• Kyodo

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Japan will contest the election for a nonpermanent seat on the U.N. Security Council from 2023 to 2024 after its current two-year term closes at the end of this month, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Friday in New York.

He also pushed Japan’s case for reforming the council, which includes the goal of getting Japan and other nations added as permanent members.

“Japan will contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security by attempting to be a nonpermanent member of the council as frequently as possible” until reform is achieved, he told the media at U.N. headquarters in announcing Tokyo’s plan to run on the 2022 ballot.

Kono was in New York to preside over Friday’s ministerial-level UNSC meeting on North Korea earlier in the day.

The Security Council consists of five permanent veto-wielding members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — and 10 nonpermanent members that serve two-year terms.

At a news conference, Kono called for an overhaul of the powerful council, describing it as an “urgent task” needed to more effectively address threats to global peace and security.

“The Security Council still does not reflect the realities of the international community in the 21st century, as we can see from the fact that Africa, which is broadly and frequently discussed in the Security Council, is underrepresented,” he said.

While welcoming the progress being made to change the U.N. Secretariat, Kono said, “No reform of the United Nations will be complete without the reform of the Security Council.”

He called for text-based intergovernmental negotiations on revamping the UNSC to begin in the current session of the U.N. General Assembly, saying the push is not solely motivated by Japan’s desire for a permanent seat.

Together with Brazil, India and Germany, Japan is one of the Group of Four countries aspiring to become permanent seat holders on a restructured council.

Despite general agreement among U.N. members that the UNSC’s current structure is outdated, there has been no agreement on how to bring about structural changes.

The Group of Four, for example, believes it is necessary to enlarge the council by adding more permanent and nonpermanent seats.

Uniting for Consensus, a grouping that counts Italy, Pakistan and South Korea among its members, has been pushing only for an increase in nonpermanent members, though it has also proposed lengtening their terms beyond two years.

Tokyo was elected in 2015 to serve its 11th term as a nonpermanent member on the Security Council, a record for any nation.

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