Statement by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open-ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the
Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Security Council

New York, 2 September 2008

Mr. President,

Thank you for organizing the meeting of the OEWG and preparing the draft report. I would like to take this opportunity to express deep our appreciation for your interest and leadership throughout the 62nd session of the General Assembly in moving the Security Council reform process forward. I would also like to commend the contributions made by the Vice-Chairpersons under your guidance.

We stand at a critical juncture in our endeavor to reform the Security Council to reflect better the reality of the current world. We have a choice: to launch intergovernmental negotiations now to make concrete progress in Security Council reform, or to continue debate and stay where we are and to leave the present composition of the Security Council unchanged. Reforming the Security Council to enhance its effectiveness and legitimacy is the common responsibility of those of us representing the Member States at this juncture and the interests of generations to come. The choice, therefore, is clear.

Since the position of each Member State has been amply clarified over the years in the course of consultations, it is now high time to launch intergovernmental negotiations. We must make concrete progress, building upon the agreement contained in GA decision 61/561. In the course of the 62nd session, an overwhelming number of Member States have expressed their will to begin negotiations as soon as possible. This is reaffirmed by the Vice-Chairpersons who have consulted all Member States. Their report submitted to the PGA on 9 June 2008, stresses, "All have expressed their disposition to enter intergovernmental negotiations."

The framework of intergovernmental negotiations must include all the positions of and proposals made by Member States. We trust that all positions will allow for Japan's basic position that the Security Council must be reformed through changes that include expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent categories. All must be on the table at the start of negotiations. Only after the start of negotiations can Member States demonstrate flexibility and enter into the real give-and-take process for seeking a broadly acceptable solution in order to achieve meaningful reform.

As concerns the modality of intergovernmental negotiations, the informal plenary will be most appropriate. In any case, we believe that negotiations should take place in an open, inclusive and transparent setting.

With regard to the decision-making rule, the expression of general agreement was used interchangeably with consensus by some previous speakers. The decision making by consensus may be a desirable political goal but it should not supersede the rule specified by the UN Charter. In fact, many GA resolutions and decisions have been adopted by vote. Even the Security Council was reformed once in 1963 with a vote in accordance with the UN Charter. Then in 1998, the General Assembly adopted its resolution A/53/30, not to adopt any resolution or decision on the Security Council reform, without the affirmative vote of at least two thirds of the Member States. It is not acceptable to raise thresholds again.

Mr. President,

In the draft report of the OEWG prepared by you, we recognize clearly your efforts to commence intergovernmental negotiations in an open, inclusive and transparent manner. At the same time, I have to express some reservations with the draft. For example, the seven principles proposed by the PGA are included as a basis for intergovernmental negotiations. These principles were proposed by you early on as procedural guidelines and never put before us for negotiations. They are primarily of a procedural nature, containing some contentious elements in our view, and should not be included as a basis for intergovernmental negotiations.

We hope, through the course of consultations, that Member States will be able to find the acceptable wording that clearly sets out the way forward; that is, the commencement of intergovernmental negotiations. Only in this way can we fulfill the mandate established by decision 61/561.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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