UNSC reform drive stalling

Japan fears new resolution will lack proper support

Japan is leaning toward giving up on its plan to submit a new resolution on expanding the United Nations Security Council because it fears it won’t be able to get enough support, government sources said Sunday.

Japan also believes the United States is unlikely to drop its reluctance to expanding the Security Council, although Tokyo was expecting to obtain Washington’s support, the sources said.

“Only a scant percent of a chance exists for Security Council reform,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told the U.N. General Assembly in September that Japan would submit a new resolution by the coming September, after an earlier resolution compiled by the Group of Four — Japan, Germany, India and Brazil — died in the face of opposition from the U.S., China and others at an assembly session the same month.

The Japanese government will make a final decision on the matter after evaluating the outcome of the talks between Foreign Minister Taro Aso and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Saturday in Sydney, they said.

Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations Kenzo Oshima, who is visiting Tokyo, will also brief government officials on the UNSC reform situation.

Aso and Rice agreed to continue cooperating on United Nations reform, including the Security Council, with Rice saying she would give it serious thought.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told Kyodo News earlier this month that the United States thinks Japan should have a permanent seat.

But he also said a number of formulas were being discussed, and that the United States doesn’t see any of them as likely to get the needed support.

Japan’s resolution is basically aimed at getting the Security Council to expand to 21 members from 15.

Under Japan’s idea, countries that stand as candidates and win the support of at least two-thirds of the U.N. membership, or 128 countries, would be recognized as new permanent members but would not get veto power.

Other candidates would become semipermanent members with terms longer than the two years given to current nonpermanent members.

Current nonpermanent members cannot serve more than one term consecutively, but the semipermanent members would be allowed to do so.

Japan has been explaining the new resolution to other U.N. members but has so far been unable to get their support. It came up with the new resolution after the G-4 resolution failed last year.