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Reforms vital to build confidence, Japanese leader tells UN Assembly

September 20, 2023
Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s 78th session. — courtesy UN Photo/Cia Pak
Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s 78th session. — courtesy UN Photo/Cia Pak

NEW YORK — The Prime Minister of Japan said on Tuesday that he is open to meeting President Kim Jong-Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) at any time and without any conditions “to open up a new era together” between the countries.

Addressing the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate Fumio Kishida urged reforms of the Security Council, including increased representation of Africa and expanding both its permanent and non-permanent membership, to restore confidence.

“The world is changing dramatically. We need a Security Council that reflects the world today,” he said, noting that efforts to limit the use of the veto, which exacerbates division and confrontation in the UN, will strengthen and restore confidence in the body.

The Japanese leader said that his country seeks to normalize its relationship with DPRK by comprehensively resolving outstanding matters, including abductions, nuclear and missile issues, and settling issues related to “our unfortunate past”.

“From the perspective of opening up a new era together, I would like to convey my determination to meet with President Kim Jong-un face to face at any time without any conditions and would like to hold high-level talks under my direct supervision to realize a summit meeting at an early time.”

In his address, Prime Minister Kishida urged the international community to renew cooperation to protect and strengthen human dignity as a driving force across the world.

Hailing from Hiroshima, he said he has made nuclear disarmament his “lifelong mission” and called on leaders of nuclear-weapon States to step up progress towards a world without deadly weapons.

To firmly establish nuclear disarmament, “it is paramount to transcend purely government efforts and engage in multilayered efforts,” he added, urging greater participation and leadership of the youth.

He also underlined the need to defend the dignity of people affected by armed conflicts, especially women and children.

“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine continues. A food crisis must not be perpetuated. Supporting vulnerable people in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere is essential,” he said.

On climate, the Japanese leader stated that his country will continue to support disaster risk reduction for countries vulnerable to climate change, including island States.

Japan will cooperate with other countries under the Asia Zero Emission Community initiative towards achieving net-zero, and before that is achieved, work to mitigate potential impacts from rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

He also called on the international community to prepare for the next infectious disease outbreak, announcing efforts to support universal health coverage, and strengthening prevention, preparedness and response to health crisis.

The prime minister also noted that digital technologies, while bringing benefits also put people’s privacy and human rights at risk, highlighting Japan’s efforts towards building trustworthy artificial intelligence systems. — UN News


September 20, 2023
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