Statement by H.E. Mr. Kenzo Oshima
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open-ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Security Council
20 April 2006
I thank you for giving me the floor a second time to state the view of my delegation. In the follow up to the Outcome Document over the last few months, we have created the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council, and now Security Council reform remains as one of the last and most important issues in the institutional reform of our organization waiting to be addressed. As has been iterated on many occasions, and it is worth repeating once more because it is so true: no reform of the Untied Nations would be complete without reform of the Security Council.
The moment to attack this last and long overdue issue is upon us now, during the current session of the General Assembly. We need to continue to engage ourselves with it, seriously and energetically, for an outcome. The argument for delay of action on the vital issue for reasons of priority, or concerns about overcrowding at the negotiation table, or 'reform fatigue,' is not convincing and should not deter us from taking on the challenge to this issue, which almost all Member States agree will need a solution sooner rather than later. In this connection, my delegation appreciates that the President of the General Assembly remains fully committed to pursuing the goal of Security Council reform.
On the enlargement of the Security Council membership, many delegations who have spoken during the current debate reconfirmed their support for expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent categories. On the other issue - improvement of the working methods of the Council - it is clear that this is of general and significant interest to the broader membership. The tabling of the S5 draft resolution and wide support it seems to have generated attests to that fact.
Many delegations have also made the point that the improvement of the working methods of the Council will be more effectively done if it is accompanied by reform in the structure of the Council. Thus it is clear that the Cluster I and Cluster II issues are not separate but they are closely interrelated and must be treated as such in order for us to achieve genuine reform of the Council. Those views provide clear evidence that there is a solid base to pursue and achieve Security Council reform, building upon the significant progress made during the 59th session of the General Assembly.
The task is clearly a monumental one, not least because it is for the first time in the 60-year history of our organization that an effort of this magnitude has been launched. Very much is at stake for the relevance and effectiveness of our organization. It all depends on whether or not we succeed in this effort to reform a body that is critical to the key activities of the organization.
As the delegate of a country that has been actively and seriously engaged in efforts for Security Council reform over the past decade, I would like to reiterate my government's basic position: Japan is determined to continue to work to achieve Security Council reform. We will spare no effort to achieve this long-overdue goal, however arduous the process may be. While attaching great importance to our cooperation with the other G-4 countries, Brazil, Germany and India, we will continue to strive to find ideas and proposals capable of garnering the support of the requisite majority of the Membership, through wide consultation with all interested states, including those who opposed the draft resolution that we promoted in the last General Assembly session.
Since our debate at the plenary last November, three draft resolutions on Security Council reform have already been tabled. Those submissions represent firm evidence that a strong interest in achieving concrete progress continues to exist among Member States.
Japan welcomes the tabling of the S5 draft resolution, as it represents serious efforts to arrive at concrete formulation of proposals for improvement of the Security Council working methods, as well as contributing to maintaining the momentum of the discussion on Security Council reform. Although we need to give further consideration to the substance of the draft resolution, we understand that it was worked out with a view to enhancing the transparency, inclusiveness and accountability of the work of the Council. We also understand that the content of the draft resolution was drafted, in part informed by the past discussions at this OEWG. Among the elements of the draft resolution are some which can be supported from my delegation's perspective. We will finalize our position after further study of the text. I would like to add, in this connection, that Japan as Chair of the Security Council Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions is now actively engaged from the inside and intends to contribute as much as possible to this on-going process.
Regarding its way forward, since its establishment more than a decade ago, the OEWG has served as a useful forum for Member States to discuss Security Council reform in its all aspects. Because of the complexity of the issue, we have not yet been able to reach a general agreement, with differences continuing to exist on key aspects that are pending before us. The debate has at times been arduous, sometimes even frustrating; however, we must not lose the sight of that fact that through the work at the OEWG, we have been able to identify important points to be addressed both in the enlargement of the Council membership and in improving its working methods.
Doubts are sometimes voiced about the usefulness of the work done in this WG, but my delegation is convinced that the OEWG should continue its function as one of the important venues for debate and exchanges on reform of the Security Council. Difficulties of the issues involved should not be reason for slighting its value or its relevance. Through the general exchange of views at today's meeting, we are able to assess where we stand now on various contentious issues. We believe that through exchanges and consultations, further new ideas and proposals should be explored, and you, Mr. Co-chairs, should encourage and stimulate informal consultations among Member States, including your own close involvement, to bring the reform process forward.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
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