Prime Minister Fumio Kishida affirmed Japan’s commitment to the global pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons during his address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He pledged that Japan would contribute 3 billion yen ($20 million) towards this cause, a mission he has passionately pursued throughout his career as a lawmaker representing Hiroshima, a city profoundly affected by the devastating impact of nuclear warfare.

Kishida also expressed Japan’s dedication to reforming the United Nations, recognizing growing concerns about the organization’s effectiveness in addressing international conflicts, particularly the Ukraine crisis initiated by Russia, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

To propel progress towards nuclear disarmament worldwide, Kishida stressed the necessity of a multifaceted approach. Japan will play a pivotal role by providing financial support to global research institutions, fostering a network dedicated to denuclearization.

Japan’s presidency of the Group of Seven (G-7) this year provided a significant platform for Kishida to address nuclear concerns. Hosting the G-7 summit in Hiroshima, a city forever associated with nuclear devastation, Kishida and fellow leaders pledged to work towards a world free from nuclear weapons.

In his U.N. speech, Kishida emphasized the need for global collaboration over division and conflict, highlighting the split between Western democracies and autocratic regimes.

He condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling for immediate rectification of human rights violations and an end to nuclear threats. Addressing North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, Kishida expressed Japan’s willingness to normalize relations with Pyongyang based on a 2002 declaration, despite the absence of diplomatic ties. He reiterated his eagerness to hold a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, emphasizing the resolution of the long-standing issue of Japanese abductions by North Korea.

Kishida emphasized the importance of human-centered cooperation and sustainable economic growth, pledging to address income disparities and advance gender equality in Japan. In this regard, Japan recently enacted legislation to support sexual minorities, marking progress in promoting diversity and inclusion.

Japan’s ambition to become a permanent member of a reformed U.N. Security Council remains unchanged, with the country currently holding a nonpermanent seat for the 12th time. Japan has filed its candidacy for a nonpermanent seat starting in 2032, reaffirming its commitment to global peace and security through U.N. engagement.

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