His Excellency Dr. Tatsuo Arima
The Representative of the Government of Japan
First I should like to express my deepest gratitude to all those who have been involved in the preparations of this conference, a special session to discuss the present state of social development as we face the twenty- first century.
"To place people at the
center of development," the consensus that evolved at the World Summit for Social
Development, has had a profound impact on all our activites in this important
held of development.
Since that Summit, however,
the so- called globalization with its blessings notwithstanding has bred the
widening gap between the rich and the poor. The central concern of the measures
we implement to cope with this condition has to be the protection of livelihood
and of the dignity of the individual. That is to say, we have to place our concern
with human security at the very core of our actions for social development.
Japan, as the top ODA donor
for nine consecutive years, attaches
particular importance to poverty reduction in the developing
countries. Poverty reduction efforts of developing countries
should be supported by debt relief. Japan is firmly committed
to the full cancellation of all ODA debt owed by Heavily
Indebted Poor Countries ( HIPCs) under the Enhanced HIPC
Initiative agreed upon at the Cologne Summit last year. It is
urgent that the the implementation of the Initiative be accelerated,
and in this connection, Japan decided this April to extend
enhanced debt relief of up to 100 percent of non- ODA debt
owed by eligible HIPCs under the international framework and
to make a contribution of up to 200 million dollars to the HIPC Trust Fund of
the World Bank.
In implementing debt relief,
it is important to ensure that resources released through debt relief be used
effectively for the well being of the people in the debtor countries. To this
end, the participation of civil societies and other parties concerned in this
process is beneficial. The Government of Japan will implement its debt relief
measures, taking into consideration views of various parties, such as NGOs and
other civil societies.
In the long- run, however, developing countries must strengthen their debt management capacity and increase their ability to make the best use of available loans. For these purposes, Japan has organized debt management seminars since 1999 with the participation of African countries.
In our efforts to reduce
poverty in developing countries, the importance of primary education and health
as well as the empowerment of women cannot be over- emphasized. Japan's Mid-
term Policy on ODA announced last year attaches high priority to these areas.
Japan will actively contribute
to the promotion of quality basic education with particular emphasis on the
education of girls in accordance with the Dakar Framework for Action adopted
at the World Education Forum.
To contain the spread of infectious diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, Japan has implemented assistance amounting to about 100 million dollars between fiscal 1994 and fiscal 1998 under our Global Issues Initiative on Population and AIDS.
We also contributed to
relevant international organizations under our Women in Development (WID) Initiative
5.5 million dollars in fiscal 1999.
Japan embraces the participatory
approach in its grassroots assistance to reduce poverty. In order to support
the efforts of international financial institutions in this regard, Japan has
decided to create funds for poverty reduction at the Asian Development Bank
and the World Bank, contributing to each roughly 94 million dollars.
The promotion of social
development including social integration is significant not only in itself but
also as a long- term measure to address the root causes of conflicts.
Recognizing the importance
of the strong foundation that democracy provides for good governance in developing
countries, Japan has implemented cooperation under what we call the Partnership
for Democratic Development (PDD). In the five-year period beginning fiscal 1994,
Japan has accepted 765 trainees to support their democratization efforts and
provided electoral assistance to about 40 areas.
As we try to overcome our present economic impasse in Japan, we give priority to the creation of employment from the people-centered viewpoint. It is in the same vein that Japan's development cooperation focuses on vocational training, with particular emphasis on supporting women and the vulnerable segments of society.
The Asian economic crises since 1997, in response to which Japan has to date pledged more than 80 billion dollars in aid to help the Asian countries, have provided us with many lessons. Among them is the important role of the tripartite dialogue between the government, labour and employer organizations in forging an effective social consensus to overcome such crises.
Japan hopes that the tripartite
principle in the area of employment policy will be established universally.
The ILO plays a major role in promoting social development and its initiative in this area is gaining in importance. The ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work is a vital instrument for promoting core labour standards worldwide.
It is our strong wish that
the ILO continue to play a leading role in promoting these standards.
Today, the rapid advances
in information technology are transforming the pattern of our lives, making
them more efficient and perhaps even improving their qualities.
One of the keys to making
the twenty-first century peaceful and prosperous is to ensure that those who
have not been able to share in the blessings of this progress also benefit.
Japan is making its best efforts in this regard and is exploring ways to help
promote information technology in the developing countries.
We have gathered here with
the shared awareness of the limitations of the pursuit of economic development
for its own sake,
the de- humanizing impact of globalization as it were. With this awareness in
mind, here we together will formulate the "Further actions and initiatives".
Japan pledges to do it utmost to contribute towards its fulfillment.