Remarks by Mr. Katsuyuki Kawai
Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs
("United Nations as Peacekeeper and Nation-Builder: Continuity and Change - What Lies Ahead", Hiroshima, March 28-29, 2005)
Co-Sponsored by: UNITAR-Institute of Policy Studies of Singapore
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you for the kind introduction. I am Katsuyuki Kawai, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan.
Today, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the co-chairs for permitting me to make short remarks.
60 years ago, on a summer day an atomic bomb was thrown down on this city of Hiroshima, which took away 140,000 people's lives and memories by the end of that year, and the city of Hiroshima itself was gone.
I was born and grown up in Hiroshima. As you can well imagine, to anyone born and raised in Hiroshima, the word "peace" carries a very special implication. I believe that the message for peace from Hiroshima is common to a large extent to the idea of peacekeeping and nation-building of the United Nations, and that is why I asked the co-chairs for an opportunity to speak to you.
The city of Hiroshima, after the Second World War, had striven to get reconstructed from the ruins of the war and to overcome the binding definitions of "victim" and "perpetrator," while praying for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the achievement of world peace. This is based on the strong belief that peace will never be realized through an endless chain of hatred. This results in what the city of Hiroshima is, as you see it today. The city of Hiroshima today was not built by the people of Hiroshima or the people of Japan alone. Right after the end of war, people were saying that they would never be able to see any plants grow for at least 75 years. The reconstruction of Hiroshima, almost a miracle indeed, was only possible thanks to generous support and cooperation by the international community.
Now, as high as 70 percent of the Japanese people are in favour of participation of its country in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. I believe that this is because our contribution to the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations reminds us of the history of post-war national reconstruction of our own. Especially for people of Hiroshima, whose lives were devastated in the war, the significance of comprehensive support by the United Nations to post-conflict countries including nation-building and humanitarian assistance seems to have the most special meaning than any other people.
Six months have passed since my appointment to the post of Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Even during this short time, I have already had occasions to participate myself in international cooperation efforts aimed at achieving peace. This January, for example, I served as leader of the Japanese Delegation to the International Observation Mission dispatched to monitor the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority presidential elections. In that capacity, I was able to cooperate in ensuring the fair implementation of the vote. It was held under extremely difficult conditions, but thanks to the steadfast endeavors of the Palestinian people, and the firm support from the international community, the elections were a success, taking a critical first step forward in the field of peace-building in the region.
Prior to that, in December of last year, I traveled to Nairobi to represent the Government of Japan at the first study conference of the "Ottawa Convention." At that meeting, we clearly spelled out Japan's policy to continue supporting efforts in compliance with the following three basic principles: First, contribution to "peace-building"; second, putting stress on the perspective of "human security"; and third, advancing technological development through cooperation between the public, private, academic and non-governmental sectors. I am proud to be given the privilege to concretize the spirit of Hiroshima through my own professional activities.
We should share the view that we must break the shell of "our own exclusive tranquility," and double our efforts for peace in the world. I find it very significant that this conference titled " United Nations as Peacekeeper and Nation-Builder: Continuity and Change ~ What Lies Ahead" was not held anywhere else but here in Hiroshima.
In closing, I would like to thank you for your attention, and express my most sincere hope for the success of this conference.
Thank you so much.
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