SUGA YOSHIHIDE, Prime Minister of Japan, called for the creation of an environment in which all countries and regions can secure COVID-19 vaccines equitably, with no political or economic conditions. He announced that, through additional contributions, Japan will provide a total of 60 million doses through the COVAX facilities and other initiatives. Going forward, the world needs to build resilient health systems, drawing lessons from the pandemic and preparing for the future. There should be no geographical vacuum when addressing global health issues, with information and knowledge shared freely and transparently, he said, emphasizing the important role of the World Health Organization.
Climate change is a challenge that requires collective efforts to resolve, he said, and addressing that problem will drive growth and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Japan is aiming to cut its emissions by 50 per cent and it encourages other countries, including major emitters, to do more as well. Emphasizing the importance of a free and open international order based on the rule of law, he said that Japan will collaborate closely with like-minded countries and regions to fulfil the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific area. It will also help the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and others to realize a free, fair and secure cyberspace.
He called for the start of negotiations to reform the Security Council in a way that reflects twenty-first century realities. All countries must also make sincere and transparent efforts regarding arms control and disarmament. Japan, the only country to experience the devastation cause by atomic bombs, will aim to achieve a meaningful outcome at next year’s Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Afghanistan must be prevented from becoming a safe haven for terrorists again, he continued, adding that humanitarian assistance must be delivered safely, and human rights, especially those of women, protected. The Taliban’s actions will be carefully monitored to see if they will honour their commitments. Turning to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said that its recent launch of ballistic missiles violates Security Council resolutions. Hopefully, its dialogue with the United States on denuclearization will move forward. For its part, Japan will continue to seek a normalization of relations with Democratic People’s Republic of Korea through the resolution of outstanding issues, including abductions and the nuclear issue, “as well as settling the unfortunate past”. He went on to say that Japan strongly supports ASEAN’s efforts regarding Myanmar.