Statement by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly
On Item No. 9: The Report of the Security Council
Item No. 122: The Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council
and Related Matters

New York, 12 November 2007

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by thanking you for convening today's plenary meeting. My delegation attaches great importance to this joint debate on the two items, the annual report on the activities of the Security Council and reform of the Security Council. It provides a timely and useful opportunity to reflect on the way forward on the key issues involved here, namely, structural reform of the Security Council and improvement of the Council's working methods.

Mr. President,

At the opening of the 62nd general debate, you identified Security Council reform as among the five priority topics to be addressed during this session. Japan welcomes your strong interest in this issue. We place high expectations on your role as President of the General Assembly in advancing Security Council reform and achieving concrete results during this session.

Mr. President,

First, I would like to touch briefly upon the Report of the Security Council. I thank Ambassador Natalegawa, the President of the Security Council, for his presentation of the Report to the General Assembly.

The report describes the continuing active work of the Council, which has primary responsibility for international peace and security. It also indicates how the Council has incorporated efforts to tackle the new challenges in its work. In this context, some criticism was raised that such efforts constitute encroachment by the Council on the responsibility of the General Assembly. As the concept of security expands, however, Japan believes that positive outcomes will be attained as a whole when the General Assembly and the Security Council work together in a complementary manner within their respective areas of responsibility.

Japan supports the effort to increase the transparency of the work of the Council. We note that this year the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, under the able leadership of Ambassador Burian, the Permanent Representative of Slovakia, urged all relevant actors to ensure the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Note by the President of the Security Council (S/2006/507) and continued to explore measures to further enhance the transparency of the work of the Council.

It is an important development that the Working Group held a discussion on how to improve the report drafting process, as evidence of the Council's own efforts to improve transparency.

Japan would like to express its sincere appreciation for the dedicated work of the Mission of Slovakia, and would like to urge all relevant actors to redouble their efforts to implement fully the recommendations contained in the Note by the President.

Mr. President,

Japan welcomes that momentum toward the realization of Security Council reform was gained during the last session and carried over to this session. The majority of the political leaders of Member States stressed the necessity of Security Council reform during the general debate of the current session. We therefore welcome today's timely debate and hope that it will accelerate the move to the next phase of the reform process.

At the end of the last session, the General Assembly decided that the question of Security Council reform should be considered during the 62nd session of the General Assembly, so that further concrete results may be achieved, including through intergovernmental negotiations, building on the progress achieved so far, particularly at the 61st session, as well as the positions of and proposals made by Member States.

I have exchanged views with almost every Permanent Representative to the United Nations here in New York since recently assuming my post. I am encouraged that the view is very broadly shared that the current composition of the Security Council should be reformed as soon as possible and that we should produce concrete results on this matter during this session.

Mr. President,

Security Council reform has been under discussion in the Open-ended Working Group for the last 14 years. Through those discussions, the position of each country has been made quite clear.

If we again defer reform and the current composition of the Security Council continues to remain unchanged, we are concerned that, in the years to come, not only will the effectiveness and representativeness of the Security Council be compromised, but its credibility will be increasingly questioned as well.

With that in mind, we should enter into the negotiation process on Security Council reform as soon as possible. This issue is a common responsibility of ours, representing Member States now for generations to come.

Member States of the United Nations have agreed to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the Charter. The composition of the Security Council must be reformed to reflect the current world reality and to make the Council more representative and effective. As we reflect on the history of international relations, we must demonstrate to the world that we have the wisdom and capacity to reform the Security Council through diplomacy and negotiations.

Security Council reform is not an issue for only a few Member States. At issue is the enhancement of the functions of the principal organs of the United Nations. Enhancement of the functioning of the Security Council is integral to this crucial task. Without meaningful reform of the Security Council, reform of the United Nations will be incomplete.

In order to enhance the functioning of the Security Council, we must reform its composition to reflect today's world and to address effectively the needs of the 21st century. For that goal, it is necessary that those countries which have major responsibilities in implementing the decisions of the Security Council for international peace and security should occupy permanent seats in the Security Council.

Mr. President,

We continue to stress that the Security Council must be reformed through modifications that include expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent categories, with the inclusion of both developed and developing Member States, so as to make the Council more representative, more efficient and more transparent, while enhancing its credibility.

In September, a new Cabinet was formed in Japan, and the position of the Japanese Government on Security Council reform remains unchanged. As Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda stated in his policy speech at the Diet on 1 October, "in order to be able to make further contribution to the international community, Japan will pursue UN Security Council reform and permanent membership in the Security Council". In this connection, I take the opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the delegations that have expressed their support for Japan.

Japan continues to attach great importance to improving the working methods of the Council, as another important pillar in Security Council reform. We look forward to further progress in this area.

Mr. President,

We reaffirm the necessity of achieving concrete results on Security Council reform during the current session. During the general debate at the Plenary on 28 September, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura urged Member States to take such action. It is now time for us to move Security Council reform to the negotiation phase.

Japan will participate in intergovernmental negotiations actively and in a flexible manner, with a view to achieving concrete results during this session.

We hope that you will continue to provide us with the necessary guidance on this vital question. We would like to request you, Mr. President, to exercise your leadership in initiating a negotiation process and to constitute an appropriate forum for such negotiation at the earliest possible date.

Thank you.

Related Information (United Nations Reform)
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