Statement by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
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
11 November 2008, New York
Thank you for convening the meeting of the Open-ended Working Group. I am encouraged by and grateful for your strong interest in Security Council reform. Your active engagement in the process to build confidence and move forward is much appreciated.
I would also like to welcome your letter of 10 October 2008 and express appreciation for your decision to appoint the Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, Ambassador Zahir Tanin, to chair intergovernmental negotiations on your behalf. The additional responsibility given to him to act as vice-chairman of the OEWG is also welcomed. We look forward to working closely with him in the coming weeks.
On 15 September 2008, at the close of the 62nd session, General Assembly decision 62/557 was unanimously adopted by Member States. This is an important decision in the sense that we have agreed to advance the reform process from the consultations stage that had continued for 15 years to the stage of intergovernmental negotiations. This decision must govern our work throughout the current session.
The issue before us is how to prepare and facilitate intergovernmental negotiations.
Decision 62/557 provides clear guidance on how to conduct and organize intergovernmental negotiations as follows:
1. Basis for negotiations
Negotiations must be based on the positions of and proposals made by Member States. All proposals by Member States must be on the table, including Japan's basic position that the Security Council must be reformed through changes that include expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent categories.
2. Venue for negotiations
Negotiations will take place at an informal plenary of the General Assembly.
3. Timeline for starting negotiations
Intergovernmental negotiations will commence during the 63rd session, but no later than 28 February 2009. Negotiations thus may commence at any time during the current session.
4. Objective of negotiations
The objective is to seek a solution for Security Council reform that can garner the widest possible political acceptance by Member States. All of us are expected to enter into negotiations in good faith, with mutual respect and in an open, inclusive and transparent manner.
Some of the previous speakers have suggested that we should discuss the objectives of Security Council reform in the next OEWG meeting. The objectives of Security Council reform have already been made clear in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document adopted by Heads of State and Government. Para 153 of the Outcome Document states the objectives: "We support early reform of the Security Council as an essential element of our overall effort to reform the United Nations in order to make it more broadly representative, efficient and transparent and thus to further enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions." Therefore, the objective of Security Council reform is clear.
As for how to conduct business in the informal plenary of the General Assembly, it is evident that the Rules of procedure of the General Assembly should apply.
As to the date of the first meeting of the informal plenary, we are guided by you, Mr. Chairman. We therefore respect and support your initiative to organize an informal plenary to commence intergovernmental negotiations on 21 November 2008, as communicated in your letter of 10 October 2008.
Japan is prepared to participate constructively and demonstrate flexibility in the process of negotiations in order to achieve meaningful reform at the earliest possible time.
We are looking to your continuous guidance in leading the negotiations to bring Security Council reform to fruition.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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