National / Politics

Japan working on getting U.N. chief Guterres to visit by year's end

Kyodo

The government is arranging to have U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visit Japan by the end of the year, a diplomatic source said.

If he does, it will be his first visit since taking the helm of the United Nations in January. The U.N. chief will likely meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other Japanese officials, the source said Sunday.

Tokyo hopes to use the visit to boost momentum for reforming the U.N. Security Council. Japan has nonpermanent membership in the council until the end of the year.

The government is considering timing his visit to coincide with either an international symposium on women’s empowerment this autumn or an international conference on health and medicine in December, the source added.

It is also planning to ask Guterres to increase Japanese staff at the U.N.

As of June 30 last year, its 78 Japanese composed 2.62 percent of the U.N.’s regular staff, despite the fact that Tokyo’s money accounts for 9.68 percent of the U.N. budget as calculated for the three-year period from 2016, placing it second after the United States. The calculations are reviewed every three years.

According to the source, Guterres showed a willingness to visit Japan when former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida broached the idea during a visit to U.N. headquarters in New York in July.

Japan has called for expanding the number of permanent and nonpermanent members in the UNSC. The five nuclear powers — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — are the permanent, veto-wielding members of the council.