Bush said to back Japan’s U.N. bid

Kyodo

A senior White House official assured Japan on Friday that President George W. Bush supports its bid to become a permanent U.N. Security Council member, Senior Vice Foreign Minister Ichiro Aisawa said.

At a news conference concluding a four-day visit to the United States, Aisawa said Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told him earlier in the day that not only the State Department but the entire administration and Bush himself support the bid.

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage voiced full support for Japan’s pursuit of a permanent Security Council seat when he met with Aisawa on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Hadley tacitly urged Japan to reopen its market to U.S. beef as soon as possible.

Aisawa also held talks Friday with Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, to discuss a realignment of U.S. forces in Japan and issues related to the crash of a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter in Okinawa last month.

Act now: Kawaguchi

KYOTO (Kyodo) Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi stressed Saturday that the international community must act to reform the United Nations, while momentum toward such a goal is growing.

“Unless reforms take place while there is growing momentum, the opportunity will be missed,” Kawaguchi said at a town meeting in Kyoto.

“The latest threat (to the international community) is terrorism and proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Kawaguchi said. “I wonder if the United Nations is capable of responding to such issues.”

At the same time, she repeated that Japan wants a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

“Japan is qualified to join the Security Council as a permanent member,” she said. “We have made achievements.”