Japan utilizes unique form of diplomacy to foster world peace, leader tells UN

25 September 2008

Japan contributes to promote peace and stability throughout the world through its own form of diplomacy, its new leader said in an address to the General Assembly’s high-level debate today.

Taro Aso, who was designated as Prime Minister just yesterday, told delegates that the country was helping, in a unique way, to bring a lasting peace to the Middle East.

He cited the example of a reconciliation initiative pairing up Israeli and Palestinian high school students, who share in the tragedy of having lost at least one relative to terrorism, and invites them to visit Japan.

“These young people come to understand that religion and ethnicity make no difference when it comes to the sorrow felt at losing a parent, and they often cry tears upon coming to this realization,” the Prime Minister said. “Through these tears of understanding they will come to see ties between their futures.”

By investing in changing the attitudes of the next generation, Japan is laying the groundwork needed to bring peace to the region, he noted.

In another scheme, Japan is providing assistance in introducing Israeli irrigation technology to Palestinians in the West Bank to help that land become more fertile.

“Here, Japan desires to act as a catalyst, serving as a mediator between the two sides,” Mr. Aso told the Assembly, adding that his country hopes to boost trust, the “scarcest resource of all in the Middle East.”

Meanwhile, as the world’s second largest economy, the Asian nation is also uniquely positioned to address the current global financial turmoil, Mr. Aso said.

“The task ahead for Japan is already quite clear, namely, that Japan’s primary responsibility lies in invigorating its own economy,” he said, calling this “the most immediately effective contribution that Japan can deliver.”


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