2005 Statement



H. E. Ambassador KENZO OSHIMA

Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations



27 JANUARY 2005

Mr. President,

Let me first express my gratitude to you for convening this informal meeting. Almost two months have passed since the High-level Panel issued its report. Today's meeting gives Member States an opportunity to express their views on the report, and will serve an important step leading to the Secretary-General's report to be issued in March and the Summit Meeting in September.

Mr. President,

In the General Debate last September, Prime Minister Koizumi challenged the High-level Panel to present a bold and ambitious plan for creating "A New United Nations for the New Era"- a strong and effective United Nations that copes with the challenges we face in today's world. And the Panel did an excellent job, examining how to address the wide-ranging threats, both traditional and new, that face the international community in the twenty-first century, as well as analyzing how the institution of the UN should be reformed for our common goal of peace and prosperity. The Panel rightly points out that, in order to effectively address the inter-connected contemporary threats, the international community must be united in its prevention efforts, and that the UN has an important role to play in this regard. My government, therefore, commends the Panel's work, and appreciates Secretary-General Annan's initiative regarding its activities. Now it is incumbent on us, the Member States, to do a good a job as the Pane strength to grapple with our collective challenges.

Mr. President,

Japan generally agrees with the Panel's analysis of the threats facing the world community in six clusters. In our joint undertakings to address the inter-connected threats strategically, we believe the protection and empowerment of individuals and communities should be emphasized as key factors contributing to the foundation of international peace and security. This is the core of the concept of "human security". From this perspective, Japan commends the Panel for taking up the issues of poverty, infectious disease and environmental degradation as some of the most pressing threats and proposing that all Member States commit themselves to achieving sustainable development.

In this connection, we wish to emphasize the increasingly menacing threats to "human security" and development processes posed by natural disasters, in particular meteorological events, as deserving of greater attention. When these events occur, it is inevitably the weak, whether individuals in a society or states themselves, that feel the impact most severely. We support the call of the UN to incorporate disaster reduction into national and international development strategies, especially as we strive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals to which we are all committed. The recent devastation following the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean reminds of the seriousness of natural disaster. The just-concluded UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction, held in Kobe, Japan, adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action, which addresses many of the key issues involved over the next decade, including the enhancement of early warning and the promotion of a culture of prevention in national disaster policies. It is now up to Member States and the international community as a whole to work along the lines agreed in the Framework for Action, individually and through collective efforts.

On the recent tsunami disaster, I have already had the opportunity to outline Japan's response in the General Assembly plenary meeting on 18 January. I wish to reiterate Japan's full solidarity with the countries affected and its full readiness to address emergency relief as well as longer-term rehabilitation and reconstruction needs.

Mr. President,

With so many lives lost in the frequently occurring conflicts, and by innocent civilians, in particular, the Panel conducted a concrete discussion on the concept of "responsibility to protect". We believe this discussion was useful and contributed to the enhancement of "human security". In this regard, let me make very clear our view that the approach based on "human security" should place a premium on measures for problem-solving at the root of conflict, first and foremost, through non-military means, thereby preventing and reducing the chances of the problems developing into a full-blown conflict and leading to military intervention. We consider this idea of "human security" to be just as important as, if not more so than, any discussion of the need for and justification of military intervention in exceptional circumstances.

Regarding post-conflict peacebuilding, among other relevant cases, Afghanistan offers a good example of how important it is for the international community, working with the United Nations, to mobilize all resources that are available and use them in the most effective manner, in order to help consolidate the gains of a country in transition from conflict to peace, and help prevent it from sliding back into conflict again. One critically important issue in this process is ensuring success in the area of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants. It is hoped that a fuller discussion of this issue and implementation of practical measures will advance our work in the area of peacebuilding.

The Panel correctly pointed out that there is an institutional gap in the UN system that hinders us from effectively and coherently addressing the many issues involved in peacebuilding, and proposed establishing a Peacebuilding Commission as the gap-filling measure. My government has taken note of the proposal as a positive step forward. However, with regard to the specific suggestion of locating such a commission in the Security Council as its subsidiary organ, we see some potential problems and therefore we wish to give the proposal further careful study. Our concern is that issues and problems involved in peacebuilding or so-called transition processes normally encompass a variety of mandates falling under the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, without forgetting the General Assembly. Such mandates often converge, intersect or overlap on peacebuilding-related issues. For now, it seems to us that the institutional gap-filling on peacebuilding could be done more appropriately and in more innovative ways, such as through establishing a joint body or a joint forum of the Security Council and ECOSOC, rather than putting it predominantly in the hands of the Security Council.

UN peacekeeping and other peace missions contribute significantly to maintaining peace and ensuring security in many parts of the world. In this connection, we note in particular the increasingly active role played by regional organizations, in Africa and elsewhere, which we welcome as a very positive development. Closer collaboration between the UN and regional organizations should be encouraged, and the roles of regional organizations should be strengthened, including, where appropriate, through capacity building and other support. For the next two years Japan will serve as chair of the PKO Working Group in the Security Council and hopes to work with all interested Member States and stakeholders to address some of the key issues that confront UN peacekeeping activities today.

Japan commends the Panel for taking up the issue of the use of force, and especially appreciates that the Panel does not favor the rewriting or reinterpretation of Article 51 of the UN Charter concerning the right of self-defense. Further discussion is needed with regard to the use of force, and my government will participate actively in it.

Mr. President,

The Panel rightly recognized the importance of the issue of disarmament and non-proliferation and formulated concrete, positive proposals. Japan largely shares the views expressed in the report. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction constitutes one of the most serious security threats facing the international community, and we hold strong expectations that the UN will play a constructive role in addressing this issue. Nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are a global concern. As the sole country in the world to have experienced nuclear devastation, my government has taken various initiatives, including submitting draft resolutions every year on nuclear disarmament and hosting the CTBT Friends Foreign Ministers' Meetings to realize an early entry into force of the CTBT. The NPT Review Conference in May will be extremely important for maintaining and strengthening the credibility of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime based on the NPT.

The peaceful use of nuclear energy must meet the dual need of addressing environmental concerns and satisfying energy requirements. At the same time, it must also be pursued in a manner consistent with international obligations concerning disarmament and non-proliferation. While continuing close cooperation with the IAEA, Japan is prepared to share further with other interested countries the experience and knowledge gained through its faithful implementation of obligations under IAEA safeguards over the last three decades.

Small arms and light weapons and anti-personnel landmines are two specific threats posed at the level of individuals and communities. Successful control of these widespread problems will contribute significantly to consolidating peace and promoting "human security" for individuals in a variety of humanitarian and post-conflict situations. My government is actively working on this issue and appreciates the emphasis the Panel has placed on it.

Mr. President,

In order to effectively address the threats facing the international community today, the Security Council must play a key role as the body primarily responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. And this body must be reformed so that it reflects the reality of the international community in the twenty-first century and enhances its own effectiveness and credibility. The central issue in the reform of the Council is the expansion of its membership. This expansion should be done in such a way that Member States that have the will, the resources and the capacity to contribute significantly to its work are given an assured place in it. To be effective and reliable, the Council's expansion should be done in a manner that allows the participation of these states on a continuous and permanent basis in the Council's deliberations and decision-making.

The Panel has presented a choice for expansion of the membership ? Model A and Model B. Japan supports reform of the Security Council based on Model A. We note, in particular, that Model A reflects the idea of expanding both the permanent and non-permanent membership categories, and including both developed and developing countries. It advocates the addition of two African Member States as new permanent members, which Japan supports. On the other hand, the Panel's proposal to change the composition of the current regional groups for the purposes of Security Council membership is, in our view, unlikely to enjoy the support of a large number of Member States. We believe that the issue of the veto power and the criteria for selecting new members require further close examination.

As the Secretary-General stated in his note transmitting the Panel's report, we should reach a decision on important UN reform issues, including the reform of the Security Council, in 2005. From that perspective, I would like to point out that the year 2005 will be crucial for realizing the reform of the Security Council. Japan also supports the Panel's suggestion to have an in-depth review of the Council's composition in 2020. Furthermore, Japan strongly agrees with the Panel's observation that transparency and accountability should be enhanced in the work of the Council and that its working methods require reform. As a non-permanent member, Japan will be a positive factor in these efforts.

Mr. President,

In addition to the Security Council, other key organs also require reform with all due haste, and we will continue to study the Panel's recommendations carefully. We will be participating actively in processes that will yield positive results with respect to the efforts directed at reforms in the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Secretariat. We consider that such reforms should include creating a more effective and streamlined Secretariat.

Japan supports the revision of all Articles referring to "enemy states", including Articles 53 and 107 as proposed by the Panel, as well as the deletion of Articles relating to the Trusteeship Council and the Military Staff Committee.

In conclusion, Mr. President, Japan hopes that the report by the Secretary-General to be issued in March will provide direction for Member States in order to make a substantive decision in time for the Summit Meeting in September on key challenges and the institutional changes needed, based on the general agreement of the Member States. To that end, Japan will continue to cooperate with you, Mr. President, the Secretary-General and all Member States, with a view to creating together a reformed and effective United Nations capable of addressing effectively the challenges facing us today.

Thank you.