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Address by Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mitoji Yabunaka at the Global Fund Replenishment Meeting

On 6 September 2005, Deputy Foreign Minister Yabunaka attended the Global Fund Replenishment for 2006-2007 Meeting in London as a representative of the Government of Japan. In his address, he stated that Japan will renew its commitment to fight against three major infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria that are seriously threatening human security.

6 September 2005

Thank you Mr Chair, Secretary-General of the UN H. E. Kofi Annan. Thank you Secretary Hilary Benn and the UK government for hosting this meeting. It is a great honor and pleasure to say a few words on behalf of the government of Japan at this ministerial meeting for the replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The three killer diseases, HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria, are challenge to the humanity, human security. These infectious diseases are casting a long dark shadow upon us. We have yet been unable to overturn the trend and rollback the diseases. These killer diseases are claiming approximately 6 million lives worldwide every year. This means that, even at this moment, one life is lost somewhere on this planet every 5 seconds by the three diseases alone. It is therefore quite appropriate that the UK government took the initiative at the G8 Gleneagles Summit to bring the world's attention to Africa and stressed the need to fight the threat posed by the infectious diseases. For African development, capacity building and education is key. However, overcoming these diseases is the pre-requisite for the success of achieving nation building. We also know that this is not entirely African issue. There is a dire prediction that number of HIV patients would grow dramatically in Asia. The fight against these killer diseases is a global task. The meeting today will provide an important impetus as we gather at the UN annual Summit in NY where combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases will be focused as part of the MDGs.

In combating these killer diseases, the Global Fund has made significant contribution and is an active player since its inception. The Global Fund embodies an idea of a new type of international cooperation. Not only countries and international organizations but also the private sector and non-governmental organizations are participating as decision makers of the Fund.

The non-governmental sector is an important source of drive and inspiration in the fight against these diseases. "Friends of the Global Fund, Japan" is one such driving force. It is a coalition of influential figures in politics, government, business, NPOs and the academia who believe in the causes of the Global Fund and in advancing them. The architect of this coalition, Mr Tadashi Yamamoto, is with us today. We are very pleased that the "Friends of the Global Fund, Japan" has now like-minded partner coalitions in Europe and the United States.

Now we must redouble our efforts.

At the end of this June, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced that Japan would increase contribution to the Global Fund and provide half a billion US dollars in the coming years. Today, I reconfirm that we will follow through the pledge through actual budgetary process. In addition, I have an honor to announce further that we will provide an additional 18.8 million US dollars to the Global Fund by the end of this year. That would put our contribution for this year at 100 million US dollars.

In announcing that financial pledge, Prime Minister Koizumi referred to the great French bacteriologist Louis Pasteur, who established preventive medicine through immunology and vaccination. Pasteur once stated, "Fortune smiles upon those who are prepared." Prime Minister Koizumi declared that the Japanese government would work so that fortune smiles not only upon those who are prepared, but also on those who are yet unable to prepare by themselves.

Such a passion is shared by the private sector. In Tanzania, a Japanese firm has tied up with a local manufacturer to share its technology to produce bed nets with long-lasting insecticidal effects. This company is giving back profits by building and supporting schools in Africa. The company is also training local Tanzanians so that they can handle the technology by themselves. In this way, the company is investing in the future of the local people. I am sure that a private-sector initiative like this is what ultimately will enable people of Africa to prepare by themselves and stand on their own feet.

The greater the Fund grows, the greater become our responsibility to ensure its good management. This includes accountability, transparency, efficiency and speed of delivery. I would like to reaffirm that my government is committed to such responsibility, and that we will continue to play an important role in the humanity's collective response against the diseases. Let us stand up together to defend the dignity of human lives.

Thank you.

Related links:
  • Health and Medical Care (MOFA)
  • Population and AIDS (MOFA)
  • The Global Fund




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