14 December 2017

Remarks at joint press encounter with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan

António Guterres

This visit to Japan has a very special meaning. It is to pay tribute to Japan’s leadership as one of the pillars of today’s multilateral system and to also express my deep appreciation for Japan’s support to the United Nations: financial support, political support and important initiatives in relation to all the areas that are important for all the UN activities.
Japan’s leadership in human security is an inspiring factor of my own priority on prevention and on aligning sustaining peace and sustainable development. On the other hand, Japan’s leadership on climate change – it is not by chance that the Protocol we all know is the Kyoto Protocol -  and Japan’s very strong commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals inside Japan, but especially with the very generous development cooperation and humanitarian policy that Japan has been leading all over the world, all these are aspects that are of extreme importance in the activities of the UN and in which our appreciation for Japan’s leadership is very clear.
On the other hand, we want to express out total condemnation in relation to the abductions that took place and our strong commitment to do everything we can – and unfortunately, we cannot do what we would like to do to make sure that they would be handed [back] immediately – but our commitment to do everything we can for that horrendous situation to end, that causes so much suffering to so many Japanese families.
We had also the opportunity to discuss the nuclear threat that we today face in relation to the North Korea programme. It is very clear that today, all Security Council’s resolutions have to be fully implemented by North Korea, first all, but fully implemented by all the other countries whose role is crucial in order to make sure that sanctions are put in place and that they achieve the result that we all aim, which is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The unity of the Security Council is crucial on this. It is crucial to achieve its objective, but it also crucial to allow for the possibility of a diplomatic engagement that allows for that denuclearization to take place in a peaceful way.
The worst possible thing for us to happen would be for us to sleepwalk into a war that might have very dramatic circumstances.
On the other hand, I want to express my total commitment to work hand in hand with Japan in relation to all the aspects that are relevant for today’s world.
This is my twentieth visit to Japan, the fifteenth as a UN officer, and allow me to consider myself as an old friend of Japan and to wish the best success to Japanese development and to your engagement in all aspects that are so relevant for the international community as a whole.