Kishida plans to chair U.N. talks on Africa peace-building in July


Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said he plans to travel to New York in July to chair a U.N. Security Council meeting on peace-building in Africa, as Japan seeks to show leadership in addressing an issue of global concern.

“Japan will hold an open debate on the theme of peace-building in Africa as the chair country at the U.N. Security Council in July in the context of demonstrating Japan’s emphasis on Africa at home and abroad,” Kishida said Tuesday.

“If circumstances allow, I would like to personally chair this meeting in New York.”

It would be the first time since 2009 that a Japanese foreign minister had attended a U.N. Security Council meeting as chair, a government official said.

Japan, which became a nonpermanent Security Council member in January, will assume the rotating presidency of the 15-member council in July.

The meeting will come before Japan co-organizes a summit of African leaders the following month with the United Nations, the African Union and others to discuss ways to promote development in the region.

The sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development will take place in Kenya in August, the first time it will be held outside Japan.

Kishida expressed his eagerness to share with the international community Japan’s know-how and capability in helping conflict-affected countries in Africa, noting that Japan has dispatched Self-Defense Forces personnel to a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

“In Africa, we have been actively contributing in various phases from post-conflict reconstruction to development,” Kishida said, referring to such support as election monitoring, refugee assistance, and transportation of supplies, as well as building roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Japan has set its sights on becoming a permanent member of the Security Council and has been seeking support from African countries that account for more than a quarter of U.N. member states.

Japan along with Brazil, Germany and India — known as the Group of Four — is calling for expanding the number of both permanent and nonpermanent members of the council.

The attempt, however, has seen little progress as there is no consensus so far on how to restructure the body.

“It is essential to reform the U.N. Security Council and reflect the realities of the international community in the 21st century,” Kishida said. “I believe Japan is a country that should be a permanent member.”