“We must capitalize on this momentum” – Executive Director in Japan

Remarks by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the inauguration of the UN Women Liaison Office in Bunkyo City, Tokyo.


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Members of academia and civil society,
Distinguished panelists,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to be with you today at the opening of UN Women’s Liaison office in Japan.

It was just one year ago that Prime Minster Abe announced his vision for this office, and together we have made it a reality.

We are truly honoured that today we have amongst us:Prime Minister Abe, Mayor Narisawa (HeForShe), Minister Arimura, State-Minister Nakayama, Ms. Mori,
and distinguished representatives from Bunkyo City, the Japanese Government, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations, and the Japanese National Committee for UN Women.

This is a clear indication of the strong and diverse partnerships that UN Women already has in Japan, which will be further strengthened through our presence here.

I thank Bunkyo City for the generosity that has made our office in Tokyo possible.

And I congratulate the Director of UN Women’s Japan Liaison Office, Ms. Kayoko Fukushima, for taking on this important role, and for helping to organize this significant event.

Today, illustrating that significance, are some young scouts, leaders of the future and the sports heroes who are helping to inspire the new generations.

That is why I am delighted to have with us today Kozue Ando from  Nadeshiko Japan,  the Women’s World Cup football stars,and Mr. Tsuyoshi Kitazawa, who is an inspiring HeForShe advocate.

Their presence signals that gender equality and the empowerment of women is a matter for everyone, women and men, girls and boys.

It is both a national, and an international issue.

No one knows this better than Prime Minister Abe, whose commitments as one of the very first HeForShe Champions in our global IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative are:

  • to enhance leadership and employment opportunities for women in Japan;
  • to advance women’s empowerment and end sexual violence in conflict abroad; and
  • to strengthen the partnership with UN Women.

The Government of Japan has shown, through its strong leadership that it is committed to the empowerment of women, not just in Japan itself, but around the globe.

We look to Japan’s influential hosting and leadership of the G7 next year as another example of this.

We recognize with deep appreciation, the strong growth in Japan’s financial support for UN Women, which has enabled us to strengthen our response to crises to support and empower women.

Together, we have set up programmes in Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Syria to support women and girls, including refugees and to empower survivors of gender-based violence.

This is the kind of action we need if we are to reach our goal of a 50:50 planet by 2030.

We must do this so that these young people carrying our flag here today grow up in a more peaceful, equal and sustainable world.

Through the Liaison Office, we also hope to deepen our engagement with the private sector and to deepen the connection with academia, especially with Nagoya University under its HeForShe IMPACT Champion, President Mr. Seiichi Matsuo, and universities in Bunkyo-ku.

Japan currently has the most businesses signed up to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (220 out of 1,032).

We must capitalize on this momentum.

We intend to engage business leaders in eliminating discrimination within their own structures, and in providing some of the vitally needed resources to close the gender funding gap.

We know that 2015 is a pivotal moment for gender equality.

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the fifteenth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

And we are fast approaching the formal adoption of a new post-2015 agenda that will create a framework for a more sustainable future for all.

With the support and action of governments, civil society and the private sector in Japan, we know we can reach these goals.

Thank you.