Opening remarks of Prime Minister Taro ASO
at Joint Press Opportunity
with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

(July 1, 2009)

First of all, I would like to express my great pleasure to welcome the distinguished visit of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The importance of the United Nations has been even more enhanced in addressing international challenges including North Korea, climate change, and peacebuilding. I very much appreciate the active efforts that the Secretary-General has been making to address these issues.

Today, I believe that we had a very valuable exchange of views regarding North Korea. The nuclear test and the launch of ballistic missiles by North Korea constitute a grave challenge and a threat against the international community. Accordingly, North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons shall never be accepted.

In order to halt nuclear and missile development by North Korea, it is essential that each and every member state should steadily observe the UN Security Council Resolution 1874. In this regard, I asked the Secretary-General for his cooperation. The UN's continued cooperation is expected in improving the human rights situation in North Korea including the abduction issue.

Regarding the issue of climate change, I elaborated on Japan's efforts based on the mid-term goal announced last month. In that regard, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his appreciation for the fact that Japan's mid-term target is based on so-called "clear water" to be achieved only through domestic reduction efforts. In particular, I expressed Japan's resolve to actively lead the international discussion at G8 L'Aquila Summit and the Major Economies Forum (MEF) as well as at COP15 which is scheduled in Copenhagen at the end of this year. In response, Secretary-General expressed his appreciation and expectation towards Japan's role, and I expect the Secretary-General's cooperation in this regard.

Regarding the issue of the UN Security Council reform, we confirmed the importance of realizing it at an earliest possible timing in order for the United Nations to respond effectively for the peace and stability of the world. In our meeting today, I conveyed the Japanese Government's decision to register the logistic support capabilities of the Self-Defense Forces to the United Nations Stand-by Arrangements System (UNSAS) to participate more actively in UN peacekeeping operations.

The Secretary-General informed me of his visit to Myanmar following his visit to Japan, and I expressed once again my respect and support for his decision even under the difficult situation surrounding Myanmar.

After this, we will continue our discussion at a dinner table over a broad range of issues including counter-terrorism, piracy, disarmament and non-proliferation. In conclusion, I wish to take this opportunity of the Secretary-General's visit to Japan to strengthen the cooperation between Japan and the United Nations.

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