Japan’s leadership in combating climate change, as well as the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), dominated today’s talks between Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso.
“Such leadership is needed urgently right now if we are to ‘seal a deal’ in Copenhagen that all the world’s governments can agree on,” Mr. Ban told reporters in Tokyo that he impressed upon the Prime Minister during their meeting.
Negotiations are expected to conclude in the Danish capital in December on an accord to replace the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012.
Calling climate change “the most crucial issue of the day for humanity,” the Secretary-General said he counts on Japan to play a “bold and active role towards this historic objective.”
Also discussed was the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), with both leaders stressing the need for all nations to fully implement last month’s Security Council resolution in response to the country’s nuclear test in May.
That resolution imposed tougher sanctions on the country, including a tighter arms embargo, and demanded that it “not conduct any further nuclear test or any launch using ballistic missile technology.”
The Secretary-General said today that during his meeting with Mr. Aso, he underscored the need to resume dialogue, including through the Six-Party talks, bringing together the DPRK, Republic of Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the United States.
“I will spare no effort in facilitating the achievement of verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as well as durable peace and stability in the region and beyond,” he told journalists.
On Myanmar – where Mr. Ban is scheduled to visit later this week – he said that he expressed his appreciation for Japan’s support for UN efforts in the South-East Asian nation.
He also thanked Mr. Aso for Japan’s decision to take part in UN peacekeeping operations’ standby arrangement.
This morning, the Secretary-General, who arrived in Japan yesterday, met with Japanese business leaders from the Keizai Doyukai (association of corporate executives) and the Global Compact Japan network, which are striving to usher in a new era of responsible and sustainable business, over breakfast, his spokesperson, Michele Montas, said today.
Following that event, he visited Tokyo University, where he held a lively exchange with students.
Mr. Ban also appeared on a children’s news television programme in a bid to reach out to Japan’s next generation of leaders, followed by a meeting with Japanese celebrities who serve as UN Goodwill Ambassadors, Ms. Montas said.
Tomorrow, he will leave for Singapore and travel on to Myanmar on Friday for a two-day visit.
The Secretary-General told reporters in Tokyo yesterday that he realized there were concerns about the timing of the visit, given that the trial of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is pending.
“It may be the case that the trial may happen during my visit in Myanmar. I am very much conscious of that. At the same time, to find the most appropriate timing has been a challenge for me, too,” he said, adding that he would use the visit to try to “raise in the strongest possible terms” the concerns of the international community about the situation inside Myanmar.
From Myanmar, he will travel to Switzerland, Ireland and Italy, where he plans to attend the summit of the so-called Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations.