Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi on Thursday told visiting U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan that Japanese are becoming dissatisfied with their nation’s increasing share of U.N. expenses and the lack of progress in reforming the Security Council, a Foreign Ministry official said.

For several years now Japan has been strenuously lobbying for a permanent seat on the Security Council.

During talks at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence, Obuchi said Japan has sincerely fulfilled its financial commitment to the United Nations despite the country’s severe economic situation in recent years.

Acknowledging Japan’s concern and its push for a Security Council seat, Annan asked Japan not to suspend its financial contributions to the U.N., the official said.

As the second-largest sponsor of the U.N., Japan’s share of the financial burden stood at 19.9 percent this year and is expected to surpass 20 percent in 2000.

The 15-seat Security Council currently consists of five permanent members and 10 rotating seats. Japan and other countries have questioned the limited number of permanent members and the council’s voting system for adopting resolutions, which requires the unanimous approval of permanent members.

Regarding the appointment Tuesday of a Japanese official as a deputy chief of the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor, Obuchi reiterated Japan’s commitment to the nation-building process, the official said.

As one of the body’s two deputy special representatives, Akira Takahashi of the Japan International Cooperation Agency will lead UNTAET’s humanitarian assistance and emergency rehabilitation component — one of its three main components.

Obuchi said Tokyo will continue to provide necessary financial and personnel support to UNTAET and seek Jakarta’s cooperation in the process from Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, who will visit Japan next week, the official said.

Annan expressed gratitude for Japan’s commitment to the issue, saying building a nation in East Timor will take extensive support from the international community in reconstructing violence-torn areas and meeting local humanitarian needs, the official said.

Meanwhile, touching on the election last month of Koichiro Matsuura, currently Japan’s ambassador to France, as the next chief of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Obuchi and Annan reaffirmed they will further cooperate in advancing UNESCO’s administrative and financial reforms, the official said.

Annan arrived Wednesday in Japan on a five-day visit at the invitation of the government. Prior to talks with Obuchi, Annan met with Diet members in charge of U.N. affairs and visited the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Palace.

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