2005 Statement


Opening Statement by H.E. Mr. Nobutaka Machimura

At the Meeting on UN Reform

(29 April, 2005)

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you all for coming to this meeting.

It is my great pleasure to make a few remarks on a subject that is consuming much of your time and energy these days ? UN reform.

No one doubts that the United Nations will continue to be the single most important, irreplaceable multilateral organization to ensure peace and security, and economic and social advancement. No other international organization can match the legitimacy and universality of the United Nations. Thus, strengthening of the United Nations is in the interest of all Member States, large and small, and is a crucial part in our collective effort to address the challenges of the contemporary world.
That is why the Secretary-General’s dedicated and focused effort for reform of the UN should not only be encouraged, but supported as far as possible by Member States. Japan stands behind the Secretary-General to make the current reform attempt a success that will benefit the entire international community.

The question is how and with what priority.

Let me take a few issues to which my Government attaches importance: the MDGs and development, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, peacebuilding, and institutional reform. These are undertakings which will have a strong bearing on the future of the UN.

First, on development. Key objectives of the MDGs, in our view, should be achieved through the eradication of poverty through economic growth and human-centered development. Japan has itself experience of moving up the ladder of development from an aid recipient to one of the largest aid donors in a relatively short period of time. I think this experience has put my country in a unique position, in our humble effort, to assist developing countries with two priority considerations in mind. One is that of respecting ownership of developing countries, namely ensuring that they are in the driver’s seat. And the other is that of partnership. These two concepts are the same that are enshrined in important development strategies, such as NEPAD.
On development financing, as my Prime Minister Koizumi recently stated on the occasion of the Asian-African Summit last week, Japan will continue its efforts towards the goal of providing official development assistance (ODA) equal to 0.7% of its gross national income in order to contribute to the MDGs. My Government will ensure a credible and sufficient level of ODA.

For Africa in particular, Japan will double its ODA over the next three years with grant aid continuing to be its central feature. And we will hold the “TICAD Four” conference in 2008.

We intend to host a seminar towards the end of May or June with a focus on aspects of the MDGs, human security and human-centered development. I hope that it will be a useful opportunity to advance the agenda of Asia-Africa cooperation.

(Arms control, non-proliferation, and peacebuilding)
Japan has played an active role in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. We will continue our strong efforts towards this objective. I am here to attend the NPT Review Conference to contribute to enhancement of the credibility of the NPT regime.
Drawing on our own experience gained through post-war recovery, Japan played a major role in peacebuilding in countries affected by conflict, such as Cambodia and Timor-Leste. We are presently engaged in humanitarian and other peacebuilding-related activities in the Sudan, the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq, because stability of these areas is critical for our global security.
We hope to see the proposed Peacebuilding Commission established, and intend to work together with other Member States to realize this important proposal. This will be a very positive outcome of the September Summit.

(Institutional reform)

Finally, on institutional reform. Strengthening the United Nations in its three main organs - the General Assembly, ECOSOC, and the Security Council ? must be part and parcel of the current round of UN reform effort. Particularly, the Security Council needs to be modernized, its composition expanded, its working methods improved, and it should be reformed to reflect the realities of the 21st century. Developing country representation should be improved.
Much discussion has taken place, in New York and in the capitals around the world, for well over a decade, especially after the High-level Panel was established in 2003. Now, we believe that there is a real momentum to reform the Security Council to give it more legitimacy and increase its effectiveness.
Japan, together with the co-aspirants - Brazil, Germany and India ? have actively promoted the agenda of Security Council reform, including holding a like-minded country meeting on March 31. We outlined our approach to the process that includes expanding the Security Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories. We have begun to engage African aspirants. Soon we will be engaged in wider consultations through an open and interactive process with individual countries and various groups. Following upon these consultations, we hope to present a draft resolution to open the way for a meaningful, long-overdue Security Council reform.

We would defer to the judgment of the international community as to whether Japan should serve as a permanent member of the Security Council. Permanent membership is not a privilege; rather, it is a duty and a responsibility for nations that are willing and able to contribute effectively to international peace and security. As a peace-loving nation, Japan has been contributing to such tasks for decades. As Asia’s leading industrialized democracy, we believe that we can fulfill these responsibilities.
It is my sincere hope that the future generations will judge favorably the crucial decision we will make this year.
Thank you very much.