THE EARTH TIMES
FEBRUARY 15, 1996
Japan: Better coordination
By Ashali Varma
As one of the alternate representatives of the Japanese delegation to PrepCom3, Kinji Shinoda endorses the two major goals of the Habitat Agenda, “adequate shelter for all” and “sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world.”
As Shinoda points out, Japan with a population of 125 million and several large cities, has the historical experience of rural to urban migration and can contribute in many ways to this Conference. Tokyo alone has a population of 26.5 million people and is the most populated city in the world. Urbanization is an issue that the Japanese understand. “We have very little cultivable land, as Japan is a country of mountains, so for generations people have come to the cities to find work and make a living,” Shinoda said.
He thinks that after Istanbul it is possible that Japan would contribute bilateral and multilateral assistance to developing countries for urban development.
“Human settlements is an important issue for us and I believe that we are already giving technical assistance to developing countries for construction of roads and urban infrastructure, “Shinoda said.
Regarding the Habitat Agenda, he said, “Habitat II is one of a series of UN conferences and my government’s wish was to concentrate on human settlement issues here and not duplicate issues that have already been dealt with at other conferences,” Shinoda went on to clarify, “Basically, we have no objection to putting past issues on the Habitat Agenda, like empowerment of women, which we fully support, but our concern is that after the Agenda is adopted in Istanbul, how will UN agencies follow up on the agreements, how will they coordinate all the different issues?”
Shinoda’s concern is “that we should not lose the momentum here on human settlements and we must try our best to make clear outlines for coordination.”