• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura made a pitch to Asian and African countries Wednesday for swift action on reforming the U.N. Security Council, calling it a matter “of the greatest urgency.”

In a speech at the Asian-African ministerial meeting in Jakarta, Machimura also emphasized Japan’s commitment to both regions and called for holding an Asia-Africa summit under the framework every four years as well as a ministerial meeting every two years.

“In order to consolidate international partnerships, it is of the greatest urgency that we reform the United Nations into an organization that reflects the reality of the international society today,” Machimura said.

“Concerning the reform of the U.N. Security Council, Japan aims for the adoption of a resolution by this summer which would, in essence, expand the membership in both permanent and nonpermanent categories,” he said.

Japan, which is bidding for a permanent seat on the Security Council, is pushing for swift action on reforms.

But uncertainty hangs over the schedule, with the United States — Japan’s closest ally — and China sounding a negative tone toward a proposal by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to decide on the expansion of the council by September.

The Security Council has five permanent members: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. There are also 10 nonpermanent members elected on a rotating basis every two years.

Machimura made the comments a day before U.N. reform was to be discussed at a special session of the Asian-African meeting.

For Japan, obtaining support from African countries, which account for a quarter of U.N. member states, is crucial for its bid to win a seat on the Security Council.

Machimura emphasized the contributions Japan has made so far in Asia and Africa.

“Japan makes good on its promises,” he said. “Toward Asia and Africa, Japan has provided some $130 billion of support. We have contributed to capacity building abroad, having dispatched over 25,000 overseas cooperation volunteers over the past 50 years.”