(provisional translation)

Congratulatory address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Commemorative Ceremony of the 50th Anniversary of Japan's Admission to the United Nations

December 18, 2006

It is my great pleasure to have the opportunity to express my congratulations on the occasion of the Commemorative Ceremony of the 50th Anniversary of Japan's Admission to the United Nations, in the presence of Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress of Japan and with the attendance of many people from Japan and overseas.

The United Nations states in its Charter that its purposes are: to maintain international peace and security; develop friendly relations among nations; achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of economic and social character as well as in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights; and to serve as a center for harmonizing the actions of nations towards the attainment of these common ends. Joining this Organization, that plays a central role in efforts towards world peace and prosperity, was an earnest wish for Japan as we ourselves were making a fresh start as a nation of peace.

My grandfather Nobusuke Kishi, when he was Minister for Foreign Affairs, placed the United Nations at the heart of our diplomacy. In his foreign policy speech immediately after Japan's accession to the Organization, he placed respect for the United Nations as the foundation of Japan's diplomacy and expressed that Japan always stands ready to make appropriate contribution to strengthen the authority of the United Nations and to attain world peace through the Organization. Indeed, Japan has proactively contributed to UN efforts for the past 50 years to realize a better world in important areas such as peace, development and human rights.

The United Nations has adapted its scope of activities to meet the needs of the time and today it is engaged in efforts to deal with new issues related to human security, such as terrorism and infectious diseases. In order to realize an effective United Nations that is capable of addressing these issues, discussions have taken place on UN reforms and new frameworks such as the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council have been established. Reviews are also underway on matters that form the foundation of the UN activities, in pursuit of a more equitable sharing of financial burden as well as efficient and transparent functioning of the Secretariat. Japan is actively promoting UN reform along these lines.

As for the Security Council, although expectations have been high since the end of the Cold War, the structure of the Council has hardly changed since the inception of the United Nations six decades ago. This year, with regard to the nuclear activities and missile launches of North Korea, the Security Council swiftly brought together the will of the international community and expressed them in a resolute form. Japan played a major role in this process as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. In order for the Security Council to make such important decisions, however, it is imperative that participation of countries with the will and the capacity to bear the primary responsibility for the maintaining of international peace and security be ensured. The Security Council therefore must be reformed to reflect the realities of the 21st century. Japan, for its part, is determined to take on its full responsibilities through gaining a permanent membership in the Security Council.

I should like to express my determination that, Japan will continue contribute to the activities of the United Nations in various fields as a key member of the international community.

Finally, let me conclude by extending once again my heartfelt congratulations, on behalf of the Government of Japan and the peoples of Japan, to the organizers of this Commemorative Ceremony of the 50th Anniversary of Japan's Admission to the United Nations, and by also by expressing my wishes for the further development of the United Nations.

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