25 September 2014 – Warning that humankind faces “unprecedented crises,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today called on the world to become a truly “United Nations” in a multidimensional battle, from combating the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, to fighting Islamist extremism, and enhancing women’s rights globally.
“Now is the time for us to stand united beneath the flag of the United Nations and confront these crises together,” he told the General Assembly’s 69th annual General Debate. “Japan is resolved to continue to take on great responsibility, working hand-in-hand with the international community.”
Noting that Japan last year set aside $500 million for health issues in Africa and launched programmes to train 120,000 health service providers, he pledged further steps to help fight the Ebola epidemic, including sending more experts and sharing a potentially promising new drug, beyond the $5 million and 500,000 protective suits for health workers already promised.
Turning to the Middle East, Mr. Abe called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) a serious threat to international order. “What is important now is preventing extremism from taking root while also responding swiftly to the region’s humanitarian crises,” he said, while also underscoring the need for stability in Ukraine.
“Seventy years ago, the United Nations proclaimed its determination ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’ and ‘practice tolerance’. The UN must not depart from these ideals” he declared.
“We have made a wholehearted commitment to shoulder U.N. responsibilities at home and abroad… Japan has been, is now, and will continue to be, a force providing momentum for proactive contributions to peace.”
Stressing the urgency of enhancing women’s rights, Mr. Abe noted that Japan has already implemented $1.8 billion of the more than $3 billion he pledged last year to advancing the status of women, adding: “In the future, we will further increase the number of projects we support.”
He also said his country sought a permanent seat on an enlarged and reformed UN Security Council, now restricted to 15 members with only five of them – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – holding permanent status.