I am delighted to be with you this evening.
I must confess that when I first heard about his event, I was a little worried and confused.
I was told I was coming to break a barrel of sake and get plastered!
Surely that would not be appropriate for a Secretary-General, even one in his last couple of weeks in office?
But then it was explained.
I would be meeting master plasterer Naoki Kusumi and I would be inscribing a message on a plaster wall to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Japan joining the United Nations.
I am honoured to be with you to celebrate this anniversary in this way.
When I was asked what I would like to inscribe, it was easy to answer.
One word. “Heiwa”. [Hay-wa] [平和]
Peace is the bedrock for all our hopes and dreams.
When Japan joined the United Nations as a peace-loving country, the decision was welcomed by the Japanese public and the entire world.
Since then, Japan has shown a strong commitment to the UN Charter and made significant contributions to the Organization’s work.
Japanese personnel and troops have served UN peacekeeping with distinction.
Japan is currently a member of the Security Council and has served 11 terms -- the most of all Member States.
Japan has been a leader on global health, disaster risk reduction, the protection of refugees and efforts to protect the environment and combat climate change.
Japan’s advocacy for “human security” helped to shape the Sustainable Development Goals, and Japan has been a generous contributor of financial resources.
I thank Japan for being an important and enthusiastic partner of the United Nations over the past six decades.
We look forward to strengthening our ties in the years ahead as we build a world of peace, prosperity and dignity for all.