Speech by the Head of the Japanese Delegation
at the 60th Session of ESCAP in Shanghai
April 26, 2004
His Excellency Mr. Li Zhaoxing, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of People's Republic of China
His Excellency Dr. Kim Hak-Su, Executive Secretary of UNESCAP
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Government and the people of Japan, I would at first like to offer my sincere congratulations to H.E. Mr. Li Zhaoxing for taking an important role as chairman of the Session.
Shanghai has special significance for this conference as it was the locale of the first plenary session in 1947 of ECAFE, the forerunner of ESCAP. We are very pleased that this 60th ESCAP session is being held here in Shanghai again. I should also like to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of China for providing the venue for this meeting and to our hosts and the citizens of Shanghai for the very warm welcome they have extended to us.
First of all, I would like to touch upon the situation in Iraq, the most complicated and difficult task the international community is now facing. Construction of a new nation in Iraq is a sincere wish of all the peace loving countries in the world. There are many challenges for reconstruction of Iraq. One of the most urgent challenges is to make steady progress in political process, such as transfer of sovereignty scheduled for the end of June and implementation of elections afterward. For this purpose, broad consensus among all the stakeholders must be built while keeping the appropriate involvement of the United Nations. Japan will never change its basic policy to proactively participate in the reconstruction of Iraq without succumbing to despicable violence. It is my firm belief that the international society, including the United Nations, must be united in tackling reconstruction of Iraq. Five Japanese hostages were freed by April 17, but we will strive to the realization of release of every single hostage. Let our international society, including the United Nations, work together to rebuild the nation for Iraqi people by Iraqi people.
Japan's own economy achieved a real GDP growth rate in the upper two percent range last year, and a genuine economic recovery is underway in Japan. This is the result of the Japan's efforts to implement structural reform under the concept of "no growth without reform." This favorable achievement also implies that the whole Asian region, including China, has entered an new stage of economic expansion through overcoming Asia economic crisis and deepening interdependence.
Currently, various efforts of regional cooperation, including comprehensive economic partnership, have made steady progress in the Asia Pacific region. As a result, interdependence in all the facets, such as trade, investment and human exchanges, is deepening, which is favorable trend for the sake of economic development and stability of the region.
On the other hand, while globalization is making progress and interdependency in global scale is deepening, the threats to humankind are diversifying and deepening with the internationalization of domestic conflicts, terrorism, smuggling and the trafficking of human beings, illegal narcotics trading, and infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. These problems are closely related to the problem of poverty. Efforts to reduce poverty on a regional level are an urgent necessity for solving the root causes of these problems.
Japan believes that in order to overcome those problems, it is extremely important for all stakeholders to be united in cooperating to achieve the Millennium Development Goals set forth by the United Nations. The role ESCAP must play in achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Asia-Pacific region is indeed significant.
In particular, ESCAP is focusing its efforts on three priority areas: poverty reduction, managing globalization, and addressing emerging social issues. The efforts ESCAP has made for revitalizing the region's economies have very significantly contributed to the resolution of problems accompanying the progress of globalization, and Japan very highly regards these efforts.
In this context, Japan expects that ESCAP, giving priority to those fields in which it has a comparative advantage, will carry out projects that can achieve the maximum results under the constraint of limited resources, and, in this regard, Japan has submitted a Draft Resolution on Technical Cooperation through ESCAP at this session. Japan hopes that the resolution will receive the understanding and support of all of you here.
Japan itself is engaged in a wide range of efforts to help surmount the many issues facing us in this period of globalization. These efforts include the Okinawa Infectious Disease Initiative, which Japan introduced in 2000, and the establishment of, as well as contribution to, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Japan also hosted the 3rd World Water Forum in 2003. In addition, Japan has supported the Asian Highway Project, the Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment, and the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action which relates with the rights of Persons with Disabilities through its contributions to the Japan-ESCAP Cooperation Fund (JECF). In the future as well, Japan intends to continue to support the various projects ESCAP undertakes.
As I said before, the threats to humankind are diversifying and deepening. With those threats, people cannot be protected simply with the idea of traditional national security, which emphasizes the protection of border. In order to supplement the idea of national security, Japan places great importance on the concept of Human Security, which advances nation building through community building and human development, which in turn are based on protecting and enhancing the capabilities of each and every human being. Japan is, therefore, strongly promoting Human Security in the international community. To make the concept of Human Security a reality, Japan has already carried out and supported numerous specific projects by contributing a cumulative total of approximately 227 million U.S. dollars to the U.N. Trust Fund for Human Security. In the future as well, Japan will do its utmost to promote human security in the Asia-Pacific region including supports through ESCAP.
Regarding the Asian Highway Project, since this project was first proposed by ECAFE in 1959, a very long period of time has passed. During that time, the project has had to surmount any number of obstacles. Japan has very positively contributed to this project up to now, and we are truly pleased that today we have finally been able to welcome the signing of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network.
It would be no exaggeration to call the Asian Highway Network, a massive project linking the major highway routes in Asia, with Tokyo serving as the starting point, a modern version of the Silk Road. As the conclusion of this agreement will produce great benefits for member countries in the areas of not only transportation and freight transport but also trade and tourism, Japan has introduced a Draft Resolution on the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network to promote the agreement. Japan strongly hopes that all parties will fully recognize the importance of this Intergovernmental Agreement and that as many countries as possible will enter into it.
Lastly, I sincerely hope that the results of this Session will contribute to the further development of the Asia-Pacific region. Thank you.
Back to Index