In Focus

Statement by the Minister of the Environment, Japan at the 1st Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention

First of all, I would like to thank Swiss Government for its leadership for the implementation of the Minamata Convention by hosting the first COP and the high level segment.

I would like to extend the appreciation to the participating governments for their enthusiasm and efforts made for the effective implementation of the Convention.

We congratulate the entry into force of the Convention named after a Japanese city "Minamata". We are especially grateful to all of us coming together to Geneva for cerebrating the launching of this international environmental treaty.

Japan has made utmost efforts in international negotiations and implementing domestic and international mercury reduction activities with its commitment to lead the world as the country experienced Minamata disease.

We have just enacted domestic measures more stringent and more advanced than the Convention about the use of mercury in products and manufacturing processes upon the entry into force of the Convention.

In addition, for the global encouragement of mercury management, and for the united actions by countries around the world under the Minamata Convention, we have actively supported the participation in and implementation of the Convention by many countries.

Japan initiated an international programme titled 'Moyai Initiative' that aims at supporting developing countries and disseminating voices and information from Minamata in the Diplomatic Conference held in Kumamoto and Minamata in 2013. The term 'Moyai' literally means a bowline rope mooring boats together. It also refers collaborative work in communities.

We have experienced Minamata disease, a serious tragedy. Although various sacrifices was paid for it, we have been moving forward steadily. Along the way, we have accumulated important technologies and knowledge to prevent the adverse effects of mercury.

We believe that it is our global role to disseminate such experience obtained through this process to the people in the world. On this occasion, we commit ourselves to new determination to the Convention.

Dear Mr. President, we will further strengthen our contribution to the Convention by utilizing various knowledge and human resources in Minamata and working collaboratively with international organizations in order to implement the Minamata Convention.

The name Minamata Convention contains the world commitment that serious environmental pollution and human health damage like Minamata disease must not happen again anywhere in the world. We will continue our leadership for promoting mercury reduction in the world. That's the end of my speech.

Thank you.

29 September, 2017
Minister of the Environment, Japan
Masaharu Nakagawa

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