New Year's Greetings from Ambassador Hikihara (January 4, 2021)


Ambassador Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative of Japan
to the International Organizations in Vienna

Happy New Year!
Let me offer my heartfelt wishes for your health, success and happiness in 2021.
The year 2021 started in the midst of a lockdown. The entire globe has been facing great challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This world calamity poses a direct threat to the lives of people and to the very foundation of our economy. It also poses an unprecedented challenge for the International Organizations based in Vienna, which share the responsibility for good and effective governance of the international society.
Meetings in person have become complicated to hold. Field projects have been hindered. International organizations here are striving to find ways to discharge their missions, such as through online meetings and by delegating authorities to their field offices. In parallel, through agile and flexible shift of priorities, they are making the utmost use of their expertise in the international pandemic response. All these efforts remind us once again of the critical importance of multilateralism, of which Vienna is a prime advocate.
In this vein, I would like to pay my most sincere respect to all the staff of the Vienna based International Organizations including our Japanese colleagues for their invaluable unflagging contribution.
My team in the Permanent Mission of Japan and me are engaging in this year’s work with renewed determination and fresh ideas in order to overcome current challenges and to ensure our effective international cooperation in a seamless manner.
This year in March, UNODC will hold the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Kyoto in a hybrid format with inclusive on-line participation. The Congress provides a paramount opportunity to present Japan’s leading role in promoting the rule of law in the international society. As Chair of the consultations for the political declaration of this Congress, I am determined to fully contribute to a successful adoption of this document which should serve as a new international policy guideline for crime prevention and criminal justice. We will also continue to strengthen our cooperation with UNODC by mobilizing Japan’s expertise. We have so much to tackle together, inter alia terrorism, transnational organized crimes, corruption and world drug problems, which have been seriously aggravated through globalization. 
The quinquennial Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT Review Conference) is scheduled in New York this summer. At this important juncture, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will continue to play a key role in nuclear non-proliferation and promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including fight against infectious diseases. Needless to say, efforts for non-proliferation continue, including on the Iran or North Korea cases. Japan will contribute proactively in our joint endeavors with a view to ensuring and promoting the peace, security and prosperity of Japan and the world.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Japan, the only country who suffered atomic bombings, will continue to make efforts towards the entry into force of the CTBT as a realistic step toward a world without nuclear weapons. Japan will further contribute to enhancing the verification regime of the treaty, including through our support for capacity building of developing countries.
We would also like to play an active role in the discussions of multilateral export control regimes, such as the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) by leveraging Japan's strengths in technological knowledge.
Japan cooperates with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to assist developing countries in their COVID-19 crisis response. UNIDO, with its unique strength in the field of industrial development, actively engages Japanese companies, and transfers their relevant technologies to developing countries in need. Japan will further contribute to the efforts of the international community to overcome the crisis and build back better towards the achievement of the SDGs in cooperation with UNIDO.
The space activities are bringing various essential benefits to our societies. The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) plays key roles in reviewing and encouraging international cooperation in the outer space. This year, a Japanese expert will serve as Chair of the Legal Subcommittee of the COPUUS, a unique platform for legal discussion of the peaceful exploration and use of outer space.
In cooperation with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Japan will further contribute to the rule of law in outer space, achievement of the SDGs through space technology including addressing the ever-worsening space debris problem, with our advanced capabilities and knowledge in this field.
There is no doubt that 2021 will be another challenging year. In this time of hardship, it is our duty to tackle each task that lies before us and to strengthen multilateralism with wisdom, strength and perseverance. I would be most grateful for your understanding and cooperation.