2003 Statement


H.E. Mr. Koichi Haraguchi

Permanent Representative of Japan

At the Meeting of the General Assembly on Item 11, "Report of the Security Council"

13 October 2003

Mr. President,

Let me begin by expressing my appreciation to the President of the Security Council, Ambassador John D. Negroponte, for his introduction of the annual report of the Security Council on its work. I would also like to thank the United Kingdom and Spain for drafting the Introduction of the report.

Mr. President,

In the period covered by this report, Iraqi issue figured prominently in the agenda of the Security Council, as the Introduction of the report indicates. Much of the Council's time and energy were consumed by discussion of the Iraqi issue. In that process, questions have been raised on the effectiveness of the Security Council with regard to its primary role of maintaining international peace and security. I understand that there was an active discussion among the Security Council members on how each member's views should be reflected in the report during the drafting process. I was looking forward to hearing these frank views in an open meeting of the Council as has occurred in previous years. However, contrary to the previous practice, no Council member took the floor to present their views this time. It was regrettable that we were not able to hear the views of the Council members directly from the standpoint of ensuring transparency and accountability of the Council to non-members.

Mr. President,

I do not intend to comment on the substance of each of the activities of the Council as summarized in the report at this time. However, let me raise two points which Council members may deem worth considering.

My first point relates to the issue of ensuring openness of the activities of the Council to non-members. Japan welcomes the fact that the Council has become increasingly aware of the need to ensure its openness to non-members in recent years and that open debate sessions are now held more frequently, as was confirmed just now by Ambassador Negroponte. From time to time a Council meeting which had been announced as an open briefing has been changed to an open debate. That should be a welcome development, but these changes in format were often announced on such a short notice. In the case of the discussion on Kosovo that took place in August, for example, we were informed of the change of format for the first time in the Journal of the very day on which the debate was to be held. As a result, not many non-Council members were able to take full advantage of the opportunities. We would like to request the Council to make sure that reasonable advance notice be given in case of such changes, in order to enable non-Council members to make full use of such opportunity. The same thing can also be said of the "emergency sessions" of the Council, such as the one held at the beginning of this month. I know it is difficult to announce the holding of an emergency meeting well in advance, simply because it is an emergency meeting. However, I consider it necessary for the Council to search for a means to ensure that all non-members are informed of such an emergency session beforehand so that they can express their views if they wish to.

In addition, there have been cases in the past in which "wrap-up sessions" whose original purpose was to review the activities of the Council for the month digressed from their original purpose by engaging in a thematic discussion that is totally unrelated to the Council's activities of that month.

These are some of the examples of a procedural nature that have caused frustration among some non-members such as my country. I hope that the members of the Council would continue to make efforts for such procedural improvements in these areas.

Mr. President,

Second, Japan would like to request that the Council continue to look for means to involve those non-Council members with a vital interest in the issue under discussion more substantially in the Council's decision-making process.

As for resolutions that have budgetary implications, including those relating to Peace Keeping Operations (PKOs), political missions and peace-consolidation, transparency needs to be ensured, particularly with respect to major financial contributing countries, when adopting the resolutions or reviewing their implementation. A mechanism for consultation has been established between the Council and Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) regarding specific PKOs. Some mechanism of a similar nature is needed for major financial contributors, because they are obliged to account for their financial contribution to their taxpayers. It is not reasonable to expect that those non-Council members which share the bulk of such expenses will simply passively issue checks necessary for implementation of the decisions made by the 15 countries on the Council without being given a chance to consult on the decisions or to confirm whether the decisions have been properly implemented.

In this connection, I would also like to point out again that we have yet to receive sufficient explanation with regard to budgetary transparency for Security Council mission, an issue that my delegation continuously raised. However, I wish to add, on this occasion, that Japan does acknowledge that the improvement has been realized on other issues of transparency including the provision of detailed briefings before and after the dispatch of Security Council missions.

Mr. President,

The procedural improvement of the Council is important. However, that alone is not sufficient to enhance the legitimacy of the Council. We need to reform the Council by including those countries which are both willing and able to shoulder responsibility at the global level as permanent members. I intend to elaborate Japan's view on this issue under the agenda item of "Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Related Matters" which is to be taken up following the discussion on this item.

Thank you, Mr. President.