rio de Janeiro.
Japan will proactively continue to extend its cooperation for such endeavor.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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