United Nations Consolidated Appeals and Japan
Speech by Mr. Toshimitsu Motegi
Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
Tokyo, November 20, 2002
Mr. Jim Morris, Executive Director of the World Food Program,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, the United Nations launches an emergency appeal in eight cities around the world.
The United Nations was established as an organization responsible for the governance of the post World War II world. However, the world has recently undergone rapid globalization at a speed far faster than we expected. The rules for world governance are lagging behind this rapid progress, and the people, the very bases for governance, are still unable to achieve participation: one out of five people in the world live in abject poverty; one in 700 suffer from tuberculosis; and one in 250 seek refuge from warfare in temporary shelters far away from their homeland.
1. The world in the 1990's.
In retrospect, the nineties was a decade in which hope and despair were intertwined. A fateful experiment called communism came to an end in the Soviet Union, and humanity appeared to be finally freed from ideological warfare. Information and communication technologies were developing geometrically, and new business models were shining like a magic carpet which brings wealth to the world over. Some countries have seized these new opportunities and made a big leap forward, and others have completely shed their past gloomy images.
Left behind from these positive moves, however, some countries are slipping away from economic growth and social development. Most serious of all is the quiet but steadily widening gap among developing countries, as is seen in Sub-Saharan Africa. Out of 47 Sub-Saharan countries, about 20 are growing at an annual rate of 4-5 %, the most notable example being Mozambique, which recorded a robust growth of more than 13 % a few years ago. Other economies in the region, however, remain sluggish and people are forced to live on less than one dollar a day.
2. The Meaning of September 11
Fourteen months ago, we witnessed live through late night news programs surreal scenes: the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Making weapons out of civilian aircraft with innocent ordinary people aboard to target non-government establishments with innocent ordinary people working inside, these terrorist attacks were despicable acts unprecedented in the history of mankind. At least 24 Japanese were killed. September 11 has gravely shaken the basic notion of the state and international relations familiar to us. Before, we assumed that the state consisted of citizens, territory and power, but an entity without these elements violently attacked democratic states on September 11, 2001, in a way nobody had ever thought of.
When we look back and ponder the meaning of the state and national borders, we realize that in financial markets huge amounts of money ? up to ten trillion dollars ? is transacted across national borders in one day through clicks of the mouse. The Asian currency crisis, which was triggered by the crash of the Thai baht, was the typical example.
Likewise, at the start of the new century, the era of "inter-national" relations, which is based on the relations between nation states following the model of the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, is now over. Today's world has entered an era in which people or citizens are directly interfacing with each other through their own activities. We have to face this reality. This, I think, is the foremost characteristic of the new globalized world.
3. Leadership of Japan
To our grave dismay, today's rapidly changing world is causing turmoil under our nose. In the midst of this turmoil, which is inevitable in a changing world, some people are unable to find ways and means to live on their own and are feeling at a loss, while others are directly victimized. This hurts me gravely.
I believe that we most exert leadership in this time of upheaval.
The first thing to do is to develop calmly but swiftly international rules, which have been lagging behind the rapidly changing socio-economic realities. The UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe are typical examples of actions to plug loopholes in the international legal system. WTO negotiations and the reform of international financial systems are searches for rules that will enable people around the world to participate in world trade and finance. This is one area where Japan's wisdom can contribute.
The second point is nation-building in adverse circumstances. Without relying upon natural resource, we have built today's Japan solely out of diligence and human resource. Although Japan's economy is said to be in a critical situation, Japan still produces one-seventh of the world's wealth. This is why Prime Minister Koizumi strongly appealed on the occasion of the Johannesburg Summit that human resource building is the very foundation of nation building.
Having said this and turning our eyes to today's consolidated appeals of the UN, we need to think about the people suffering at this moment. Today's consolidated appeals call for the unity of the world so that fifty million men and women, including children and the elderly, who are living, or struggling to live, in about thirty countries or territories can lead a life with human dignity. Japan would like to show leadership in this area as well.
As I referred to at the outset, today's world governance system, symbolized by the UN, is getting worn out decades after its fabrication. It may be difficult to cut all the knots with one stroke, but each and every UN organization should face the reality of today's world and mend the points which should be mended. Taking this occasion of the launch of UN appeals, I would like to reiterate that the United Nations reform, which Japan strongly advocates, is the very area in which Japan should demonstrate its leadership.
I firmly believe that Japan's leadership in the UN reform will promote world-wide understanding of the consolidated appeals and thus will bring about great success.
Thank you very much for your attention.
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