Statement by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Joint Debate of the General Assembly
On Item 9: Report of the Security Council
and Item 119: Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters
New York, 12 November 2009
I would like to thank you for convening the plenary meeting to discuss matters of great importance: the annual report on the work of the Security Council and reform of the Security Council. I also extend my appreciation to Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting of Austria for introducing the report in his capacity as President of the Council.
(Security Council Reform)
Reform of the Security Council is long overdue. The current composition of the Security Council does not reflect the realities of the international community in the 21st century. It is thus essential to ensure that the new realities are fully reflected by substantially changing the status quo of the Council.
The leaders of all Member States affirmed unanimously at the World Summit in September 2005 that early reform of the Security Council is an essential element to the overall effort to reform the United Nations. And they agreed that it is necessary to make the Security Council more broadly representative and to further enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions. All Member States are bound by their leaders' commitment and promise to realize early reform of the Security Council.
Moving on from the 15-year-long consultations at the Open-ended Working Group, we entered into the negotiation stage, and the intergovernmental negotiations commenced in the informal plenary of the General Assembly in February this year. After three rounds of negotiations, the General Assembly adopted decision 63/565 on 14 September 2009 to continue immediately the negotiations, building on the progress achieved during the 63rd session as well as the positions of and proposals made by Member States.
Thus, the task for us now is not to question the need and purpose of reform but to act and deliver on the unanimous commitment in the form of concrete solutions at the earliest possible time.
We are therefore grateful to you for the high priority you have assigned to the early realization of Security Council reform, in conformity with the GA decision. At the opening session, you stressed that realizing reform of the Security Council is of the utmost importance in the 64th session.
Following the General Debate, you informed us in your letters in October 2009 that it is imperative that we continue, during the 64th Session, to build on previous positive developments, as we work towards an early reform of the Council. And you have reappointed Ambassador Zahir Tanin to chair the intergovernmental negotiations on your behalf. We thank Ambassador Tanin for his important contributions to move forward the negotiation process during the previous session. We hope that you and Ambassador Tanin together will exercise strong leadership in guiding us towards achieving a concrete outcome during the current session.
It is Japan's firm belief that reform should entail expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent membership categories, in order to reflect today's global political reality. An enlarged Security Council should include on a permanent basis those Member States which have demonstrated well the readiness, capacity and resources to carry through implementation of Security Council decisions. In the General Debate in September, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama confirmed this goal by stating that Japan would continue to engage actively in the intergovernmental negotiations, pursuing the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent memberships and Japan's permanent membership in the Council.
In our view, only through expansion of both categories, can the Council sufficiently enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions to meet the mandated objective of the reform. I believe that this is why the overwhelming majority of Member States, including African States, continued to support the option of expanding both categories in the negotiations of the last session.
The momentum for reform has sustained itself. Intergovernmental negotiations began and positions were well defined. Now it is high time to seek a solution which will garner the broadest possible support and to achieve a tangible result. This is going to be our urgent task in the current session. Further delay in achieving a concrete outcome will only exacerbate the disappointment with the UN on the part of many Governments and result in questioning of the ability of the membership to rejuvenate and reform from within.
We should not permit ourselves at this session to continue debate and repeat what transpired in the 63rd session. We should build upon the progress made so far, and advance to the next stage of the negotiations from the point reached at the end of the 63rd session. The positions of all Member States have become much more clearly defined now, after three rounds of negotiations in the last session. Therefore, we should begin substantive negotiations, based on the positions of Member States, to realize early reform.
In order to begin substantive negotiations and try to narrow the differences as much as possible, it is essential to have a brief option paper which can serve as a basis for negotiations. Such a paper could summarize the options and positions presented by Member States which are likely to garner the broadest possible support among Member States. In our view, as in the cases of other negotiations in the UN, the Chair of the intergovernmental negotiations is in the best position to prepare such a paper, in consultation with the President of the General Assembly. We urge that the Chairman be entrusted with this undertaking at the earliest possible time. However, if, for whatever reason, he is not in a position to formulate such a paper for the negotiations, we should find other, Member States-driven ways to produce it.
My delegation, together with other Member States, is determined to engage constructively and with a sense of urgency in the substantive negotiations, with a view to attain a concrete outcome during the current session under your able leadership.
(Report of the Security Council)
No matter to what extent the Council is expanded, its membership will comprise no more than a fraction of the total number of Member States. Therefore, it is essential that the Council continue to make its decision-making process more transparent and accountable to all Member States. It is also essential to provide assurances to all Member States that the Security Council is acting on behalf of all of them, so that the entire membership continues to accept its decisions, in accordance with Article 25 of the Charter. For the Council to maintain its legitimacy, all Member States must be convinced that decisions of the Council are outcomes that fully reflect the diverse positions, perspectives and concerns of the entire membership. Therefore, communication between the Council and General Assembly needs to be continuously improved. The annual report is one of the important tools for the purpose of ensuring the accountability of the Security Council.
Japan welcomes that the annual reports of the Security Council have developed in line with the recommendations contained in Presidential Note 507 of 2006, which was adopted under Japan's leadership. I commend the efforts made by Uganda for drafting and coordinating this year's report and to make it a comprehensive account of the main work by the Security Council for the past twelve months. Japan will join in the effort to improve further its quality, taking into consideration the comments made by the general membership in today's debate as well as in the informal consultation organized jointly by Uganda, Austria and Vietnam. The Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, which I am chairing, will also reflect those comments in its future work.
Improving the working methods of the Security Council is not only important to increase the Council's efficiency and transparency. It is also essential to revitalize the Council's effectiveness through close cooperation with Member States. Japan has been making contributions to improve interaction between the Council and other Member States. I would like to reiterate Japan's readiness to continue these efforts to improve the working methods of the Security Council.
Thank you, Mr. President
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