Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remark at joint press encounter with Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Tokyo (Japan), 30 June 2009

(Unofficial transcript)

Nakasone daijin domo arigato gozaimashita. Minasama konbanwa. Ichinen buri ni Nihon ni mairimashita. Imakara eigo de hanashimasu.

(Minister Nakasone, thank you very much. Good evening everyone. It has been a year since I visited Japan last. I will now speak in English.)

It is a great pleasure for me to visit Japan again for the third time. Exactly almost one year ago, I was here and I had very good discussions with the Japanese leadership. As soon as I arrived, this is my first meeting again with Foreign Minister Nakasone, but you may know I had good discussions with Foreign Minister Nakasone on the airplane while coming from Trieste, Italy, after attending the G8 Ministerial Meeting in Minchin. It was very good first meeting with him.

Japan is one of the most important Member States of the United Nations. Thus, my regular dialogue with the Japanese Government is crucially important for me to carry out my responsibilities as Secretary-General of the United Nations. Japan’s active role and contribution in virtually every area of the United Nations -- not only in financial terms but peace and security, peacekeeping, peace-building, development, humanitarian relief, global health as well as human rights -- are highly appreciated. I am here to further consolidate, strengthen and expand UN-Japan cooperation.

In our just-concluded meeting, as the Foreign Minister just said, I expressed to Foreign Minister Nakasone my deep appreciation for Japan’s steadfast support to the United Nations and to my efforts to reform the United Nations Organization and make it more effective and trustworthy in meeting the global challenges of the day.

Japan’s continued leadership, contribution and active efforts are indispensable for effective collective action in addressing climate change, the global financial and economic crisis, as well as in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and on non-proliferation and disarmament.

The Foreign Minister and I discussed these issues as well as regional “hot spots” and conflicts. The Foreign Minister has just mentioned that we had discussed how to address and implement the Security Council resolution on the DPRK’s (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s) nuclear issues, and we also discussed how to fight against piracy off the waters of Somalia. All these are very important issues. We also discussed peace-building and counterterrorism issues. I am going to discuss with the Foreign Minister over dinner on many other important issues concerning my visit to Myanmar and the situation in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and climate change, most importantly.

As you know by this time already, I am planning to visit Myanmar from July 3-4. I look forward to returning to Myanmar to address directly with the senior leadership of Myanmar the serious and longstanding issues of concern to the United Nations and the international community as a whole. In particular, I consider that three of the most important issues for the future of Myanmar cannot be left unaddressed at this juncture of the country’s political process: first, the release of all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; the resumption of dialogue between the Government and Opposition as a necessary part of any national reconciliation process; and third, the need to create conditions conducive to credible elections next year. In addition, I consider that every opportunity should be used to consolidate and build on the joint humanitarian efforts following Cyclone Nargis last year.

The Foreign Minister and I will continue our dialogue on these important issues of our times.

I very much look forward to my very full day tomorrow, and I am also very much looking forward to my meeting with Prime Minister Aso Taro.

Let me take this opportunity to thank the Government and the people of Japan for extending their warm hospitality to me and to my delegation.

Thank you very much again. Domo arigato gozaimashita.