Japan will play bridging role in tackling global challenges new leader tells

24 September 2009Freshly-elected Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan told the General Assembly’s high-level debate today that the East Asian nation will embark upon a new path and act as a “bridge” in addressing global challenges, including climate change and disarmament. Freshly-elected Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan told the General Assembly’s high-level debate today that the East Asian nation will embark upon a new path and act as a “bridge” in addressing global challenges, including climate change and disarmament.Having assumed office last week, the Prime Minister stressed that the “new Japan” will be guided in its actions by the concept of “yu-ai,” or fraternity, promoted by his grandfather, Ichiro Hatoyama, who was Japan’s leader when the country joined the United Nations in 1956.It is “a way of thinking that respects one’s own freedom and individual dignity while also respecting the freedom and individual dignity of others,” the Prime Minister said today.Based on the spirit of “yu-ai,” his country, he said, “will make utmost efforts to become a ‘bridge’ for the world, between the Orient and the Occident, between developed and developing countries and between diverse civilizations.”Japan’s role as a bridge will be applied in facing today’s key global challenges, Mr. Hatoyama emphasized.On climate change, the country has set a target to slash, by 2020, greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent of their 1990 levels by introducing a domestic emission trading system and a tariff for renewable energy.At Tuesday’s UN climate change summit, the largest-ever on the issue, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Japan’s pledge to curb emissions a “historic and strong commitment,” praising Mr. Hatoyama for having “changed the whole dynamic” just days after becoming Prime Minister.Ahead of December’s conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, where talks on a new agreement on curbing emissions are set to wrap up, Japan has also announced that it is ready to boost its financial and technical assistance to developing countries, premised on the major economies committing to ambitious emissions reductions, Mr. Hatoyama said.Japan – the only country ever to suffer devastation from nuclear bombs – can also serve as a bridge in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, he noted. Appealing for “no more Hiroshimas” and “no more Nagasakis,” the Prime Minister said that in spite of its potential capability of acquiring nuclear weapons, the country does not possess them.He also underscored that nuclear tests and missile launches carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) pose a threat to peace and security, not just in Asia, but also internationally.Japan, he said, hopes to normalize relations with the DPRK by resolving the issue of the abductions of Japanese citizens in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as well as settling the “unfortunate past.”

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