• Kyodo


Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday made Japan’s pitch for permanent membership on the U.N. Security Council, saying the nonnuclear country that has suffered the devastation of atomic bombings deserves a seat on the council in the 21st century.

In his speech to the general debate session of the U.N. General Assembly, Kan expressed Japan’s resolve to play a more responsible role for the peace and security of the international community.

The prime minister said reform of the most powerful decision-making body at the United Nations is “indispensable” so that it can reflect the realities of today’s international community and remain effective and legitimate.

Kan said Japan “has the moral responsibility to take concrete steps to realize a world without nuclear weapons” since it is the only country in the world that has suffered nuclear attacks.

“Japan bears a responsibility to all humankind to hand down to future generations an awareness of the catastrophic nature of nuclear weapons,” Kan said.

He vowed that Japan will lead global efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.

Welcoming the increasing momentum toward a nuclear-free world manifested by the attendance of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos at a ceremony in Hiroshima marking the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city, Kan said he will appoint atomic-bomb survivors as special envoys to promote the cause.

He also aired concerns over the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran and urged all U.N. member states to steadily implement Security Council sanctions resolutions, calling such actions “essential.”

Kan said North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs “pose a threat to the entire international community” and said settlement of the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents is “absolutely indispensable” for Tokyo to normalize its ties with Pyongyang.

Kan repeated Japan’s pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 compared with the 1990 level on condition that all major emitters commit to establishing “a fair and effective international framework” on tackling global warming.

He also said Japan will play an important role as chair of a key U.N. conference on preserving biological diversity scheduled for next month in Nagoya.

Kan said Tokyo attaches great importance to achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goals on poverty reduction and repeated the nation’s pledge to provide a total of $8.5 billion to help improve health and education services over five years from 2011.

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