Japanese leader advocates ‘womenomics’ in address to UN General Assembly

Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

26 September 2013 – Creating an environment where women find it comfortable to work and enhancing opportunities for women to actively participate in society are urgent priorities for Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the United Nations General Assembly.

In his statement, the Prime Minister declared his intention to create a “society in which women shine” within the country’s domestic structures and also as a thread of its international diplomacy.

Mr. Abe cited “womenomics,” a theory which asserts that the advancement of women in society is directly correlated with its growth rate.

The Prime Minister announced that his Government will implement official development assistance (ODA) in excess of $3 billion over the next three years, targeting women’s participation in society and the empowerment of women; health and medical care for women; and prevention and resolution of conflict as related to women.

Mr. Abe is one of scores of leaders to speak at the annual debate, which ends on 1 October, at which heads of State and Government and other high-level officials present their views on issues of individual national and international relevance.

On Syria, Mr. Abe declared Japan’s support and cooperation towards the international community’s efforts to dispose of the country’s chemical weapons, as well as to assist the people displaced and forced into neighbouring countries.

“Japan will continue to provide assistance also to areas under the control of the opposition groups,” Mr. Abe said, adding that Japan is also planning to deliver portable X-ray devices and other medical equipment to those areas.

In parallel with the process of political dialogue, Japan will newly provide approximately $60 million for humanitarian assistance in Syria and surrounding countries.

Turning to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Mr. Abe condemned the country’s nuclear and missile development and urged Pyongyang to “rectify its own actions.”

Mr. Abe also urged that the country return every Japanese national abducted, stressing that normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries remains “unthinkable” without the resolution of this issue.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the importance of private sector investment, particularly in Africa, and the role of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

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