Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who died earlier this month, was remembered by former Japanese diplomats and U.N. experts as a strong supporter of Security Council reform plans that could have given Japan a permanent seat.

The Ghanaian-born Annan, who served as secretary-general between 1997 and 2006, also gave encouragement to Japan's regional diplomatic efforts in Africa and to human security efforts in other parts of the world.

"Mr. Annan was very supportive to the idea of reforming the Security Council, which had been one of the top priorities of Japanese foreign policy. Japan has been, and is still trying, to realize reform together with other countries, particularly Germany, India, and Brazil, the Group of Four nations," said Takahiro Shinyo, a former U.N. ambassador who is now Dean of Kwansei Gakuin University's Integrated Center for U.N. and Foreign Affairs Studies.