In his debut address to the UN General Assembly, Japan’s newly-elected Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said that he was willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “without any conditions”.
“Establishing constructive relations between Japan and North Korea will not only serve the interests of both sides but will also greatly contribute to regional peace and stability,” The Japan Times quoted Suga as saying in a recorded speech on Friday at the annual gathering of world leaders in New York.
“I will miss no opportunity to take actions with all my dedication,” he added.
Regarding the issue of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s, Suga said the issue must be resolved as soon as possible because of the advancing age of the victims’ families.
In the address, Suga, who was elected as Japan’s first new leader in nearly eight years in an extraordinary parliamentary session on September 16, also vowed full support for the effort to ensure fair access to coronavirus drugs and vaccines, including in developing countries, reports NHK news.
“The spread of the coronavirus is a human security crisis, posing a threat to the lives, livelihoods and dignity of people across the globe. The guiding principle for us to overcome this crisis must be ‘leave no one behind’.
“Japan fully supports the development of therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics, and works towards ensuring fair and equitable access for all, including those in developing countries.
“Japan also works with international organizations so that relevant international frameworks will be able to deliver results,” he added.
On the economic front, Suga said that “times of difficulty are in fact times of innovation”, adding that Japan will work on digitalization as a matter of urgency.
In reference to the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN, the Prime Minister said: “For the last 75 years, multi-lateralism has become stronger and made progress in the face of multiple challenges.
“I call on all of you to unite in solidarity so we can turn the current crisis into an opportunity to reinforce our cooperation.”