"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) Opening Remark by H.E. Mr. Koichiro GEMBA, Official Side Event Organized by the Government of Japan

[Date] June 21, 2012
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to our official side event on the theme of "Future Cities We Want".

I would like to thank the presenters, panelists, and co-organizers of this side event.

Yesterday, I announced a new Japanese Initiative called the "Green Future Initiative" which aims to realize sustainable development.

One of the main pillars of the initiative is to spread the idea of sustainable future cities throughout the world. That is precisely why we are organizing today's side event.

Our event also builds upon an international seminar that I hosted in Fukushima in March focused on rebuilding communities.

Since the world's urban population is rapidly growing, I want future cities to be ecologically sustainable.

Japan has repeatedly overcome natural disasters and rebuilt more resilient communities each time, by developing advanced disaster-risk-reduction technologies. And yet, we experienced the unprecedented Great East Japan Earthquake last year and are learning new lessons.

We would like to share those lessons, as well as technology, with the international community. Such a contribution is our responsibility to the world.

In the "Green Future Initiative", Japan committed 3 billion dollars in assistance over the next three years to support developing countries in introducing environmental and low-carbon technologies.

In the same initiative, Japan committed another 3 billion dollars in assistance over the next three years in implementing comprehensive disaster management measures.

In addition, we will host an international conference on future cities next year, and begin a process of inviting one hundred experts on city-building from developing countries to Japan every year.

These programs aim to promote sustainable urban development.

I also want our future cities to be human-centered. The role of communities and local governments is to closely stand by and meet the needs of residents. A number of Japanese local governments are undertaking innovative efforts to develop sustainable cities. Through today's event, I hope we can learn their experiences together.

I sincerely hope that through this official side event local governments, national governments, international organizations, NGOs, and individuals will join in a new network to bring about ecologically sustainable and human-centered future cities. Those are the future cities that we all want.

Thank you.