Address by His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
to the Opening Ceremony of the 1st Asia-Pacific Water Summit
Monday, 3 December 2007
B-Con Plaza Philharmonia Hall
Your Royal Highness,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be with you at this 1st Asia-Pacific Water Summit which is being held here in Beppu City, Oita Prefecture with so many participants from the Asia-Pacific region as well as from other places around the world.
Water is essential for all life on earth. However, this indispensable resource is unevenly distributed throughout the world from a geographical point of view as well as from a time point of view. Thus, water is at the root of all sorts of problems due to exploding populations, rapid economic growth and global warming.
It is for this reason, international efforts at every level, from the humblest village to the United Nations, are essential in addressing this issue. I myself became personally concerned with this question when I participated in the 3rd and 4th World Water Forums, where I listened to the earnest discussions of the participants, and have since witnessed some concrete actions that have evolved from these discussions.
I understand that this Summit came into being during the preparation process of the 4th World Water Forum. As one who has had a strong interest in water, I am especially delighted to be here with you today.
Water issues, however, are not being solved as urgently and effectively as they ought to be. Sanitation especially lags seriously behind other efforts.
The situation in the Asia-Pacific region does not allow us to be optimistic. The region, which is home to about sixty percent of the world's people, possesses only about forty percent of the world's water resources. As of 2004, there were seven hundred million people who had no access to safe drinking water and 1.9 billion who were without basic sanitation. In this respect, our region is in the most serious situation in the world, especially in providing sanitation. Another critical problem is the frequency and magnitude of natural disasters caused by water, and eighty percent of all fatalities in these disasters occur in the Asia-Pacific region.
About two weeks ago, the cyclone that struck Bangladesh took the lives of many people, and caused huge damage to homes, domestic animals and crops. I extend my sincere condolences to the victims, and I share the sense of immense loss and grief of those who survived, and pray that they will be able to rebuild their lives and homes as soon as possible.
Water also has influence on various other problems such as women's empowerment and the achievement of universal primary education, and therefore is a vital issue that affects the very survival of every nation.
It is therefore all the more significant that heads of state and representatives of governments, international organizations, civic groups, the business sector and academia get together to seriously address the common regional problems of water and sanitation, in the search for lasting comprehensive solutions.
I have accepted the request of the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon to serve on his Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation as its Honorary President. I am aware of the responsibility that comes with this honor. The Board, under the leadership of its late chairman Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto, launched the Hashimoto Action Plan and is forging ahead towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. I will do my best to learn more about the global issues of water and sanitation, and to work with His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, the Board's chairman, and its other members to contribute to its activities in my capacity as Honorary President.
In closing, I want to voice my sincere wish that the Water Summit will mark a major step forward toward resolving the global issues of water here in the Asia-Pacific region and throughout the world.
Address by His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
on the Occasion of the Opening ceremony of the DIOXIN2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
Hotel Okura, Tokyo
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased that Dioxin 2007 has brought together so many participants from all over the world who have particular concern for the environment and human health.
Development of industry in the several recent centuries has indeed given us a rich and convenient life. But at the same time we are being faced with a new problem: the degeneration of the environment by such factors as global warming and environmental pollution. We were first warned of the adverse effects of environmental chemicals on human health and wildlife by Rachel Carson in her book "Silent Spring published in 1962. Later research in various environmental sciences around the world has alerted us to the fact that the greatest problem stems from persistent and toxic chemicals which bio-accumulate in the ecosystem and persist in the environment on a global scale.
Since its first symposium in 1980, the Dioxin Symposium series has focused on these chemicals and has played an important role in the exchange of information and opinions to produce new scientific results. The necessity to reduce the risk posed by environmental chemicals is now well recognized on a global scale, and research on the subject is also being conducted within a UN-based framework.
Interdisciplinary research is important in any countermeasures to reduce the risks created by hazardous environmental chemicals. I am told that scientists and engineers with a variety of backgrounds have gathered for this conference in Tokyo.
I wish to express my sincere hope that this symposium will bear much fruit and widen still further the scope of international cooperation.
Address by His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince
on the occasion of the luncheon hosted by the Minister of Finance
at the Fortieth Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank
Monday, May 7, 2007
Kyoto International Conference Center
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am greatly pleased that the fortieth Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank has been held here in Kyoto with many participants from all over the world. Ten years ago, I had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting in Fukuoka. Today I am very happy to attend this luncheon to have a friendly and pleasant talk with the participants again.
Since its foundation, the ADB has supported the independent development of countries in the Asia-Pacific region. During this time, the member countries of the ADB have overcome many difficulties and achieved remarkable economic growth. I would like to express my admiration for the member countries' efforts and the ADB's considerable contributions.
However, there are still some 600 million people living in poverty in this region, and poverty reduction remains an important issue. Moreover, new problems are emerging to threaten future economic development, such as climate change and other environmental problems.
I understand that during this annual meeting you are discussing in various ways these issues we are facing and the future of this region.
Japan has long been making efforts to protect the environment while achieving industrialization, to safeguard tradition while achieving modernity, and to coexist harmoniously with nature. This is especially true in Kyoto, which has a long history, more than 1000 years, as the ancient capital of Japan.
In this spirit, I hope that you will find inspiration from Kyoto in your efforts to resolve these issues, and I wish also that this annual meeting will be fruitful for all the participants.