Statement by Mr. Naoki KAZAMA
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of JAPAN
at the First ACD Summit

16 October 2012


His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait, Distinguished Delegates,

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of the State of Kuwait for its efforts and warm hospitality to host the inaugural ACD Summit under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Sabah.

One and a half years has elapsed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Japan is now steadily advancing along the path of reconstruction. I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Japanese people, to express our heartfelt gratitude for the generous and warm support, and encouragement we received from all over the world, including ACD Member Countries. Especially, from Kuwait, we received a donation of 5 million barrels of crude oil right after the Earthquake, as well as additional donation during the state visit of His Highness Sheikh Sabah to Japan this March as a state guest. I would like to express our profound gratitude for Kuwait's warm support.

His Highness Chairman,

The ACD is a unique and characteristic framework for regional cooperation. Its membership covers the whole Asian Continent from East Asia to Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia and Central Asia. And the religious and cultural backgrounds of the Member Countries are rich in diversity. The total population and GDP of the Member Countries are approximately 60% and 30% of those of the world respectively, while many of the Member Countries maintain high economic growth even in uncertain situation of the global economy.

Promoting cooperation and dialogue under the ACD, and taking advantage of such uniqueness would contribute in deepening our mutual understanding among Member Countries and thus building a basis for sustainable development in the region. In this respect, Japan has been actively engaged in the cooperation under the ACD and has implemented a number of projects as a Prime Mover in the area of "Environmental Education" and "Strengthening Legal Infrastructure".

On the other hand, I notice that, at the Foreign Ministers' Breakfast Meeting last month in NY, several Member Countries rightly pointed out that we might need to review the existing areas and ways of cooperation under the ACD in order to address new and emerging challenges and situation. In this regard, I welcome the proposal of the State of Kuwait and Thailand to convene a working group to make recommendations regarding mechanism of the ACD. I hope that we could have a meaningful discussion on this issue as well during the Summit to present proper guidance for future work of a working group.

His Highness Chairman,

Today, among the challenges we are facing, I would like to focus on and specifically raise the issues of food security, energy security, MDGs and social-cultural exchange.

As world population reaches 9.3 billion by 2050, food security will remain one of the most critical issues for the international community. Under the current situation of food price hike, we should respond to it calmly and properly in order to prevent world food crises. It is also important to reaffirm our stance to refrain from imposing new trade barriers that undermine international trade and investment in agriculture, and to maintain a stable trade system.

In order to address food price volatility, I would like to stress the importance of improved policy coordination, enhanced transparency in markets and preparation for emergency situations,. Japan has begun to operate the "Asia-Pacific Food Security Information Platform" (APIP) in the spring this year, and has contributed to the "Agricultural Market Information System" (AMIS) launched by G20 and the Rapid Response Forum in the framework of AMIS. Japan will contribute to maintain stable food market in Asia through making efforts in these measures.

In the medium- and long-term, it is critically important to ensure an increase in agricultural production and productivity. In this regard, Japan will continue to make efforts as the second largest ODA donor in the field of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. In addition, Japan continues to promote the "Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investments" (PRAI), which coordinates and maximizes the benefits of recipient countries, local communities and investors in order to promote private investment to increase agricultural production. In this connection, relevant international organizations are trying to operationalize the PRAI, and Japan supports the pilot project of the World Bank.

His Highness Chairman,

To ensure a steady supply of mineral resources and energy, stable energy prices and market transparency is indispensable for the development of the Asian and world economy. For this purpose, responsible actions and contribution from each country are very much needed. Japan continues to contribute to enhancing energy security in Asia through measures to transfer our advanced energy-saving technologies.

On the other hand, active engagement of Asian countries in international frameworks on resources and energy will contribute to the effective utilization of limited resources. In this respect, I would like to encourage Asian countries to strengthen cooperation with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and to participate in international frameworks, such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

His Highness Chairman,

Acceleration of the efforts to achieve the MDGs and discussion on the post-2015 development agenda (Post-MDGs) are significant issues in the international community.

The post-MDGs framework should be built on experiences and lessons learned from the current MDGs, taking into account the changes in the international community in recent years. While taking advantage of the strengths of the current MDGs, which are clear, easy to understand and measurable, it is important to address emerging and re-emerging challenges including growth and employment, equity, disaster reduction and resilience, and sustainability including and energy security, based on human security. The new framework should aim at poverty eradication with higher quality.

I believe ACD Member Countries can contribute to the discussion on the post-MDGs by sharing their own experiences and lessons learned from tackling those challenges. In addition, we can further our efforts in development, by promoting various partnerships including South-South Cooperation and Public-Private Partnership.

In addition to accelerating the efforts to achieve the MDGs, Japan would like to cooperate with ACD Member Countries in the discussion toward formulating the post-MDGs. Japan will continue to contribute itself to those efforts.

His Highness Chairman,

I would like to emphasize that to promote mutual understanding on diverse and rich culture and religions of Asian countries would provide sound basis for regional steady development. In this respect, Japan has made tremendous efforts toward social-cultural exchanges, especially youth exchanges and dialogues among civilizations.

For example, Japan has hosted a series of dialogues with the Islamic world, namely the "Dialogue among Civilizations" from 2002 to 2010 and the "Dialogue for the Future between Japan and the Islamic World" so-called the "Future Dialogue" since 2011. I am pleased to inform that the third and last Future Dialogue will be held under the theme of "Promotion of Regional Cooperation for Building Sustainable Harmonious Societies" in Tokyo in December 2012. Young people and experts from both Japan and the Islamic world will discuss there on topics such as experience of business community on sustainable technology, human resource development and social contribution of the youth, and new partnership between Islamic countries and Japan, and make presentation.

In addition, Japan has invited more than 30,000 youth mainly from East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia under the project of "Japan-East Asia network of Exchange for Students and Youth (JENESYS) from 2007 to mid-2012 to promote mutual understanding. Japan launched a new youth exchange program, so-called the "Kizuna Project" this year. Under this program, approximately 9,000 youth will be invited to Japan mainly from Asian countries.

As for the relationship with countries in Central Asia, Japan has made efforts to contribute to human resource development through inviting students and young public servants since their independence. And Japan operates the Japan Center for Human Development in three Central Asian countries. The Centers are conducting business courses, Japanese language courses and programs for mutual understanding.

His Highness Chairman,

Last but not least, I would like to welcome Afghanistan as the new member of the ACD. I sincerely hope that cooperation under the ACD will be further strengthened, while maintaining the momentum generated by the first Summit and Afghanistan's participation.

Thank you very much.

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