National / Politics

Abe pushes Japan bid for permanent Security Council membership


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pressing the case for immediate reform of the United Nations and Japan’s aspiration to become a permanent member of the Security Council.

“As for reforming the Security Council, it is no longer time to discuss. Now it is time for us to produce concrete results,” Abe told a symposium at United Nations University in Tokyo to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the world body.

“With pride quietly in mind at having built up a record of one achievement after another, Japan stands ready to take on the role of a permanent member of the Security Council. This is how Japan has been until now, and how it will continue to be into the future,” he said.

With this year marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Abe said, “While feeling deep remorse regarding the war, we have dedicated our postwar development to building a country liberal and democratic, which upholds human rights and the rule of law.

“Our goal has always been to grow as a country that is able to contribute to the peace, growth and the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the world,” he said.

Abe underlined that “cooperation and collaboration with the United Nations comprise the very essence” of his policy of “proactive contribution to peace” based on the principle of international cooperation.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was among participants at the symposium.

In collaboration with Brazil, Germany and India, Japan is calling for expanding the number of both permanent and nonpermanent members of the 15-member Security Council so it can better represent the realities of the international community of the 21st century.

As part of Japan’s contribution to the United Nations, Abe referred to more than $20 billion it has paid to the world body, as well as $324.9 billion in development assistance it has extended.

Citing the 70th anniversary this year of the United Nations’ founding and the 60th anniversary next year of Japan’s accession to the world body, Abe said his government will make the two years as “years for taking concrete actions.”

As the world faces cross-border challenges such as extremism, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change and infectious diseases, as well as human security issues such as public health, education and women’s empowerment, Abe said: “We must not be divided. The nations must stand even more united.”

Abe said Japan will host a high-level seminar in June to promote peace building, national reconciliation and democratization in Asia.

“To dispel hatred and promote reconciliation, Japanese diplomacy has made modest but continuous efforts in Mindanao in the Philippines or in Sri Lanka,” he said. “The seminar will have Asian countries each bringing their own experiences in these areas, and the venue will be right here at U.N. University.”