(As delivered)

Statement by H.E. Mr. Koichi Haraguchi
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
Agenda item 124: Scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations

Fifth Committee
Fifty eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly
14 October 2003
New York

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I wish to extend to Your Excellency and other members of the bureau my heartfelt congratulations on your election. I also took note with interest of the introduction of the report of the Committee on Contributions by Mr. Ugo Sessi, the distinguished Chairman of the Committee.

Mr. Chairman,

In no time in history, has the demand for United Nations reform been stronger than it is today. The United Nations has the potential to play a very large role in promoting peace and stability in the world. In order to enable it to do so, it is essential that the United Nations be in a position to carry out activities worthy of the trust and support of Member States and their peoples.

In Japan, a growing number of taxpayers are expressing their view that Japan is being treated unfairly in the United Nations. The Government of Japan has been faithfully paying its assessed contributions despite its extremely difficult economic and fiscal conditions. But now, doubts are increasing on the present scale methodology, including the various reductions and the ceiling. Never has there been more agitation and frustration over the question, why does Japan, out of 191 Member States, have to shoulder nearly 20 percent of the U.N. expenses? This sense of unfairness has been aggravated by the stagnation in the Security Council reform process as well as by the retention in the U.N. Charter of the out-of-date provisions, the so-called "enemy clauses."

It is in the context of the need for U.N. reform that our Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi referred to the scale of assessments in her statement of September 23 in the general debate of the General Assembly. Japan is of the view that true U.N. reform must lead to a system of world governance that can provide each and every member with a sense of legitimacy and fairness. In this regard, Japan believes that appropriate and equitable burden sharing among Member States is a prerequisite for achieving such objectives. The scale of assessments needs to be changed to a more balanced one, in conformity with each Member State's actual economic performance, as well as with its status and responsibility in the United Nations.

Mr. Chairman,

With regard to the sections concerning the scale of assessments for the period 2004-2006 in the report of the Committee on Contributions, Japan has doubts as to whether the Committee's recommendations on exchange rates are completely consistent with the elements and criteria of the present methodology as stipulated in General Assembly resolution 55/5B of year 2000. In terms of the goal of ensuring accountability, Japan is not pleased that the Committee, which should have made professional recommendations from a politically neutral standpoint, instead included political elements in its sixty-third session. Japan sounds a clear alarm over the political nature of the action taken by the Committee on Contributions.

Japan will participate in the deliberations of the Fifth Committee regarding the scale of assessments bearing these points in mind. Taking into consideration General Assembly resolution 55/5B as well as the frustration of the Japanese taxpayers who have been obliged to shoulder one fifth of the U.N. expenses, Japan intends to present its views for achieving a scale of assessments that will inspire the citizens of Member States to have more trust in and support for the United Nations.

Thank you.

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