Statement by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the 19th informal meeting of the plenary on the intergovernmental negotiations
on the question of equitable representation on
and increase in the membership of the Security Council
and other matters related to the Council:
The Second Round: Exchange I
26 May 2009, New York
Thank you for leading us to the second roundof the informal plenary of the General Assembly. We are grateful for the commitment and dedication you exhibited in the first round of negotiations. Wecount on your continued leadership and guidance in order to make decisive progress towards realizing an early, meaningful reform of the Security Council.
I would also like to express deep appreciation to you for the letter of 18 May 2009 with the attached Overview of the first round.
We share your positive assessment of the first round. We noted the strong view conveyed by so many representatives that the status quo is no longer acceptable and we must make the Security Council more effective and representative by realizing an early, meaningful reform. We are encouraged by the membership-wide political will and constructive spirit to make decisive progress during this GA session toward achieving that objective as expressed in the 2005 World Summit Outcome.
On 22 May, we heard criticism from some colleagues that the Overview does not correspond to the five clusters identified in Decision 62/557 or that it does not include all options discussed in the first round. However, in the first stage, all of us presented in full our respective positions regarding each of the five clusters and came to recognize the interconnected nature of the clusters. The purpose of the negotiations in the second stage is, in our view, not to repeat the first round, but rather, on the basis of the first round as well as the accumulated preparatory work of the OEWG over many years, to seek a solution which may garner the widest possible agreement among Member States.
For this purpose, the Overview should serve to facilitate our negotiations aiming at narrowing the differences among Member States and seeking a solution which is likely to command the widest possible agreement.
We recognize that a great deal of thought was put into preparing the Overview, which has arranged the five clusters in a logical order under Chapter V of the UN Charter, considering their interconnectedness. Placing the five key issues under the heading of Chapter V of the UN Charter will surely help us negotiate the reform package comprehensively, fully taking into account the interconnectedness among the key issues (, and examine potential implications of the eventual Charter amendments).
The Overview set out, in paragraphs 14-17, the principal options in each of the five clusters as expressed by Member States during the first round. The options in the five clusters seem to cover the totality of the principal positions and proposals of the Member States (including the African common position) in summarized form.
As I noted earlier, some delegations have argued that the options in the Overview do not cover all proposals made during the first round in every detail. But, again, the second round should serve as the process, on the basis of negotiations up until now, for seeking options that could likely garner the widest possible acceptance by Member States. Therefore, it is not necessary at the second stage to include those proposals that are quite unlikely under any circumstances, as is clear to us, to receive the widest possible agreement and be ratified as Charter amendments. I would like to elaborate on this point.
Regarding the size of an expanded Council, it is true that one delegation suggested only 20 members and another proposed more than 30 during the discussion in the first round. However, no other delegations expressed their support for such numbers. There is no likelihood that such positions will receive the widest possible agreement. Regarding the existing five permanent members that hold the veto, it is true that some delegations suggested during the first round that even the current permanent seats be eliminated. We respect the position of such Member States but doubt the wisdom of including this option in negotiations as a feasible and achievable proposal which is likely to garner the widest possible agreement at this stage in the General Assembly. As for the categories of expansion, only a handful of delegates supported in the first round the option of expanding only the non-permanent membership. There will be little disagreement that it is quite unlikely that such an option could garner the widest possible political agreement among Member States. I would therefore suggest that these options be discarded from the viable options that we are going to negotiate in the second round.
The Overview adequately conveys the thrust of the discussion in the first round of the negotiations. However, we would have preferred you to include a value judgment in objective terms. For example, paragraph 5 of the Overview indicates that there were 80 interventions on categories of membership in the 4th, 5th and 6th meetings of the informal plenary on 4 and 5 March 2009. We observed that 63 out of 80 Member States, that is, 80% of representatives who took the floor, expressed their support for the expansion of both categories. Some of them spoke on behalf of groups of countries. Therefore, we could say that the overwhelming majority of Member States expressed their support for the expansion of both categories in the first round. We are convinced that the expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent membership is essential to change the status quo of the Security Council and to reflect better the reality of the world in the 21st century.
In summary, all five clusters of Decision 62/557 and the interconnectedness among them are adequately covered in the Overview. We can therefore use the Overview as a reference in the second round of negotiations to seek a solution which is likely to garner the widest possible political agreement among Member States. Obviously the Overview was prepared by the Chairman to help facilitate the negotiations in the second stage. We are deeply grateful for this work and respect the Overview as it is. As the Chairman stated at the beginning on 22 May, negotiations are firmly based on all positions and proposals. Member States are free to raise and put forward any issue of crucial importance to them at any stage of the negotiations.
Most importantly, we should not halt the process of the reform by simply arguing over the content of the Overview. Rather we should proceed to negotiations on the totality of the five clusters in an orderly manner. Japan is ready to work according to your proposed meeting schedule for holding the three Exchanges during the second round. We hope that a sufficient number of meetings will be arranged to enable us to hold full, interactive negotiations.ﾂ
With this understanding, we should now focus on substance rather than procedure. We should try to make substantive progress by narrowing differences through demonstrating flexibility in searching for a meaningful reform package.
You invited us to focus in today's meeting on the nature, scope and timing of any review of reform.
First of all, I have to stress that a discussion on the issue of review should not be construed as presupposing an intermediary solution. I present my view on the issue of review on the basis of Japan's principled position that the Security Council should be expanded in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership.
In the event that the General Assembly decides to reform the Security Council by expanding both categories, it is appropriate and proper for the General Assembly also to agree to conduct a comprehensive review of the functioning and composition of the Council after a certain period, and if agreed, make necessary modifications.ﾂﾂ
The objective of review should therefore be to cover comprehensively all issues relating to the situation created as a result of the reform of the Council, including the contributions to the maintenance of international peace and security made by new permanent members.
The issue of the veto for new permanent members would most appropriately be taken up at the time of review. We recognize that no Member State wishes to see an enlarged Council that may not function properly or act promptly due to the extension of the veto to new permanent members. Japan believes that the G4's position that the veto should be extended to the new permanent members as a matter of principle, but accompanied by their commitment not to use it pending the future review, is the most realistic way forward as a compromise solution.
As to the timing, we believe 15 years after the reform enters into force would be one appropriate option for the timing of reviewing the situation.
We welcome the start of the second round of negotiations. Japan will make the utmost effort to work constructively with other delegations in accordance with the schedule you have outlined to complete this round by the end of June. We should redouble our efforts in seeking early and meaningful reform of the Security Council, which can garner the widest possible acceptance by Member States.
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