• Kyodo


Atsuko Toyama, the education minister, said Friday that the world must do more to provide for children’s needs and protect them from harm.

“Creating a world fit for children . . . will contribute to the future of all humankind,” Toyama, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, told a special United Nations session on children in New York.

Toyama made the remarks as negotiations continued on drafting a final document for the three-day session, which ended Friday.

The talks have become contentious because the United States is at odds with the European Union and many Asian, African and Latin American nations over family planning and capital punishment.

Toyama mainly focused her comments on meeting educational and health-care needs and preventing sexual abuse, exploitation and violence.

She stressed the importance of education as it “enables them to overcome poverty and hardship . . . it is especially important to ensure equal access to education for girls.”

She also mentioned Japan’s long-term assistance in the provision of health care. She cited Tokyo’s commitment to allotting up to $3 billion over a five-year period in support of measures against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries.

Describing exploitation of children as “exploitation of humankind itself,” the minister hailed the outcome of the Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in December in Yokohama.

Also on Friday, Japan signed two protocols to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child — one banning the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography, and the other against children’s involvement in conflicts.

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