Statement by Foreign Minister Maehara
at the High-level Side Event on Innovative Financing
(New York, 21 September 2010)
I appreciate that many countries and organizations have joined today's Side Event. In particular, I would like to express my gratitude to the countries that have decided to participate responding to Japan's invitation. I would also like to express my heartfelt respect for the leadership that France and Belgium have exerted in organizing this Event.
From the viewpoint of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is necessary to promote international efforts on innovative financing. In order to lead international discussions, Japan assumed the Presidency of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development (LG) in June this year. Japan will host the 8th Plenary Meeting of the LG in Tokyo on December 16th and 17th.
Japan, as the President of the LG, attaches importance to active participation in discussions by a broader range of countries. Japan, thus, calls on countries to understand the importance of innovative financing and to join discussions at the LG, while transcending differences in their individual positions and opinions.
In this regard, Japan proposes the following principles on innovative financing as the basis for deepening discussions.
- (1) It should utilize new and innovative mechanisms.
- (2) It should mobilize additional funds that supplement the existing resources.
- (3) It should be sustainable and predictable to enable stable financing.
Based on these principles, I hope that each country will make possible efforts to advance consideration on innovative financing.
I would like to take this opportunity to explain my views on two specific initiatives. Firstly, levies on airline tickets meet the aforementioned three principles. At the same time, we need to have thorough discussions on the relationship between benefits and burdens, namely the question on why airline passengers should bear the burdens. With this perspective in mind, the Government of Japan will look into the introduction of international solidarity taxes, including airline ticket levies, in reviewing the tax system for the next fiscal year.
Japan welcomes the advancement of discussions on currency transaction development taxes at the Task Force on International Financial Transactions and its Expert Committee. At the same time, currency transaction taxes would entail complex technical and legal issues. We need to overcome these challenges through pragmatic discussions on the feasibility of such taxes. I would like to call for further consideration on the following points, the importance of which has been highlighted in the previous discussions.
- (1) Consistency with the principle of governments' autonomy to levy taxes
- (2) Relationship with the notion that each country should decide how to use its own tax revenues
- (3) Consistency with domestic laws and international agreements such as the WTO agreements
- (4) Necessity of introducing taxes simultaneously to prevent tax evasion
- (5) Necessity of minimizing a negative impact on the market such as the increased cost of currency transactions
Japan, as the President of the LG, will actively contribute to discussion on these points with a view to overcoming challenges by thorough consideration.
I hope that today's active discussion will further raise awareness on innovative financing in each country. Japan wishes to expand the circle of discussion by gaining a broader participation in the 8th Plenary Meeting of the LG to be held in Tokyo this December and to contribute to the achievement of international development goals.
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