Statement


AS WRITTEN

STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. TOMIICHI MURAYAMA
PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN

WORLD SUMMIT FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
COPENHAGEN, 11 MARCH 1995


Her Majesty, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark,
Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished Delegates,

 It is my great honor to address the World Summit for Social Development on 
behalf of the Government of Japan. I would like to pay special tribute to 
the Government of Denmark for hosting this Summit and to everyone involved 
in the extensive preparations which it has required.

 Mr. President,

 At the outset I would like to take this opportunity to express, on behalf 
of the Government and people of Japan, cur sincere gratitude for the warm 
sympathy and assistance extended in the wake of the recent earthquake in 
the Hanshin-Awaji region by numerous governments, international 
organizations and NGOs all over the world, many of which are represented 
here today, as well as by individual volunteers. The expressions of 
friendship that poured in from all over the world have been a source of 
encouragement, reminding us that, "A friend in need is a friend indeed." In 
an attempt to respond to that generous support, Japan intends to engage 
actively in international cooperation efforts for the reduction of natural 
disasters, sharing the experience it has gained from the recent earthquake. 
As you are aware, the World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction, 
convened in Japan last year, adopted the Yokohama Strategy which calls for 
a strengthening of disaster reduction measures at the regional level. As a 
first step in this endeavor, Japan plans to convene at the earliest 
possible time the Asian Natural Disaster Reduction Conference at the 
ministerial level and undertake a study, together with the countries 
concerned, of ways to reinforce disaster reduction measures in the region.

 Mr. President,

 The world today continues to be plagued by recurrent regional conflicts, 
and by the poverty and social instability which are often at the background 
of such conflicts. It is imperative that the international community, 
primarily through the United Nations, make further constant efforts to 
resolve these problems. However, now that the pattern of North-South 
confrontation, as a byproduct of the East-West conflict during the Cold War 
period, is changing, we have a precious opportunity to deal effectively 
with such formidable social problems as poverty, unemployment and social 
disintegration which threaten the well-being of people in developed and 
developing countries alike. In my view, the World Summit for Social 
Development, which seizes this opportunity and is convened in this fiftieth 
anniversary year of the founding of the United Nations, is of historic 
importance.

 Mr. President,

 After the Second World War, Japan was reborn as a nation of peace; it has 
since pursued economic and social development based on democracy and a 
market economy, and adhering to the fundamental principles of freedom, 
equality and justice. As head of the Japanese Government, I seek the 
creation of a "human-centered society," a vision of Japan in which each 
individual citizen is treated equally, endowed with opportunity to fully 
develop his or her potential, and enabled to utilize fully his or her 
capacity through employment and participation in society. I consider that 
such political beliefs of mine are in line with the central goal of this 
Summit - the realization of social justice.

 Mr. President,

 In promoting social development, I would like to suggest that, in the 
national policies of every country, the following three areas should be 
accorded highest priority.

 First, in order to achieve social justice, governments should place 
emphasis on a human-centered approach to social development. In this 
context, it is necessary to promote worldwide disarmament and, toward that 
end, each country should strive to allocate a larger share of its national 
budget for social development programmes.

 Second, governments must focus on developing human resources through 
education and training. I believe it is unnecessary to reiterate the 
importance of developing the abilities of each individual citizen, 
including the handicapped and other vulnerable people in society, in the 
process of nation-building.

 Third, social development cannot be achieved by governments alone, but 
requires the active participation of civil society as a whole, including 
NGOs. I wish to emphasize, in particular, the significant role that women 
play in social progress. In order to achieve social justice and 
development, it is essential to establish a society in which both men and 
women participate actively and contribute jointly to social progress. As 
one step toward this end, I have submitted to the Japanese Diet for its 
approval the International Labour Organization Convention (No. 156), which 
aims at reconciling work responsibilities of men and women workers with 
family responsibilities.

 Mr. President,

 In accordance with these policy objectives, I believe that developed 
countries, in their endeavor to assist the self-help efforts of developing 
countries, should give priority to the social development field in 
allocating their official development assistance. Japan, for its part, will 
focus on the following three areas.

 First, Japan gives priority to human-centered social development. At 
present, the share of ODA allocated to this area already exceeds twenty 
percent of the total of Japan's bilateral ODA. This area will continue to 
be given highest priority in our ODA policy. Furthermore, developed and 
developing countries, with the involvement of NGOs, should strengthen 
cooperation in this area. Close coordination between the United Nations and 
its specialized agencies, including the ILO, as well as the World Bank, the 
International Monetary Fund, and other international organizations is also 
necessary.

 Second, Japan is resolved to continue placing priority on assistance for 
education and vocational training. Japan's assistance in this area has more 
than quadrupled during the last ten years. South-South cooperation is 
effective in this regard in the sense that knowledge and experience of more 
advanced developing countries could be utilized for the promotion of social 
development in other developing countries. It is the intention of my 
Government to provide as much assistance as possible for the concrete 
promotion of such cooperation.

 Third, Japan places special importance on the role of women in the 
development of developing countries, particularly in the area of social 
development. At the International Conference on Population and Development 
last September the importance of reproductive health was recognized, and 
the role of women in addressing the population issue was highlighted. 
Looking ahead, the Fourth World Conference on Women will be held in Beijing 
in September. Japan has already been extending its active cooperation for 
the support of women in developing countries, and intends to further 
strengthen its assistance in this field.

 Mr. President,

The world today is truly a single “global community.” As citizens of this 
globe, we must all work hand in hand to overcome global challenges in such 
areas as the environment, population, stable food supply, HIV/AIDS, and 
refugees. Toward this end, the people of the world must gather their forces 
to realize the objectives of the Declaration and the Programme of Action 
which this Summit is going to adopt I reiterate my pledge that Japan, as a 
member of this global community, will contribute to the best of its ability 
to this common endeavor.

 Thank you.
 

The electronic version of this document was prepared at the World Summit for Social Development by the United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with the United Nations Department for Public Information.This version has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

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