United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Japan

Workshops 3 and 4
First of all, I would like to thank the secretariat for organizing this 4-day workshop.
Allow me to share with you Japan’s view on this topic.
Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy a better life and a better society in which the
full potential of every individual is maximized, but doing so must be done in a
sustainable way; in other words, it must be done within planetary boundary. In this
context, we fully recognize that knowledge and technology are the keys solving the
problems of feeding a future population of 9 billion people, and affording them the
opportunity to seek a better life and a better society.
As you are all likely aware, Japan has wide range of knowledge and technologies, both
cutting-edge and down-to-earth; and we are also very proud to be able to share this
knowledge and technology with the world through various means, both bilateral and
multilateral, and thereby contribute to development throughout the globe. For example,
recognizing that it is essential for countries to develop human resources in the fields of
environmental policy making and environmental technology, Japan decided to organize
the “Green Future Action Corps” to help developing countries increase their human
resource capacity and tackle environmental challenges under their ownership. This
initiative is only one part of the larger “Green Future Initiatives” announced by the
Japanese Foreign Minister in Rio last year. Japan will continue to endeavor to share its
knowledge and technology as part of our contribution to the world.
At the same time, we should always keep in mind the fact that all the knowledge and
technology we have amassed is the result of the innovation, invention, investment and
entrepreneurship of individuals and companies acting in a broader market context. We
must not undermine the creative vitality of this process, and must therefore consider
how to strike a balance between the diffusion of new knowledge and technology for the
benefit of all on the one hand, while on the other hand maintaining incentives for
individuals and companies to continue to innovate, invent and invest in the future, as
their continued intellectual efforts are ultimately the real driver of economic growth of
every country, including developing countries. Japan believes such a balance is exactly
the reason why Japan was able to achieve rapid economic growth over the last few
generations.
It is true that every government, of both developed and developing countries, can play
an important role in laying down solid policy foundations, including the adoption of
regulations to provide proper protection of the intellectual property of individuals and
companies and proper regulation of governance at all levels. It is necessary both that
incentives be maintained and that more cooperation and investment between countries
be encouraged. Most importantly, we must fully underline the fact that governments
cannot force individuals or companies to disseminate their knowledge and technology in
a way that undermines their incentives to continue to innovate.
Japan is of the view that creating a new facilitation mechanism under the auspices of the
UN is not an appropriate solution in this regard, and could in fact result in further
fragmentation and duplication of the efforts that have been made in other existing
institutions and mechanisms. Finally, we believe it would divert our focus from the
effort to identify and address real problems.
We hope that we will be able to engage in a lively discussions at today’s and
tomorrow’s workshops, and that they will help us to find real solutions to achieve
sustainable development.
I thank you.