Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the 36th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on Agenda Item 124: Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Security Council

(As delivered)
Thank you Madam President, for convening this important meeting.
Japan fully aligns itself with the statement delivered by His Excellency Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India, on behalf of the G4. Please allow me to make a few remarks in my national capacity.
Madam President,
This year marks 10 years since we began the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN). Yet in this time, we have seen little progress. It is essential for the Security Council’s credibility that its composition reflect the realities of the 21st century. As Prime Minister Abe said during the general debate in September, “in light of the lack of progress in reforming the Security Council, the significance of the United Nations in the 21st century world is already being starkly questioned.”
I wish to focus on four key elements in my remarks today.
First, Japan notes with satisfaction that the PGA has highlighted “revitalization of the United Nations” as a core item of her agenda, which we understand includes Security Council reform. We welcome the President’s emphasis on this issue, and ask her to exercise her leadership guiding us forward in the coming year. We look forward to cooperating closely with the co-chairs, whom you have just named, to oversee the IGN in this session.
Secondly, we strongly request the long-overdue commencement of text-based negotiations to begin immediately. This is a natural next step after our work over the past decade. Negotiating based on a text is the way we take action here in the UN, and we are concerned that even after a decade of intergovernmental negotiations, we do not even have a text to negotiate on, which impairs our ability to proceed. More than 160 countries have expressed support for text-based negotiations, and we need to take action accordingly.
Thirdly, we believe that we should continue work on the document we were working on at the end of last session. We also reaffirm our support for attribution in the text. This will enable us to clearly see who made which proposal, and will especially allow for an accurate and appropriate reflection of the Common African Position in the negotiations. For our part, we have long held that the Council should be expanded in both permanent and non-permanent categories, a view shared by a wide majority of the membership. A text that clearly reflects the positions of all Member States will allow us to engage in the give-and-take discussions that will be necessary to reach an agreement.
Fourth and finally, we believe that the current IGN process should be reviewed. If we need consensus for decision-making, it gives a de facto veto over the process to just a few countries, which we believe is not the will of the great majority.
Madam President,
This is an inflection point for Security Council reform. If we fail to make significant headway in the coming session, I fear that the legitimacy and viability of the IGN process itself will come into question. It is urgent that this year’s session be a productive one.
In 2020, we shall celebrate the 75th anniversary of the UN’s founding. It is the responsibility of us, the Member States, to make concrete progress on Security Council reform in time for this milestone. Only through reform can we ensure that the Council will maintain the legitimacy it needs to play its vital role as we move forward.
Lastly, I have to add that it is regrettable that there was a groundless statement just made a few minutes ago, on this floor referring to Japan, which is irrelevant to Security Council reform.
I thank you.