Delivered by Mr. Nobuaki Tanaka
Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs
I am delighted to send you warm greetings on the historic fiftieth anniversary of Japan’s membership in the United Nations. Japan has witnessed a remarkable transformation into a democratic, dynamic and prosperous nation, while contributing to the advancement of humanity across the globe.
On 18 December 1956, in welcoming Japan, the President of the General Assembly stated that its citizens “have developed their ancient culture into the modern civilization of an industrial Power, and they are thus in a position to play an important part in promoting social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, and in furthering the maintenance of international peace and security”.
This is exactly what Japan has achieved in the five decades that followed. For Japan, commitment and dedication to the United Nations has become a basic principle of its foreign policy. Japan’s wide-ranging support for UN activities has substantially improved the organization’s ability to address chronic challenges of social and economic development. Its contributions in humanitarian relief are legendary, along with its longstanding efforts to promote global nuclear disarmament, its valiant efforts against global warming, and its strong and growing support for UN peacekeeping efforts. Such support goes well beyond its generous and consistent funding. Indeed, Japan is recognized worldwide as a leading champion of multilateralism, democracy, as well as of conflict prevention and human rights.
Looking ahead, I am confident that Japan’s contributions to the work of the United Nations have only just begun. I expect Japan will play a significant role in future reforms of the Organization, to ensure that it is achieving the levels of efficiency and effectiveness needed to advance the goals of the Charter. A state does not need to possess nuclear weapons to achieve greatness in this world.
At the same time, the UN, too, has undergone a profound transformation over these 50 years. Our mission remains serving the cause of peace, advancing development, and defending the dignity of every human being. But to achieve that mission in the 21st century, the UN must adapt to new realities.
I thank the Government and people of Japan for the excellent partnership we have enjoyed during the 10 years I have served as Secretary-General, and wish you every success as you play an ever more important role in the Organization in the years ahead.