Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 156 (September 24, 2004)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
From New York
After visiting Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Mexico City, I am now in New York this week.
Leaders of countries around the world have gathered in New York to attend the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). The General Assembly provides an opportunity for summit meetings to take place outside the UN framework, and in hotels around the city many such meetings are taking place.
I too grasped the opportunity provided by the General Assembly to make camp in a hotel close to the UN Headquarters, where I met with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi of the Interim Government of Iraq and President George W. Bush of the United States.
To President Karzai and Prime Minister Allawi, I expressed my respect for the people of their respective countries who are striving to establish safe and peaceful countries. I also spoke with them about Japan's intention to support their nation-building efforts through the continued dispatch of personnel and provision of financial cooperation, as the two wheels on the axle of Japan's assistance efforts. The two leaders each offered me sincere words of appreciation for Japan's cooperation thus far.
I have met with President Bush on various occasions and this time we talked mainly about how Japan and the United States can cooperate in the areas of security, economy, global peace and development and UN reform.
The main agenda item at this General Assembly is UN reform. How should the UN be reformed for it to take on an effective role in the drastically changing world situation?
In financial terms, Japan is only second to the United States in its contributions to the UN. Likewise, Japan has made substantial contributions in terms of personnel, including the participation of the Self-Defense Forces in peacekeeping operations (PKO). Many Japanese personnel are also working hard at UN Headquarters and UN organizations around the world.
The Security Council is an institution that plays an important role for the peace and safety of the world. Since the establishment of the UN, the five countries of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China have taken their seats as permanent members. The UN, including the structure of the Security Council, is now facing a critical time of reform and Japan stands ready to take on a larger role. I delivered my speech to the General Assembly with such convictions in mind.
I met individually with President of the 59th session of the General Assembly Jean Ping and with Secretary-General Kofi Annan before delivering my speech, to both of whom I explained Japan's position. Prior to the General Assembly, I also met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil and Deputy Chancellor Joschka Fischer of Germany, who share Japan's desire to see reform of the UN advanced, and with those leaders I discussed how we could cooperate with one another to this end.
New York around this time of the year is subject to strict security measures, around the UN Headquarters building in particular, and also in the vicinity of the hotels at which national leaders are staying.
Juggling limited time in the midst of a tight diplomatic schedule, on Sunday I threw the ceremonial first pitch at the Major League Baseball game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
Not only was this my first time to watch a Major League game in the United States, but it was also my first visit to Yankee Stadium. Over 50,000 people came to cheer for the teams, and I made my pitch under a clear autumn sky. Hideki Matsui, the cleanup batter for the Yankees played catcher. I felt my heart pounding as I walked from the dugout onto the pitcher's mound.
The mound was much harder than those in the stadiums in Japan, but I gave it my best shot.
Who would have imagined a decade or two ago that Japanese players would be leading lights in Major League Baseball? It is just wonderful that this has come about.
Whenever I make overseas visits, I invariably meet many Japanese people or people of Japanese descent who are striving to fulfill their dreams. I am delighted to see their achievements.
These people have made me keenly aware once again that we must ensure that Japan is a country in which they can take great pride as they see Japan from overseas.
* The title of this column "Lion Heart" is a reference to the Prime Minister's lion-like hairstyle and his unbending determination to advance structural reform.
- Press Conference Following the 59th Session of the United Nations
General Assembly and Prime Minister Meets with the Chairman of
the High-Level Committee (September 22, 2004)
- Japan-US Summit Meeting and Prime Minister Delivers Speech at
the United Nations General Assembly (September 21, 2004)
- Japan-Afghanistan and Japan-Iraq Summit Meetings
(September 20, 2004)
- Japan-Mexico Summit Meeting (September 17, 2004)
- The Third Day of Prime Minister's Visit to Brazil
(September 16, 2004)
- The Second Day of Prime Minister's Visits to Brazil
(September 15, 2004)
- Reader's Comment on the e-mail magazine is available only to the subscribers.
- Click here to make comments on administration of Japan.
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