The 58th World Health Assembly


Address by the Head of the Japanese Delegation to the 58th World Health Assembly


Motoyuki Fujii, PhD
Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Labour and Welfare, JAPAN


16 May 2005


Madame Chairperson, Mr. Chairman, Director-General, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentleman,
On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to express our appreciation for this opportunity to present our position on international health issues.


As globalization progresses, health issues become globally shared.
With the threat of new and re-emerging infectious diseases on the rise, tand the shortening of life expectancy through the spread of AIDS, and other threats, we face the menace of one country’s health crisis directly affecting another, or of one disease undermining the socio-economic foundation of an entire nation. Now is the time for all member states to treat health threats as a common problem and work together in international solidarity to ensure the safety of our populations.


One hugely important step in this direction is international consensus on achieving the Millennium Development Goals. At present, one quarter of the world’s population is living in poverty. The realization of global cooperation towards alleviating poverty is a significant achievement, but in order to truly secure world-wide good health, above all else, we must strengthen our efforts and intensify our health measures for the world’s poor.


The achievement of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals is an internationally agreed worldwide endeavour.
The realization that the world is cooperating to achieve these goals is a wonderful thing.
One quarter of the global population is living in poverty.
We, above all, must intensify our health measures for the world’s poor.

Madame Chairperson,

Since his inauguration, Dr. Lee has energetically tackled a wide range of issues, and Japan greatly commends him on hhis endeavours.

The first I must mention is the rapid response to the tsunami disaster that hit the Indian Ocean Rim in December last year.
The WHO dispatchedposted surveillance and response experts to the affected sites through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.
Thanks to their rapidAs a result, rapid health assessment was carried out andExperts could make quick health assessments and as a result the WHO succeeded in containing an anticipated outbreak of infectious diseases.

It was only through the WHO that this kind of prompthigh-speed response mechanism could be realized.
In parallel Japan immediately contributed 6 million dollars to WHO activities with 6 million dollars as well as immediatelyand provided immediate eemergency funding of 250 million dollars through grant aid to the affected countries.


The second achievement I’d like to mention is Dr. Lee’s efforts to conclude the Framework Convention on Tobacco ControlTreaty. Japan ratified this conventiontreaty at the earliest possible date in June last year. We are counting on Dr. Lee’s further leadership for the effective functioning of this important conventiontreaty.


Third is his response to HIV/AIDS.
Through the WHO’s leadership, the 3 by 5 Initiative has clearly shown the effectiveness of HIV/AIDSARV and enabled 700,000 people to receive it by the end of 2004. Japan has long been committed to HIV/AIDS since the establishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, as well as and we have consistently appealed for the strong need for a comprehensive support package for HIV/AIDS that accounts for prevention, cure and care. We are confident that the WHO will lead the way in this direction. Finally, I’d like to commend Dr. Lee’s devotion to strengthening the regional and country level activities of the WHO, which reflects a results-oriented position that Japan fully endorses. We believe that true decentralization is sorely needed, including authorities and budgets for regional and country offices, and we encourage Dr. Lee to continue this trend.


Madame Mr. Chairpersonman,
Through our recent experiences with the SARStsunami disaster and avian fluinfluenza, all of us have become aware of the importance of a cross-border public health network without any geographical gaps as well as the importance of the universality of WHO.
What is vital is that the international community responds quickly to new risks to the public health network that might have widespread ramifications before they spread globally. A complete overhaul of International Health Regulations has long been under discussion in order to ensure the maximum security against the international spread of disease. We hope this Assembly will approve the Regulations, and that preparednessarations and response actionpolicy will be further strengthened through the WHO. Japan wishes to offer its positive cooperation in this endeavour.


Madame ChairpersonMr. Chairman,
The newly issued World Health Report takes maternal and child health as its theme maternal and child health. We fully welcome the report, which states the necessity ofneed for continuous care forof mother and child, as well as the importance of good health systems that support such programs.

The WHO has had marked successes in strengthening and enriching not just maternal and child health care programs, but in each and every program it has implemented. In order to maintain these successes of each program including maternal and child health, starting with medical human resources development as our central foundation, we must integrate infrastructure such as essential medicines, and health facilities, health information systems, and other elements into cohesive and, sustainable public health systems with particular emphasis on human resources development. Public health networks, as well, can only function on this basis.Emergency public health networks must also be established based on this approach. We believe that development partners onors and international organizations should provide comprehensive support from this standpoint.


The WHO has made marked success in the strengthening each and every health program, not only maternal and child health. For maintaining these successes, putting medical human resources development as our primary strategy, elements such as essential medicines and health facilities, health information systems, and so on should function and sustain organically as a public health system. Public health networks, as well, can only function on this basis. Development partners should provide wide- ranging assistance based on this viewpoint.


Many and challenging health issues are ahead of us. The health issues in need of solving are many and varied. We hope the WHO will play a vital role in protecting global health from a multi-faceted perspective. Japan, as a member of the international health community, will extend our support until people all over the world can enjoy good health, for which, w. We believe, that this is the true mission of the WHO exists.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.