NEW YORK – Japanese Ambassador to the U.N. Motohide Yoshikawa has underscored the need for Japan to be a permanent member of the Security Council, saying it was “logical” as a key financial contributor.
As Japan and other countries debate revamping the global organization’s most powerful body, Yoshikawa said Japan should fulfill its duty by taking up a place in the “most important organ” of the U.N. and be a constant part of decision-making.
“Japan is a country that provides the second-largest support to the United Nations,” Yoshikawa said in an interview with Kyodo News last week, referring to its budgetary contributions.
Japan puts up 10.83 percent of the U.N. budget, making it the second-largest contributor after the United States.
Intergovernmental negotiations are underway on Security Council reforms at the current U.N. General Assembly session in New York.
Japan has teamed up with Germany, Brazil and India — in the so-called Group of Four — in advocating increases in the quotas of both permanent and nonpermanent members to expand the council to between 25 and 26 countries, up from the five permanent and 10 nonpermanent members now.
The G-4 introduced a similar resolution to the U.N. General Assembly in 2005 to expand the council.
However, the bid ultimately failed in the face of opposition from the United States and China.
Japan, for its part, made its ambition to join the Security Council known for the first time at the General Assembly in 1994 in a speech given by then-Foreign Minister Yohei Kono.
Yoshikawa noted that joining the council was not a goal Japan is “desperately wishing” to achieve as suggested in some quarters.
But he acknowledged it came with significant responsibility that Japan would have to assume if given the opportunity.
“If we join the Security Council, we would be forced to make difficult decisions every day,” he said, seemingly in reference to such motions as invoking sanctions against a country.
“That’s not an easy task but it is a responsibility for a country commensurate with its clout in such a position,” Yoshikawa said.
Yoshikawa stressed that Tokyo was elected a nonpermament member with a two-year term 10 times in the past.
The country joined the United Nations in 1956, 11 years after the inception of the organization after World War II, in which Japan was defeated.
The multiple election record is shared by Brazil, which works together with Japan in the G-7.
“In a total of 20 years in which we held a Security Council position, we made efforts at resolving issues related to North Korea, East Timor, Cambodia and the Middle East,” Yoshikawa said.
“These achievements have been recognized by all quarters.”
Reforming the Security Council requires a revision of the U.N. Charter.
After a motion for a revision is endorsed by two-thirds of members for adoption, it then has to be ratified by two-thirds of the countries, including the five permanent members.
One of the concerns for Japan is whether its proposal would gain support from China, a permanent member that has a vexed history with Japan amid ongoing disagreements between the nations over various historical issues.
Yoshikawa expressed the view that once the reform plan is adopted, it will open the door toward its implementation.
“When everyone is calling for a charter revision in the world, I don’t think China alone can oppose it,” he said.