Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Eighth Round of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council in Informal Plenary
28 November 2011
I would like to welcome the convening of the Eighth Round of the Intergovernmental Negotiations. I also take the opportunity to extend our gratitude for your tireless efforts to facilitate the discussions among the Member States. As Japan expressed at the debate of the General Assembly on 8 November, we fully trust that you will exercise proactive leadership in order to promote substantive and meaningful discussions among the Member States, aiming at a concrete outcome during the current session of the General Assembly.
We need a sense of urgency. We have been patiently working on this issue for 20 years, without fruitful results. All Member States must make a dedicated commitment to the reform effort and take resolute steps to accelerate the process. Unless we do so, there is a serious risk that such “negotiations” may continue for another 20 years, critically undermining the legitimacy of the United Nations.
This year, we have witnessed ground breaking regional developments which demonstrated the central role of the Security Council in maintaining international peace and security. Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 were epoch-making resolutions, which responded expeditiously to the evolving situation on the ground. At the same time, there have been areas in which the Council has not met our expectations, including the issue of the DPRK uranium enrichment activities and the Yeonpyeong Island incident as well as the situation in Syria. Peace operations in Africa continue to need our utmost attention and resources.
Like national government, governance of international fora must be reformed, so as to effectively respond to new challenges. The emergence of G20 is such a case in point. The Security Council will be no exception to such evolution in international governance. If unchanged, the Council’s legitimacy will be increasingly questioned. Without reform of the Security Council, the United Nations as a whole will eventually suffer.
As I had indicated in the Plenary Meeting on Security Council reform on 8th this month, the Japanese government on 14 November hosted the Tokyo Dialogue on Security Council Reform, in order to begin a new chapter for an honest, open and substantive dialogue and generate a further dynamism for negotiations. We appreciated the opening remarks by the President of the General Assembly, in which he encouraged the participants to engage in the discussions with flexibility, effectiveness and openness. The Foreign Minister of Japan also delivered his remarks calling for a frank and substantive exchange of views to achieve a concrete outcome towards early reform of the Council.
The participants reaffirmed the need for early reform and conducted serious exchange of views on how to realize it. It is our hope that such dialogues will continue to contribute to the intergovernmental negotiations.
While there still remain wide differences of views among Member States, the G4 initiative earlier this year of a draft resolution providing for expansion of the Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories and improvement of its working methods garnered strong, cross-regional support among the Member States. It would thus be fair to say that the G4 initiative also provided the reform movement with a fresh impetus.
Today, I would like to raise some elements which we believe should be considered further. Without looking into concrete proposals, we cannot move ahead.
First, with regard to categories of membership, the two basic models call, respectively, for enlargement in both of the current categories and enlargement in the non-permanent category only. A number of Member States have encouraged the exploration of an “interim” or “intermediate” solution, which is basically to explore longer-term seats with the possibility of re-election and a mandatory review. Some Member States have requested further clarification of the content and scope of this idea. The idea should be further developed taking into consideration strong support for expansion in both categories. It would be worthwhile to discuss how an “interim” or “intermediate” solution could accommodate expansion in both categories.
Second, as to the size of an enlarged Security Council, the proposals range from the low to mid-20s. However, most of the Member States have stated that the composition of a reformed Security Council should be in the mid-20s, in order to strike a balance between representativeness and effectiveness. With regard to representation, suggested selection criteria for new members include contribution to international peace and security, equitable geographical distribution and development status. Member States also have stressed the necessity to rectify the problem of non-representation and under-representation of some regions, in particular Africa.
Third, the question of the veto. There are various positions ranging from abolition of the veto to extending the veto to new permanent members. We need to continue further discussions on this question.
With regard to the working methods and the relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council, we welcome the debate at the General Assembly on the report of the Security Council on 8 November. The debate was devoted entirely to examination of the report, which demonstrated the importance of discussing this matter. We are also looking forward to the open debate on the working methods to be held on 30 November. My appreciation goes to the Permanent Representative of Portugal, Ambassador Cabral, who undertook these initiatives.
On the basis of the progress of the last session, we must take the next step towards achieving a concrete outcome. I believe that time is ripe and all Member States are now ready to begin substantive negotiations aimed at finding a solution which can accommodate different views and garner the widest possible political acceptance, as required by previous decisions of the General Assembly.
This round should be a turning point when we begin intensively discussing matters related to Security Council reform. We strongly wish to see more frequent and substantive intergovernmental negotiations. In this regard, we believe that streamlining the negotiation text Rev. 3 to include narrowed-down options will help move the negotiating process forward.
As Japan has stressed on many occasions, including at the G4 Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in September in New York, Japan is ready to work in close cooperation with all Member States in a spirit of flexibility to achieve our common goal. We hope to see the same spirit demonstrated by every Member State, so that we may begin to have constructive and results-oriented discussions on the way forward.
We are counting on strong leadership by the Chairman to conduct us towards substantive discussions. What is needed is synergy between the initiatives of the Member States and the able and bold guidance of the Chairman. We are looking forward to the effective use of your expert skills, Mr. Chairman, in steering the negotiations.
In conclusion, let me reiterate that Japan will spare no efforts to achieve a concrete outcome during the present session, in close cooperation with the Chairman and all of the Member States.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.