Statement of Ambassador Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

At the informal plenary of the General Assembly
on Security Council reform: Expansion in both current categories

2 September 2009, New York


Thank you for convening today's meeting. An expansion in both current categories is the core element for reform of the Council.

Yesterday I stated that the current composition of the Security Council does not reflect the political reality of the international community, and the prolongation of the current composition is no longer acceptable.

The Council was reformed only once to increase the number of non-permanent members from 6 to 10 more than 44 years ago. The membership of the UN has expanded by about 60% since then. In particular, the number of Member States from Asia and Africa has increased dramatically during these years.

What has taken place is not simply an expansion in the membership, but also a significant transformation in international relations since the creation of the Security Council. Global responsibility for maintaining international peace and security is no longer borne mainly by such a limited number of countries as in the past.

The nature of threats to international peace and security has also been changing, and a number of new challenges are emerging which were not anticipated at the time of the Council's creation. The mandates of UN peacekeeping operations have become more multi-faceted and complex. Peace operations require increasingly varied expertise and different types of contributions.

It is essential to reflect fully these developments and the political reality of 21st century by substantially changing the status quo of the Council.

For the Security Council to be effective in fulfilling its primary responsibility with enhanced legitimacy, it must be fully equipped to address these emerging threats to international peace and security and to decide upon and implement necessary actions promptly and effectively.

Mr. Chairman,

The agreed objective of reform, as defined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, is to make the Council more broadly representative and enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions.

In order to ensure that all Member States continue to accept the responsibility to carry out the decisions of the Security Council, as stipulated in Article 25 of the Charter, it is essential to convince all Member States that the Security Council has considered the wishes of and acted on behalf of all of them, fully taking into account their views and concerns. Otherwise, the legitimacy of the decisions of the Security Council might be called into question.

Any reform plan which does not reflect today's global political reality and substantially change the status quo of the Council will not meet the objective set by the 2005 world summit. For instance, the option to increase only non-permanent seats will certainly improve representation somewhat, but it will not necessarily contribute to enhancing the effectiveness and legitimacy of the Council's decisions.

In our view, only by expanding both permanent and non-permanent categories can the Council meet the agreed objective of the reform to enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions, and will the Council be perceived as representing the entire membership.

I believe that this is the main reason why, in the first and second rounds and again yesterday, the overwhelming majority of Member States, including representatives of African States, Pacific Small Island and Developing States and CARICOM States, supported the option of expanding both categories as the one that would best meet the objective of reform. As you correctly pointed out in you letter of 16 July 2009, "Expansion in both current categories" has commanded the most support from delegations in the first and second rounds.

Those Member States which have demonstrated consistently the readiness, capacity and resources to fully carry through the implementation of decisions must be allowed to participate in the Council's decision-making process on a permanent basis. In considering new permanent members, the primary qualifications must be exceptional contributions to the maintenance of international peace and security and to other purposes of the UN.

The next stage of negotiations should be focused on this option of expansion in both categories. We should seek a package likely to receive the broadest possible support by concentrating on the number of additional members for both categories and the modality for determining additional permanent members, together with other key issues.

Thank you.

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


Back to Index