Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

The 9th ASEAN-Japan High Level Officials Meeting on Caring Societies
Opening Speech Outline.
Tuesday,October25th,2011 9:00AM-9:30AM
"Nishiki" Hall, Keio Plaza Hotel South Building 4th Floor

Distinguished delegates from ASEAN member states, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea, ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all of you participating in this 9th ASEAN-Japan High Level Officials Meeting on Caring Society.

I would also like to express my deep appreciation, for your warm and kind hearted support extended by many countries in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11th this year.

Furthermore, I would like to express my gratitude to those who are involved in the ASEAN Secretariat, the WHO the Western Pacific Regional Office, the ILO Office in Japan, and JICA for the considerable support they have provided for this high level officials meeting each year.

I also wish to thank the experts who have taken their precious time to participate in the meeting to enhance the cooperation among the ASEAN countries and Japan in the area of social security.

This is the ninth ASEAN-Japan High Level Officials Meeting on Caring Societies since its inception in 2003. This meeting has its roots in the "Initiative for a Caring World" proposed by Japan at the Lyon Summit in 1996. This plan was based on the concept that we can create a better society and pass it down to the next generation by sharing our wisdom and experience in the field of social security throughout the world.

At this ninth meeting over the next four days, participants from ASEAN countries and Japan will exchange information on and discuss ways of developing the capacity of health and welfare service providers. We are also aiming at promoting the employability of the socially vulnerable people such as the elderly and the disabled who receive welfare services, through setting human resource development in health and welfare services as the main theme.

As you already know, in order to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), such as poverty reduction, it is essential to develop human resource capacities in the related fields, as well as assign and allocate these human resources to appropriate positions to address issues common to all countries.

In order to implement measures for the socially vulnerable people, it is essential to closely coordinate with employment policies. Therefore, we have invited experts from the ILO, the United Nation's specialized institution for employment policies, since 2010. At this ninth meeting, we have also invited officials from ASEAN countries, who are in charge of employment policies for the vulnerable population.

Japan has maintained longstanding relationships with ASEAN countries and has built good relations in a wide range of fields. We are confident that this meeting will be another precious opportunity for all of us to share information and experience.

I also hope that all of you will have the opportunity to see and feel the Japanese culture and have a wonderful time during your stay here.

Thank you very much.