Mr. President,
Distinguished Delegates,

I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to His Excellency, Mr. Julian Robert Hunte, Foreign Minister of St. Lucia, on his assumption of the office of President of the fifty-eighth session of the General Assembly. I would also like to commend His Excellency, Mr. Jan Kavan, former Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, for his devoted efforts during his tenure as President of the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly.

First of all, I would like to touch upon the terrible tragedy that occurred last month. Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General and other United Nations staff, working diligently to facilitate the reconstruction and stabilization of Iraq, sacrificed their lives in the cowardly bomb attack in Baghdad. On behalf of the Government of Japan, I take this opportunity to pay tribute to Mr. Vieira de Mello and his colleagues.

Mr. President,

Much of our time and energy since the General Debate last year have gone into discussion of the Iraq situation. In that process, questions have been asked about the role of the Security Council and about that of the United Nations, regarding the organization's primary role of maintaining international peace and security. On this occasion of General Debate, we once again need to earnestly explore the meaning of this matter.

There exists no more universal organization on earth than the United Nations. No organization addresses so many diverse issues as comprehensively as the United Nations. I strongly believe that the United Nations will continue to play an important role, which no other international organization can fulfill. The United Nations' role should be enhanced through reform, in order to restore the confidence which was shaken in the Iraq situation. All member states are called upon in our joint effort to strengthen the organization.

Mr. President,

Today, we face a situation in which the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the threat of terrorism affect not only particular countries or regions but the world as a whole, presenting a new threat to our lives and our livelihood. It is imperative for each country to regard the issue as its own and to take action in concert with the countries facing such imminent threats.

In Iraq, in order to establish a government run by the Iraqis themselves as soon as possible, the international community must join hands for securing peace and promoting reconstruction, and the United Nations must play an even more prominent role in those efforts. Japan strongly expects that a new Security Council resolution will be adopted, that the path toward Iraqi self-governance will be clarified and that the international partnership will be strengthened to promote reconstruction and security. Japan continues to make every effort, together with the international community, toward the restoration of security and reconstruction of Iraq, and, particularly, toward the successful conclusion of the Madrid Donors' Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq next month.

With regard to peace in the Middle East, I am deeply concerned that the "Roadmap" has reached a critical stage. I call upon both sides to exercise the utmost restraint in order to restore calm on the ground. The Palestinian Authority must resolutely disavow the use of terror, work expeditiously to establish a new cabinet and take action to control the extremist factions. Israel, in turn, must act with prudence and caution, mindful of the consequences of its own actions. In particular, the expulsion of Chairman Yasser Arafat can only result in a deterioration of the situation. Japan once again urges Israel not to proceed with the implementation of measures which would result in Chairman Arafat's removal.

From the perspectives of peace and security in Northeast Asia and international non-proliferation, the development and possession of nuclear weapons by North Korea must never be tolerated. Japan once again urges North Korea to immediately and completely dismantle all of its nuclear development programs in a verifiable and irreversible manner. This issue should be resolved peacefully by diplomatic efforts including the Six-Party Talks process. Based on the Pyongyang Declaration between Japan and North Korea, Japan seeks the resolution of various outstanding issues between Japan and North Korea, including the nuclear issue, the missile issue and the abduction issue, which was addressed explicitly by this Assembly last December in the Resolution on the Question of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance. Upon a comprehensive resolution of those issues, Japan is looking to effect the normalization of its diplomatic relations with North Korea.

With regard to Iran, Japan calls upon Iran to take seriously the resolution adopted at the September 12 meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran must eliminate the concerns of the international community regarding the nuclear issue. Iran must comply immediately with all measures prescribed in the resolution, which include cooperating fully with the IAEA to rectify problem points by the end of October of this year. Iran also must conclude the IAEA Additional Protocol immediately and unconditionally, and implement it in its entirety.

The very urgency of these issues reminds us of the importance of the crossroads at which we now stand with regard to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime. The horror and devastation caused by nuclear weapons should not be repeated. Japan is redoubling its efforts to maintain and fortify the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, with this treaty as its core. In this General Assembly session, Japan will submit a draft resolution entitled "Path to the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons" and aim to secure adoption of the resolution by an overwhelming majority of member states. Furthermore, Japan considers the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to be of extreme importance as a concrete means of strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime.

Despite the serious efforts of the international community to combat terrorism in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, precious lives continue to be lost by terrorist attacks in Jakarta, Baghdad and many other locations around the globe. Insofar as improvements in the terrorism-related response capabilities of all nations are required for the eradication of international terrorist organizations, Japan continues to provide capacity building assistance to developing countries, with special emphasis on Asian countries. In addition, Japan calls upon all member states to work to bring about the early conclusion of the counter-terrorism conventions as well as the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1373, so as to deprive terrorists of the means for their activities and safe havens.

Mr. President,

In the 21st century, we cannot address the dangers and threats now confronting the world with military and political measures alone. Our responses must be well thought of, detailed and steady, addressing every facet of the issues we face, including the social aspect, humanitarian and human rights concerns and the matter of economic reconstruction. Furthermore, we must strive to guarantee human rights, democracy and good governance by creating a social environment that enables each and every human being to realize his or her maximum potential.

Acting on this realization, Japan places "Consolidation of Peace and Nation Building" as one of the pillars of its diplomacy and its international cooperation, and is contributing actively in a variety of areas, including peacekeeping operations. Moreover, under the conceptual framework of "Human Security," Japan has made efforts to enhance both protection and capacity at individual, human level. Japan will continue to work for the realization of the recommendations made in the Report by the Commission on Human Security in cooperation with the United Nations, member states and NGOs, through its diplomatic measures such as Official Development Assistance.

Specific examples of Japan's efforts include assistance in nation building, such as the deployment of Japan's Self-Defense Forces in Timor-Leste; the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration program it is now implementing jointly with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan; and support for the peace process and for reconstruction and development in the form of efforts such as the Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka.

Measures against infectious diseases are also crucial in ensuring human security. The example of SARS demonstrated to the world yet again the importance of international cooperation in the mitigation of such diseases. Japan welcomes the results of yesterday's General Assembly High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, which reconfirmed both the commitment of every nation to the goals set forth in the political declaration and the importance of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

With regard to Africa, Japan has been cooperating for its development based on the principles of ownership and partnership, aiming at poverty eradication through economic growth, as well as providing assistance in conflict prevention in order to secure the peace and political stability which are prerequisite to development. The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process is now in its tenth year. TICAD III will convene on the 29th of this month. In response to the ownership of NEPAD, TICAD III intends to expand partnerships with international organizations and countries concerned, and particularly with civil society and Asian countries which have successfully realized development, in order to share the wisdom and experiences of the international community in the area of African development.

Mr. President,

As the representative of an Asian country, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight two issues that relate to peace and security in the Asian region.

The first is the detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi by the Government of Myanmar. Japan continues to make serious diplomatic efforts to bring about the expeditious resolution of this worrisome situation and to facilitate concrete progress toward national reconciliation and democratization.

The second is the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia. Japan believes it is necessary for each country to extend considerable cooperation in order to ensure that these trials take place and that they exhibit an unswerving application of the principles of law and justice in the international community.

Mr. President,

In the community of nations, diversity is both respected and cherished. For that reason, the formulation of a set of common rules under which the entire global community can act as one is of extreme importance. The United Nations has made significant progress in this area to date. I would like to explain some of the agenda which Japan will be pursuing at the United Nations, here in the General Assembly and elsewhere, in order to formulate such rules. These rules will constitute the bases for well-thought of, detailed and steady responses to a broad spectrum of issues, including socio-economic, environmental and human rights issues.

In the field of the environment, it is imperative that the international momentum for climate change negotiations be maintained. I appeal to the delegates of all nations gathered here to recognize the importance of the early entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol and of the formulation of common rules which will facilitate participation by all countries, including the United States of America and developing countries.

The protection and promotion of rights for disabled persons is also of great importance. Japan welcomes the decision in June of this year to establish a Working Committee which will draft an International Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and Japan will actively participate in this process.

With regard to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, Japan looks forward to the adoption of the resolution promoting the creation of an implementation plan in which UNESCO serves as the lead agency.

Disaster prevention is an indispensable element for a safer world in the 21st century, not merely because of its role in the follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, but also as an essential prerequisite for achieving much of the sustainable development agenda. Japan proposes to host the World Conference on Disaster Prevention in order to develop new strategies on disaster prevention.

Mr. President,

For the United Nations to fulfill the role of bringing about a world of peace and prosperity based on common rules embraced by the entire international community, the reform of the United Nations, particularly that of the Security Council, as its core, must be urgently addressed.

Today's conflicts have become more diversified and increasingly more complex, as evidenced in cases where a civil war may escalate due to the dysfunctional condition of a state. To respond to these new challenges, the Security Council has taken on new tasks, such as the deployment of multinational forces, when necessary, to restore order. Such tasks also include the expansion of the role of peacekeeping activities from military and police activities such as ceasefire monitoring, to humanitarian activities, including assistance for the repatriation of refugees as well as assistance for democratic elections and reconstruction efforts. The Security Council must take on a variety of these tasks for the resolution of today's conflicts.

For the Security Council to address these challenges of today comprehensively, there is a need to strengthen the functioning of the Council by including countries both willing and able to shoulder responsibilities at the global level as permanent members. Japan continues to work diligently for the realization of Security Council reform and would like to assume greater responsibility as a permanent member in a reformed Council.

The issues of which I speak today are hardly new. Discussions on the reform of the Security Council have been under way for ten years now. Yet despite the exhaustive compilation of discussions as to how the Council be reformed, we are still unable to see progress in any concrete terms.

It is no exaggeration to say that, if we continue along this path, the United Nations' ability to respond adequately to the new and complex challenges will be seriously questioned. We must take concrete action now. Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan makes a strong case for United Nations reform in his report titled, "Implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration." He proposes that we set 2005 as a deadline for reaching agreement on the changes that are needed in our international institutions if they are to meet the new challenges, because 2005 not only marks the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations but it is also the year in which a review of progress on the Millennium Declaration will take place. I am of the view that the political decision should be taken on the occasion of such review, by holding a meeting of heads of states and governments, regarding the reform of the United Nations and that of the Security Council, in particular.

With regard to the "enemy state" clauses in the United Nations Charter, the resolution of the General Assembly was adopted in 1995, recognizing these clauses to be "obsolete." However, these clauses have not yet been deleted from the Charter, which is an extremely regrettable situation. Japan will work to find appropriate solutions to this issue, in view of the progress of UN reform.

Administrative and budgetary reform of the United Nations is also necessary in order to increase both effectiveness and efficiency. With regard to the size of the United Nations budget, it is necessary to give careful consideration to the financial burden of member states. Japan calls on the United Nations both to conduct strict prioritization of its activities and to eliminate those activities which are neither essential nor urgent. We must also consider appropriate methods to make the scale of assessments for all member states more balanced. Finally, equitable geographical distribution among member states for the number of staff members of the UN Secretariat is yet to be attained. The present situation is of concern and needs to be improved.

Mr. President,

Japan believes that international peace and prosperity can only be achieved through cooperation among the nations, with the United Nations playing an important role. Japan has used all means at its disposal to contribute to United Nations activities, so that the objectives contained in the UN Charter may ultimately be realized. Let me be clear that Japan will continue to be actively engaged in United Nations activities.

However, the perpetuation of the same basic structure of the Security Council of sixty years ago leads many to question the legitimacy of the system under which the United Nations operates. The legitimacy of the United Nations is at stake.

In closing, I would like to urge once again that all member states take concrete actions to strengthen the functions of this organization and restore the legitimacy in the eyes of the nations--and the citizens-of the world.

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