Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Informal Plenary Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

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Co-chairs,
 
          I would like to thank you for convening today’s meeting. My delegation fully aligns itself with the statement made by Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India, on behalf of the G4. Allow me to stress several points in my national capacity.
 
(Progress made by the revised FFT paper)
          Last Friday, we received from you the revised version of “Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Consideration”, or the “Food for Thought” (FFT) paper.
          I welcome your efforts on this revised FFT paper, based on the suggestions the Member States made during the last meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN). This paper contains positive elements. It incorporates “Elements of convergence on two of the five key issues of Security Council reform”, as identified by the IGN of the 70th session, as well as some of the elements of the “framework document” concerning regional representation. Moreover, it now refers more clearly to the common African position and the “Ezulwini Consensus”, although it may be necessary to work more with our African colleagues in order to reflect them appropriately and accurately.
          Therefore, this paper seems to be moving in the right direction toward one single document, through the integration of the previous IGN outcome documents and the reflection of various positions. Especially, via the inclusion of the common African position, it is progressing to be a paper reflecting the positions of Member States, and is beginning to take shape as our paper, the Membership’s paper.
 
(Suggestions which remain to be reflected)
          At the same time, I would like to reiterate two suggestions, as already mentioned during the previous meeting. First, let me suggest once again that the FFT paper be reorganized in such a way that the two separate segments of “Elements of Commonality” and “Issues for Further Consideration” are integrated. This integration will give greater clarity, as the headings of the five clusters will come first and the reader will be able to see both “Elements of Commonality” and “Issues for Further Consideration” of the same cluster under one single heading.
          Second, I would like to emphasize the importance of attribution, which will go hand in hand with the restructuring of the document in the quest of greater clarity. Especially in such clusters as “Categories of membership”, “The question of the veto” and “Regional representation”, attribution of proposals is indispensable so that, on the one hand, various views and positions juxtaposed under the chapter 6 on “Regional representation” on pages 7 and 8 can be clearly attributed to Member States and groups, and that, on the other hand, the interlinkages among the clusters will be made clear. Greater clarity is and should be a common denominator for us all, regardless of respective positions.
 
(Categories)
          “Categories of membership” is mentioned both on pages 5 and 6. Let me reiterate our position on this point. 
          Japan, together with other members of the G4 and many others, supports the idea of expanding both permanent and non-permanent seats in the Security Council.
          Some Member States oppose the expansion of permanent categories. However, that would be no different from the status quo.  Today’s Security Council does not reflect geopolitical realities of our time. Greater representation of developing countries and major contributors to the United Nations is essential. Countries with the will and resources to play a major role in the international peace and security should take part in the Council's decision-making process continuously. Therefore, the Security Council must include the expansion of permanent categories, in addition to non-permanent categories, by adding new members from both developing and developed countries. This will ensure the continued legitimacy, effectiveness, and representativeness of the Security Council.
 
(Veto)
          As for the veto, it seems reasonable to seek equality between current and new permanent Council members, as already stated by Sierra Leone and many African countries during the last meeting, in accordance with the “Ezulwini Consensus”. Japan agrees with the call for equality. At the same time, some of the current permanent members, namely France and the UK, have expressed their views on the restriction of the vetoes. As described in the framework document with input from the G4, “the new permanent members would as a principle have the same responsibilities and obligations as current permanent members. However, the new permanent members shall not exercise the veto-right until a decision on the matter has been taken during a review, to be held fifteen years after the coming into force of the reform.” This means that, although the new permanent members have the equal rights to those of the current permanent members, they will abstain from exercising them on a voluntary basis for a certain period of time. I believe that this may be a possible answer to this complex issue of veto, given the fact that France and the UK, permanent members, have not exercised their veto for a long time, as well as the call for equality forwarded by Africa.
 
(Regional representation)
          I wish to refer to paragraph 6(j) of the revised FFT paper. Some have expressed view that this paragraph should be given more prominence.  Some have insisted that this paragraph be deleted. Well, it is placed under “Issues for Further Consideration” and it incorporates various positions and views on regional representation. Therefore, it seems reasonable to maintain this paragraph.  It also puts in focus the need for attribution to add clarity to our discussion.
 
(Streamlining the revised FFT)
          As mentioned earlier, restructuring and attribution are the key components for greater clarity. In addition, it will be necessary, from now on, to streamline the revised FFT paper by reducing duplication and regrouping similar contents, as we move forward. This will also serve for greater clarity, together with restructuring and attribution.
 
(Possibility of further suggestions)
          These are the comments and suggestions today that my delegation would like to put forward regarding this revised FFT paper. While I would like to reiterate my appreciation to the co-chairs for their hard work, I have to say that these comments and suggestions are preliminary due to the time constraints that we faced. My delegation will continue to review the document and may have additional suggestions in the future. I also look forward to hearing practical inputs from other colleagues during this meeting, which may also require further reflection.
 
 (Conclusion)
          In concluding my remarks, let me mention once again the need for text-based negotiations and making tangible progress. While creating the revised FFT paper, as we are doing now, is not an end, stimulating concrete discussions based on this paper is a positive development. All of us will have to work on narrowing down the differences and the options as we go forward. This is indeed a challenging task, but my delegation will continue to support you.
 
Thank you, co-chairs.