‘Save as many lives as possible, and leave no one's health behind’: Japan’s message to the world
New York: Announcing the donation of up to 60 million COVID-19 vaccines to the UN-led COVAX facility, Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Prime Minister, said that his country is determined to lead the global efforts to end the pandemic.
In a pre-recorded message for the high-level debate of the 76th General Assembly, Mr. Suga highlighted that it is necessary to create an environment where all countries and regions can secure vaccines equitably with no political or economic conditions.
“‘Save as many lives as possible and leave no one's health behind’. This has been the conviction that Japan, as a country upholding human security and universal health coverage, and I, have adhered to throughout this battle against the pandemic”, he said, recalling that his country has provided approximated 23 million vaccines doses through the COVAX facility and other initiatives.
“Today, I am pleased to announce that, with additional contributions, Japan will provide up to 60 million vaccine doses in total” he added.
The Prime Minister also informed that Japan is implementing a programme called ‘Last One Mile Support’ to ensure the deliveries of immunizations to vaccination centres to each country and region.
“Through these initiatives, Japan has provided assistance of the order of $3.9 billion worldwide and will continue to make the utmost effort in overcoming COVID-19”, he added.
Four key actions for a better future
Mr. Suga stressed that there are four points that Japan considers particularly important in guiding the world towards a better future.
The first one, he said, is to build resilient global health systems: “We must learn from this pandemic and prepare ourselves for the future. Our experiences this time have taught us that there should be no geographical vacuum in addressing global health issues, and it is important that relevant information and knowledge on all countries and regions is shared promptly and extensively in a free and transparent manner”.
Another important measure for a better future is to create a green and sustainable society by fighting climate change.
“Japan aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 46 per cent in fiscal year 2030 from its fiscal year 2013 levels, setting an ambitious target which is aligned with the long-term goal of achieving net-zero by 2050”, he explained.
Mr. Suga also emphasized the importance of a free and open international order based on the rule of law.
“We must uphold universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law that our predecessors have established to maintain peace and prosperity in each region and in the world. I am convinced that the foundation of this undertaking is not force, but a free and open international order”, he stated.
Finally, the Primer Minister highlighted the importance of a more peaceful and secure international community. He said that Japan is determined to play a proactive role in this arena and in establishing a rules-based international order, with the support from Member States at the election of non-permanent members of the Security Council in 2022.
Asking world leaders to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), he said that his country, as the only one that had experienced the devastation of atomic bombings, will endeavour to bridge the gaps among countries with different positions.
“We aim to achieve a meaningful outcome at the Review Conference to be held next year. We will also continue to work on the control and disarmament of conventional weapons, or “’Disarmament that Saves Lives’”.