Professor Akiko Yamanaka, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Attends the Ministerial Meeting of the 62nd Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
(Overview and Evaluation)

April 18, 2006

1. Overview

(1) The Ministerial Meeting of the 62nd Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) took place in Jakarta, the Republic of Indonesia, from April 10 to 12. Professor Akiko Yamanaka, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended the meeting as head of the delegation of Japan.

(2) The Session was attended by approximately 500 representatives from 58 member states and associate members from both in and outside the region, as well as 40 organizations including United Nations (UN)-affiliated organizations, specialized agencies, other international organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGO).

(3) Themes of the Session

(a) The representatives of each country delivered a policy speech on the main themes of the Session: "Implications of recent economic social developments," "Strengthening pacific island developing countries and territories through regional cooperation," and "Enhancing regional cooperation in infrastructure development, including that related to disaster management." In addition, the Pacific Leaders' United Nations ESCAP Special Session (PLUS) was held for the first time at this Session. It was attended by the heads of states and other officials from Pacific island developing countries, who stressed the importance of cooperation with Asian countries for the economic and social development of each of the Pacific island developing countries.

(b) At the Ministerial Round Table on Enhancing Regional Cooperation in Infrastructure Development, including that related to Disaster Management, the participants discussed options, among other items, which were proposed to fill the gap between the development needs and available resources in the region, including the idea of establishing the Asian Investment Bank (AIB).

Japan reiterated its cautious stance toward the establishment of AIB and, in regard to disaster management, underscored that the ESCAP should pay attention to the activities of the existing institutions concerned.

(4) Policy speech by Vice-Minister Yamanaka (head of the delegation of Japan) (Attachment)

Vice-Minister Yamanaka introduced Japan's efforts in light of the main themes of the Session and highlighted Japan's contributions, including its support for Pacific island developing countries centered around the Japan-Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Summit Meetings (PALM).

In regard to regional cooperation for infrastructure development, Vice-Minister Yamanaka called for diverse means including utilization of private investment as well as the existing institutions concerned, and restated Japan's cautious stance regarding the aforementioned idea on the AIB. In addition, Vice-Minister Yamanaka called for further reform efforts by ESCAP from the perspective of UN reform.

(5) Adoption of resolutions

A total of 12 resolutions were adopted at the Session, including "Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the ESCAP region," which was submitted by Japan.

(6) Vice-Minister Yamanaka took this opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with H.E. Mr. Noer Hassan Wirajuda, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, and H.E. Mr. Phongsavath Boupha, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

The Bilateral Meeting with Mr. Hassan

2. Evaluation

(1) Japan is the largest contributor to the ESCAP. As such, it was very significant that Vice-Minister Yamanaka attended the Session from the standpoint of emphasizing Japan's efforts and presence in the ESCAP.

(2) Vice-Minister Yamanaka, as head of the delegation of Japan, introduced in her speech various efforts by Japan toward the UN and the international community in relation to the main themes of the Session. In addition, as described in 1. (5) above, the resolution submitted by Japan was adopted. As such, Japan reiterated its willingness to contribute to the UN and the international community.

(3) Japan highlighted its support for the Pacific island developing countries in a timely manner at the PLUS and other occasions prior to the Fourth Japan-PIF Summit Meeting (PALM 2006) in May.

(4) It was meaningful that Vice-Minister Yamanaka held press conferences for both the Japanese mass media and the local ones, and four of them-KOMPASS, Bisnis Indonesia, Sinar Harapan, Jakarta Shinbun-carried her remarks.

(5) The reception hosted by Japan on April 9 was attended by 248 people and was highly appreciated.

Back to Index