Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi indicated Tuesday he will reiterate Japan’s aspiration to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council without revising the war-renouncing Constitution when he addresses next month’s General Assembly meeting.

“I think there would be no problem for there to be a permanent UNSC member that is different from existing members,” Koizumi told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in Tokyo.

Koizumi is expected to deliver his speech at a General Assembly session Sept. 21.

His remarks came despite recent comments by high-ranking U.S. State Department officials hinting that Japan needs to reassess the pacifist Constitution if it wants a permanent seat on the Security Council.

The five countries now on the Security Council are the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia.

“I’d like to make the most of this opportunity” to get Japan a permanent Security Council seat, Koizumi said, noting that such an expansion “is now a major issue on the agenda” of U.N. reforms.

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell made waves when he was quoted as telling Japanese reporters that the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution “would have to be examined” if Japan wants to participate fully in the Security Council.

But earlier Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said Tokyo has confirmed that Powell’s remarks are not the official stance of the U.S. government.

“The United States has supported Japan’s quest for permanent membership in the Security Council without any prerequisites,” Hosoda told his regular morning news conference.

“We have confirmed (the U.S. stance) that constitutional revision is neither a prerequisite nor a constraint,” he added.

Japan has reiterated its desire for permanent membership at past General Assembly sessions, Hosoda added, noting the contents of Koizumi’s speech have yet to be decided.

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