Greeting Speech of Dr. Genshitsu Sen, President of the United Nations Association of Japan

December 18, 2006

It is truly a privilege to be able to co-sponsor, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this special ceremony being honored by the presence of their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, commemorating Japan's 50th Anniversary as a member nation of the United Nations.

Japan became a member of the UN in 1956, just at the point in time when things were gradually returning to order after the confusion following World War II, and [when] our nation was starting to achieve stable economic growth.

The United Nations itself was inaugurated before the War's end in 1945, and already in 1947, because it was felt that Japan ought to become a member nation, our "United Nations Association of Japan" Foundation was established and began its activities. To impress upon the people of Japan how important it was for Japan to join the United Nations, energetic activities were carried out by private citizens, as a kind of grass roots movement.

Now, 50 years since Japan became a member nation, the UN itself has reached a time for change. Sixty-one years have passed since the UN was inaugurated, and conflicts continue to occur in different regions of the world. The question of how the UN needs to function so that unwavering peace will come to this world, ... and with that, the question of the constitution of the UN organization itself, seems to require re-evaluation.

At the end of this December, Kofi Annan will retire as UN Secretary-General after having served in this position for 6 years, and from January, the UN order will be under Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea, the new Secretary-General. We should look forward to the UN's new stand under a Secretary-General appointed from Asia.

Four years have gone by since I accepted my appointment as President of this Association (- the United Nations Association of Japan). From even before that, as Iemoto and then Former Iemoto of the Urasenke Chado Tradition, I made trips to countries around the world based on my idea of "Peace through a Bowl of Tea," and have been appealing for World Peace. As a war veteran who lost many companions in the war, and as someone who in flesh and blood knows the value of peace, I have striven at these, considering it my mission.

Lately, due to the foolish acts of mankind, the destruction of nature has progressed, and people worldwide are focused on measures to solve the environmental problems.

People must be partners with nature, the "Green Mountains and Blue Waters." If all people felt blessed to be able to live on this earth, there would naturally arise mutual recognition that discriminations are unsubstantial and we are the same human beings, and probably conflicts would then subside.

Lastly, I would like to conclude by saying that I want to take this 50th Anniversary as a fresh step forward and, although my own powers are small, inasmuch as Japan's active participation in the UN ought to receive our backup, I want to appeal to Japan's citizens to renew their appreciation of Japan's role within the UN.

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