2002 Statement



Permanent Representative of Japan

At the Meeting of the General Assembly

on Item 11: Report of the Security Council and Item 40: Question of Equitable Representation on

and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Related Matters

14 October 2002

Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to the President of the Security Council, Ambassador Belinga-Eboutou of Cameroon, for his introduction of the annual Report of the Security Council on its work. I would also like to thank the former President of the General Assembly, H. E. Dr. Han Seung-soo of the Republic of Korea, as well as Ambassador Ingolfsson of Iceland and Ambassador Durrant of Jamaica for preparing a concise report of the Open-ended Working Group on Security Council reform.

Mr. President,

Looking back on the activities of the Security Council during the past year since the terrorist attacks on September 11, we think that, in general, the Council has functioned well in carrying out its tasks in the maintenance of international peace and security. The best example is its efforts in counter-terrorism, where the Council enjoyed the positive cooperation of non-members. I am also pleased to note that, in the case of Afghanistan, steady progress has been made in the area of reconstruction, with the cooperation of donor countries, and in restoring security, also with the support of members as well as non-member countries. I highly appreciate the fact that the Council, while maintaining its unity, has tackled such complicated issues as the situation in the Middle East and the International Criminal Court.

Mr. President,

I would like to welcome the improvements that have been made in the working methods of the Council. I am particularly pleased that this year’s Report of the Security Council reflects its efforts to respond to the criticisms expressed by non-members of the Council during the debate of this item at the General Assembly last year. However, I would like to make two suggestions for further improvement.

First, I welcome the effort of the Council to enhance participation of non-members by, for example, convening frequent open meetings and meetings with troop-contributing countries. However, the new mechanism for convening joint meetings between Council members and troop-contributing countries which was introduced at the beginning of this year still lacks clarity as to how this mechanism actually works. I would like to request the Council to make further improvements on this matter. It is the view of the Government of Japan that the effective functioning of a peacekeeping operation requires the involvement of not only those countries which provide military and police personnel but also those which supply civilian personnel or which make major financial contributions. We should always bear in mind that the smooth conduct of a peacekeeping operation is only possible with the appropriate involvement of these countries.

My second suggestion relates to Security Council missions. I understand that missions dispatched by the Security Council can play an important role in determining how the United Nations should be engaged in efforts to settle a regional conflict. However, from the viewpoint of the cost-effectiveness, I think it is necessary that the costs and the criteria for deciding when and where to dispatch a mission as well as its composition be made transparent. For instance, a clear explanation should be given to non-members why the Council deems it necessary to send a mission to Kosovo three years in succession.

Mr. President,

I welcome the Council’s voluntary efforts to improve its working methods, although I find it regrettable that discussion among the Council members has been conducted on the premise that the existing size and composition will be maintained. The challenges to international peace and security are rapidly changing, both quantitatively and qualitatively, while the present system for maintaining international peace and security is led by the five States that were entrusted with the responsibility at the time the UN was established more than half a century ago. It thus makes us wonder whether the present system is the most suitable option for securing the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Council. As I have already mentioned, if we look back on its activities during the past year, the Council now requires knowledge and expertise in an ever wider range of fields. Its counter-terrorism efforts, for example, involve those ranging from public security to international financing. And to ensure the implementation of resolutions adopted by the Security Council, the cooperation of all Member States is likewise required in a broad range of areas.

Mr. President,

Having said that, in order to avoid any possible misunderstanding, I have to stress that there is no question that the present five permanent members have both the will and the adequate capacity to contribute to world peace and security and that they have discharged this responsibility well. In this new era, however, I must seriously ask, is it not important that other countries that have an equally strong will and adequate capacity as the P5 also be actively engaged in contributing to world peace and stability, thereby further enhancing the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Council? Furthermore, with the admission of Switzerland and Timor-Leste, there are now as many as 191 Member States of the United Nations. From the viewpoint of its representativeness, how can we keep the Council at its present size and composition, which is the same as it was nearly forty years ago, when there were only 118 Member States. It is of course essential that the Council’s efficiency be maintained. However, I think it is increasingly necessary to expand the Council, while paying due attention to ensure that its effectiveness will not be sacrificed.

Mr. President,

I believe that the views I have just expressed are shared by most of the UN membership. That 80 countries referred to the need to reform the Security Council during the general debate last month supports this belief. Also, within the broader framework of strengthening the United Nations, we must bear in mind that Security Council reform remains one of the most important items on the UN agenda. As the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, put it in his report on this issue, g"No reform of the United Nations would be complete without reform of the Security Council".

Mr. President,

In his statement at the close of the 56th session, the then president, H. E. Dr. Han Seung-soo, mentioned that in the past year the discussion of Security Council reform, "has not seen much change." Japan shares the frustration which many countries are now feeling. Because the United Nations had to devote itself to the fight against terrorism this past year, we were unable to build upon the momentum that had been generated at the Millennium Summit the previous year. It is thus all the more important that we revitalize our discussion now. In noting that the debate on reform will enter its tenth year next year, Prime Minister Koizumi avowed in his statement at this General Assembly Hall in September that Japan intends to work hard to achieve progress on Security Council reform.

My delegation believes that, as the first practical step toward concluding a comprehensive reform package, our discussions at the meetings of the Open-ended Working Group on Security Council reform should now focus on such question as the number of seats on the enlarged Council. Based on my delegation’s experience last year, we cannot expect to make progress by repeating our discussion of existing papers. We thus look forward to the positive engagement by the Bureau of the Working Group under the leadership of President Kavan.

As we continue with this task, we also think that it will be helpful to provide opportunities to consider the issue from various angles, both inside and outside the United Nations, and with wider participation by both government officials and non-governmental actors. In the event concrete progress toward Security Council reform is not achieved even after ten years of deliberations on this issue, it might be worthwhile to consider measures for moving the discussion forward by, for example, holding meetings with representatives of Member States at the political level.

Mr. President,

In the Millennium Declaration, heads of states and governments committed themselves to comprehensive reform of the Security Council. It is up to us to continue our efforts toward that end. Japan reaffirms its determination to do just that, and is ready to cooperate with other Member States to realize our common objective, Security Council reform.

Thank you, Mr. President