Statement by H.E. Mr. Kenzo Oshima
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
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

New York
8 February 2007

Madam President,

I would like to begin by thanking you for convening today the first meeting of the Open-ended Working Group in the 61st Session. This meeting today follows the series of discussions on this important subject that you have led since you took office last September. My delegation highly commends the leadership that you are showing on this issue, and you have our assurances that the Japanese delegation will continue to work closely and constructively with you.

While further work remains to be done, Security Council reform clearly stands out as the key unfinished element of institutional reform that we must tackle with urgency. As many delegations have repeatedly said, status quo is not acceptable, and we fully share this view. As such, you identified the Security Council reform issue as one of the tasks that needed to be translated into action during the 61st Session at the closing of the General Debate last September. We are in complete agreement with you. For us to move forward, Member States now need a new proposal - one that is both creative, inclusive and persuasive - in order to facilitate an early decision, based on broad agreement among Member States, during the current session of the General Assembly.

Madam President,

Doubts are sometimes voiced about the usefulness of the Open-ended Working Group in terms of both its mandate and functions. My delegation continues to believe that the OEWG has been serving as a useful forum for Member States to discuss Security Council reform in all its aspects. Because of its complexity and sensitivity, the debate has at times been arduous, but we must not lose the sight of the fact that, through the work of the OEWG, we have been able to identify important points to be addressed both in the enlargement of the Council membership and in the improvement of its working methods. And because of the rich accumulation of our past discussions in the OEWG, you, Madam President, were able to conduct a close review and determine where the matter stands now, and distill the five key issues for the Facilitators to take on. It is therefore our hope that, through today's deliberations, Member States will recognize anew the current status of this important challenge and will generate an idea on the way forward.

We welcome the appointment of the five Facilitators. Through consultations with them "in various formats" on the five pillar issues as you stated, we hope that Member States will edge closer to an eventual conclusion. My delegation understands that the Facilitators process is established separately from the OEWG. While the OEWG is broadly recognized as a discussion forum, not a negotiating process, the Facilitators process should be made a result-oriented one, not a forum for discussion for discussion's sake. To this end, we request the Facilitators to lead the consultations in a productive and constructive manner. In the same spirit, Japan will spare no effort in participating actively in this process.

Madam President,

It remains Japan's conviction, shared by a large majority of Member States, including a large number of African countries, that the Security Council should be expanded in both the permanent and the non-permanent categories, so as to make the Council more representative, effective and transparent. In this connection, my delegation associates itself with the points made earlier by the Brazilian delegation on behalf of G4. We also continue to attach great importance to the improvement of the working methods. That is why my delegation worked hard for this goal from the within the Council during our term as a non-permanent member in 2005 and 2006, including by contributing through the Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions. Needless to say, efforts must continue in order to improve the Council's working methods, and this goal will be more effectively attained, as many delegations have pointed out, if it is accompanied by reform in the structure of the Council.

Madam President,

In order for us to achieve such reform, Japan is actively considering concrete ideas that might provide a basis for further discussion, building on the past joint efforts of the G4, its co-sponsors and other Member States. We hope to be able to present these ideas for wider consultation in due course. Such action, we hope, will contribute positively to the work of the OEWG as well as to the Facilitators process, and we pledge once again to continue to work closely with you and your Facilitators in the weeks ahead.

Thank you, Madam President.

Related Information (United Nations Reform)
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations Official Web Site other site

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