Statement by H.E. Mr. Tetsuro Yano,
Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
at the Fifth International Conference
of New or Restored Democracies,
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
September 10, 2003

Honorable Nambaryn Enkhbayar, Prime Minister of Mongolia,
Honorable Luvsangiin Erdenechuluun, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor for me to make a statement on behalf of the Government of Japan at this important Conference hosted by the government of Mongolia.

The Government of Mongolia shows an excellent example of democratization to other new or restored democratic countries gathered here. They are committing themselves to democracy and taking firm steps towards democracy. Japan has always supported democratization and introduction of free market system in Mongolia. We have a particular reason, in this context, to be delighted and to congratulate Mongolia on hosting this Conference.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To pursue democracy, a leader's decision is a very important factor. But it is not enough. "Transparency, accountability and participation" are three important pillars of democracy. However, democracy is supported by each individual and these three elements cannot function without empowerment. In this regard, we are happy to note that, for the first time, the International Civil Society Forum was held just before the Conference.

In Japan, we have an old saying that "Nation building begins with human resource building." To make democracy work, enlightened civil society must be cultivated through unceasing efforts to develop and empower individuals. To this end, Japan has placed importance on investing in education for centuries. Japan has also supported education projects in other countries to nurture citizens who support democracy. A recent successful example is "Back to School Campaign" in Afghanistan by Japan through UNICEF that enabled 3 million children to go back to school. Of course, the path Japan has followed is by no means perfect. We might have missed something precious such as spiritual affluence by putting too much emphasis on materialistic things. Please make use of Japan's failure as well as its success as your references.

What enables the empowered citizens to participate in political processes is the rule of law. Based on the thinking that it is vital to ensure and strengthen the rule of law, Japan is assisting, for example, the development of legal system and the training of judiciary personnel in Cambodia and Vietnam. We have also extended similar cooperation to Mongolia.

Good governance based on democracy becomes possible only when good cooperation between leaders and citizens is in place. Japan has reiterated the importance of good governance in several occasions. Good governance is, when we think about democratization, a very important subject.

Last week, I visited South Africa, Mozanbique, Tanzania and Sudan in 10 days. Japan co-hosts the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD III, with Global Coalition for Africa (GCA) and UN organizations including UNDP from September 29th to October 1st. In that Conference, we will reaffirm the importance of democratic governance as one of the necessary factors in pursuing development in Africa.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Although the importance of democracy with participation of each individual is recognized world wide, we cannot ignore serious problems which undermine the human dignity of individuals; conflict, crime, illiteracy, infectious diseases, denial of gender equality, lack of housing, starvation. Each of these pushes people down to the level of mere survival. As traditional national security approaches cannot adequately address these problems, Japan has advocated the notion of "human security". This is a concept that focuses on individuals to protect them from threats to human life, livelihood and dignity, and to bring out the full potential of each individual. On the basis of this concept, Japan has implemented various projects through the "Trust Fund for Human Security." One of these examples is a support to the project of "Community-Based Safety Nets as Tools for Human Dignity" carried out by ESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) under Human Dignity Initiative in the South-East Asian region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Finally, I would like to touch upon terrorism which is a grave threat to democracy. We are strongly indignant and we firmly condemn the terrorist attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad the other day, which killed many UN staff members including Special Representative for Iraq, Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello. We cannot justify this hideous act of terrorism with any explanation. We, as representatives of democratic countries, must show to the world, our firm commitment and determination to combat terrorism.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We sincerely hope that this Conference will give us an opportunity to renew our firm commitment to democracy and that new and restored democratic countries continue the noble work of democratization.

Thank you for your attention.


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