(KYOTO, 4 December) - The Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Mr Juan Somavia, praised Japan's commitment to creating decent work opportunities for women, men and young people, and called on the country to continue to use its voice in the G-20 to support more concerted international action to put the creation of jobs at the centre of efforts to solve the global economic crisis,
Mr Somavia was speaking at a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ahead of the 15th ILO Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) that opens in Kyoto today and brings together government ministers and representatives of workers' and employers' organizations from more than 46 countries in Asia, the Pacific and the Arab States.
The Director-General said that the growth model of the past thirty years has failed to deliver quality jobs and that the world needs a new model that puts people first. In particular, the plight of young people who cannot find a job or are underemployed calls needs urgent attention. "There is a lot of talk about restoring the confidence of the markets but we also need to restore the confidence of the people. People's trust will be essential as we work our way out of the crisis", he added.
Mr Somavia praised Japan's commitment to the ILO's Decent Work agenda, and said that Japan's experience of creating employment, especially in the process of recovery from disaster provides important lessons for other countries in the region.
Prime Minister Noda stressed the importance of the Decent Work agenda, a concept which Mr Somavia introduced when he first took over as ILO Director-General [in 1999]. He said that Decent Work has enhanced the ILO's visibility in the international community. The Prime Minister added that the concept is an integral part of Japan's "New Growth Strategy" which the government launched last June.
Mr Somavia thanked the Japanese government for hosting the meeting in spite of the difficult situation in Japan following the natural disasters and the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant that befell the country in March this year. He also thanked Japan for its generous support of the ILO's work.
The APRM ends on 7 December.
For further information please contact:
Ms Sophy Fisher
Regional Information Officer (Asia and the Pacific)
International Labour Organization
Tel: +66 (0) 22882482
Mob: 080 3208 7988
Fax: +66 (0) 2288 1076