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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 September 20 - 26  > Japan should work to achieve SDGs, not promote military buildup
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2023 September 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

Japan should work to achieve SDGs, not promote military buildup

September 22, 2023

The UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are intended to be achieved by 2030, took place on September 18. The forum, also known as the SDG Summit, adopted a political declaration. Stating that the “achievement of the SDGs is in peril,” the declaration emphasized the urgency to act. The declaration expressed strong concern that the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the escalation of military conflicts in many places in the world are derailing progress on the SDGs. The urgent need is to eliminate military conflicts and establish a framework to tackle the pressing challenges humanity is currently facing.

The SDGs, which were adopted by all UN member states at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in 2015, aim to end poverty and protect the planet. The SDGs consist of 17 goals, such as eradication of poverty and hunger, good health and quality education, and gender equality.

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world is becoming more divided, which puts a damper on international cooperation needed to deal with global challenges. The most important thing for the international community to do is to unify on the single-issue of urging Russia to stop its war in Ukraine. A move to expand military alliances will create a more fragmented world and cause a vicious cycle of escalating regional tensions.

Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida Fumio in his address to the latest UN General Assembly called for the creation of a world “filled with cooperation rather than division and confrontation”. However, his administration’s policy to spend 43 trillion yen for a military buildup has created further division and potential for confrontation in East Asia.

Furthermore, the current government is often criticized for being negative about achieving SDGs. Despite an urgent need to increase the minimum hourly wage to 1,500 yen, the government says it will implement a 1,500-yen hourly wage in the mid-2030s. Japan lags behind the world in gender equality as shown by the fact that Japan ranked 125th in the global gender gap ranking and that in the reshuffled Kishida Cabinet, no woman was appointed as senior, parliamentary vice ministers. Japan, with its dependence on coal-fired power generation, hinders global efforts to cope with the climate crisis.

What Japan should do now is to take action to address global challenges, not strengthen its military capability.
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