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: The intermediate model

3 September 2009, New York


Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for convening this meeting. You invited us to discuss the intermediate model today.

I reaffirmed Japan's view in the last two meetings this week that the objective of reform, to make the Council more broadly representative and enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy of its decisions, can only be achieved by expanding both the permanent and non-permanent categories. We are convinced that this is the only way to reform the Council so as to fully reflect today's political reality and substantially change the status quo of the Council.

In earlier rounds the intermediate solution was mentioned as a potential compromise. Certain intermediate models were suggested, all of which fall short of the expansion of the permanent category. In addition, there has been neither a clear definition of the intermediate solution nor a single well-defined proposal.

To some, the intermediate solution means creating a new category of non-permanent seats, with a term of, for instance, 3-5 years.

Any proposal to restrict new Council members to serving only for a limited duration would prevent us from achieving the objective of reform to bring about substantial change in the status quo of the Council. It would rule out even those Member States, which have consistently demonstrated exceptional contributions to the implementation of the Council's decisions, from participating in the Council's decision-making process on a permanent basis. Consequently, such a proposal would have, in essence, not much more impact than the simple expansion of the non-permanent category.

Among ideas for creating a new category of membership for a limited duration longer than two years, there are variations as to whether this category of membership should include the possibility of immediate re-election. With the possibility of immediate re-election, the duration of membership of those who are re-elected could be longer than otherwise. However, there is no fundamental difference among these variations so long as they all rule out the possibility of new members participating in the Council's decision-making on a permanent basis.

This is why, in the first and second rounds and also this week, many delegations, including African Member States, opposed the intermediate approach as a viable route for reform. It would not substantially change the status quo of the Council. We see little prospect that the broadest possible support could emerge around such a proposal.

To some others, the intermediate option means allocating a new category of longer-term seats to certain groups of states which themselves would determine an arrangement for serving in the Council on a rotational basis. We are concerned about the rationale for such rotational seats for the following reasons:

  1. We should maintain the principle that each Council member is elected individually by the entire UN membership, and, once elected, is not to represent the region or group it comes from but to be accountable to the entire membership.
  2. We should also maintain the principle that members of the Council are to be elected with due regard to the contributions of Member States to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization.
  3. Each regional group has a different set of functions and working procedures.

We appreciate the rationale behind another proposal for creating a new category of non-permanent seats for small and medium-sized states. Namely, it is to improve the representation by and access to the work of the Council for those states. However, recognizing the merits of the current system, in which each Member State belongs to only one category, namely a geographical group, this objective should be addressed without creating a new category.

We could address the issues of both improving representation for small and medium-sized states and under-representation, particularly for the African and Asian Groups, most constructively when we negotiate the allocation of additional seats. We also believe that improving the working methods and transparency of the Council will contribute to better access for small and medium-sized states to the work of the Council.

Mr. Chairman,

Today's meeting brings the third round of negotiations to a close. I would like to thank you for your continuing effort to mobilize us in our negotiations and for increasing momentum towards early reform. We shall continue to maintain and intensify this momentum during the 64th session.

Looking ahead, it has become abundantly clear again, through intergovernmental negotiations during this session, that the overwhelming majority of Member States favor for expansion of both categories of membership. Accordingly, the next stage of negotiations should focus on the option which is likely to garner the broadest possible support. Only in this way can we stay on course to make decisive progress in the next session.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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


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