Talking Points of Ambassador Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the informal plenary of the General Assembly
on Security Council reform: "Categories of membership"

4 March 2009, New York

Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for the clarification you provided in your letter of 2 March on how the negotiations in this informal plenary will be conducted.

Japan pledges its full support to you. We will work in accordance with the schedule of work to complete the first round of negotiations in April on the basis of options contained in the letters you kindly undertake to send before each cluster and then move on to the second stage of negotiations on the totality of reform in May.

Japan firmly believes that the Security Council should be expanded in both the permanent and non-permanent categories and that new permanent members should come from both developed and developing countries.

We believe that expansion of both categories is the core element for the reform of the Council.

(1) Historical Development of the Security Council

There is no dispute that the current composition of the Security Council, which was revised only once to increase the non-permanent membership from 6 to 10 more than 40 years ago, no longer reflects the realities of the international community in the 21st century. In the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, our political leaders agreed to reform the Security Council in such a way as to make the Council more broadly representative, efficient and transparent and thus to further enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions.

I would like to emphasize enhancing the effectiveness and legitimacy of the Council as a main objective of reform today.

(2) Expansion of the Scope of Work of the Security Council to Counter New Threats

The international community in the 21st century is facing a number of new challenges to international peace and security not anticipated 60 years ago. International peace and security is increasingly threatened by not only military aggression but also terrorism, nuclear proliferation, humanitarian crises, the breakdown of the rule of law and governance, environmental degradation, etc.

The mandates of peacekeeping operations have also been enlarged from the traditional role of monitoring ceasefires to include promoting democratic governance, post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction. Thus PKOs require not only military personnel and police but also diverse civilian specialists.

For the Council to be effective in fulfilling its primary responsibility with full legitimacy, the Security Council must be reformed so that it is equipped to address these emerging threats to international peace and security and take necessary actions promptly and effectively.

(3) The reason why the permanent category should be expanded and why expansion of only the non-permanent category will not achieve the goal of real reform

In order to promptly address the wide range of contemporary threats to peace and implement decisions effectively, the Council needs to adopt a comprehensive and multifaceted approach that requires significant amounts of resources.

It should be emphasized that, according to Article 25 of the Charter, once a decision is made by the Security Council, it is binding on Member States, and they thus have to make sure the decision is fully and effectively implemented.

Therefore, the composition of the Council should be such that it represents the entire membership and includes on a permanent basis those Member States which have demonstrated well the readiness, capacity and resources to carry through implementation of decisions.

First of all, we all agree that we should expand the non-permanent category to make the Council more broadly representative. In considering an increase in non-permanent membership, the qualifications stipulated in Article 23 Paragraph 1 should apply.

However, if we simply increase the number of members in the non-permanent category and stop there, the reform of the Security Council will have achieved only one part of the objective. We are unable to support such a reform proposal.

The Outcome Document defined the objective of reform as being not only to make the Council more broadly representative, efficient and transparent but also thereby to further enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions.

In our view, only by expanding permanent membership to include those Member States which have demonstrated well the readiness, capacity and resources to shoulder the major responsibility of carrying through implementation in the 21st century, can the Council enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions, in accordance with the objective of reform as defined in the Outcome Document.

Such members should be in the Council on a permanent basis, from the deliberation and decision-making stage of the Council to the monitoring stage of implementation.

Some delegations pointed out that the expansion of the permanent category would not ensure accountability. However, once the permanent membership is expanded, it will not be set in stone. After a certain number of years, the performance and contributions by the new permanent members will be subject to review by all Member States. In this way, the accountability of the new permanent members will be assured.

The overwhelming majority of Member States support the option of expanding both categories.

In conclusion, I stress Japan's position that meaningful reform should include the expansion of both categories. We are prepared to negotiate in good faith and with mutual respect.

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


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