Section 4. Quest for Peace and Prosperity through the United Nations


1. The United Nations of Today


The United Nations has been making new progress in recent years.

Upon its establishment, the United Nations inspired great hopes as an international organization to maintain world peace. However, its mechanism of forcefully dealing with disputes, its primary function envisaged in the Charter, has never been utilized because of the disarray of the attitudes of the five permanent members of the Security Council. On the other hand, it has developed a new type of peace-keeping function, which is not expressly stipulated on the Charter, through the accumlation of experience in handling individual problems, such as those in Kashmir, the Congo, Cyprus and two Middle East wars, This is called the United Nations' "peace-keeping operation" and is intended to prevent the recurrence and expansion of a dispute by sending a cease-fire supervision group or peace-keeping force, mainly consisting of personnel contributed by smaller countries, with the consent of the parties to the dispute. This function has become increasingly meaningful amid the realities of the international community of today.

Another major objective of the United Nations is the pro-motion of international cooperation to improve the welfare of all nations. This field of international cooperation through the United 'Nations and various other international organizations affiliated with it include many areas such as economic and social development, improvement of the human environment, development and utilization of outer space, the oceans and atomic energy. The importance of the United Nations' functions to strengthen peace has increased because problems handled by the United Nations have come to cover practically all the activities of mankind. Many diversified problems brought before the United Nations bear fruit through deliberations in the form of a resolution, which is something like the greatest common measure of the international community. Resolutions have the nature of a recommendation, except those adopted by the Security Council, and countries concerned are expected to positively implement them.

The process of adjusting the interests of various countries by peaceful means prevents a dispute. The prevention of a dispute is all the more important in the world today where the United Nation's trouble-shooting function is not effective enough to cope with a dispute that has already started, and it has made substantial contributions, although indirectly, to the strengthening of peace. This is why the function of promoting inter-national cooperation has become an increasingly important function of the United Nations.

Great changes have occurred in the nature or pattern of the various influences that support the myriad activities of the United Nations. These reflect the structural reform of the international community. The influence of the United States, which was great in the United Nations in the past, and of the Soviet Union, which was able to counter this, has relatively weakened, By contrast, the rise of the so-called Third World, which acts as the AA group, non-aligned group or group of 77 as the case may be, is remarkable. Besides, the expanded EC, North Europe and the ASEAN have come to act as a group in some cases, and the pat-terns of influence in the political structure of the United Nations are becoming complex. Furthermore, their alignment is so fluid that they change partners for each problem, The moves of China, which has entered the arena of the United Nations, have accelerated the complexity and fluidity.


2. Japan and the United Nations


Japan depends on raw materials and resources from abroad for its survival and prosperity. The latest Middle East war and the subsequent changes in the international situation eloquently show how indispensable international peace and security are to this country. Japan which has declared in its Constitution its de-termination to devote itself to pacifism and the spirit of international cooperation in addition to the national conditions mentioned above, attaches great expectations to the United Nations whose main mission is the maintenance of international peace and security. To be sure, although there are limits to the role directly played by the United Nations in maintaining peace at present, its indirect contributions to world peace are by no means small, as mentioned above, Moreover, although the maintenance and strengthening of world peace still depends basically on the power politics of the major powers, centering on the nuclear powers, it cannot be overlooked that the existence of the United Nations expands the scope of options for the big powers and consequently contributes to peace. After all, the strengthening of the functions of the United Nations, which is the only global peace-keeping organization, coincides with Japan's national interests. On the other hand, voices demanding contributions to the United Nations by Japan commensurate with its national power have increased because it has enhanced its position in the international community with its remarkable postwar economic growth as the lever.

When the United Nations is viewed as an arena for multi-lateral diplomacy, the following points can be mentioned.

First, the supplementary nature of multilateral diplomacy in relation to traditional bilateral diplomacy and also the importance of the United Nations in multilateral diplomacy. Problems that could be dealt with on the bilateral level include not a few problems that are of common concern to all countries and whose meaningful solution cannot be expected without the co-operation of all countries, in addition to those which can properly be handled between two countries or among a limited number of countries concerned. Such problems have been on the increase because of the internationalization of social life.

Second, the importance of the United Nations as a place to collect information and also publicize a nation's opinion and position as well as to seek the understanding of other countries.

In this context, it is of great significance that the United Nations includes almost all countries of the world and provides a forum for the discussion of all sorts of problems.

Third, the importance of the United Nations as a place for contacts of important persons of various countries. In this con-text, the general debate and speeches at the start of the General Assembly each year deserve special mention, As leaders of various countries gather in the United Nations almost at the same time, it is comparatively easy for them to meet with each other. Thus the role being played by the United Nations in promoting understanding among the nations and also in international co-operation is great.


3. Basic Policy of Japan's U.N. Diplomacy


From the standpoint explained above, Japan has promoted its U.N. diplomacy positively as a major pillar of its basic diplomatic policy. This is sometimes called the "U.N. first policy." The direction of efforts made by Japan so far can be summarized into the following three points.

First, efforts for the achievement of disarmament, The strengthening of international peace and security through the United Nations is a matter of great concern to Japan, as was already mentioned. Disarmament has a vital significance in positively strengthening peace through the easing of tensions. From this point of view, Japan has taken part with a consistent and positive attitude in discussions on disarmament at the conference of the Committee on Disarmament in Geneva and the U.N. General Assembly.

Second, efforts for economic and social development, This problem should be considered from the standpoint of improving the welfare of mankind through the elimination of causes of conflicts stemming from the egoism of various countries by studying from the global perspective the most efficient way of economic and social development based on the recognition that all nations are interdependent, instead of from the standpoint only of raising the standards of living in the developing countries and eliminating the gap between the North and the South.

Third, the strengthening of the structural and financial aspects of the United Nations in order to build a foundation for making such concrete efforts possible. Japan considers it essential to review the Charter, which has not been amended, except for a few points, since the establishment of the United Nations, and also to urgently reconstruct its finances, which are in a state of chronic deficit, in order for the United Nations to meet the needs of the times and play its role effectively in the future. Japan has repeated this proposal at every opportunity. Although Japan's share of U.N. expenses ranks third after the United States and the Soviet Union, accounting for 7.15 per cent of the total contributions, its voluntary contributions to various funds and projects were only 2.6 per cent of the total, ranking ninth (in 1972), and further efforts are required in this connection.

Lastly, Japan pays attention to the following points in handling individual problems.

First, as regards its attitude in wrestling with various problems, Japan earnestly tries to seek the understanding of foreign countries about its views on matters at issue by participating in discussions of all problems and expressing its views at every possible opportunity. Similarly, Japan seeks whenever possible to be allowed to participate in the work of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and other important organs and specialized agencies as well as various committees where substantial deliberations are conducted.

Second, the firm maintenance of its position as a member of Asia and its cooperation with the advanced countries of the West. What Asia means to Japan is too obvious to require any explanation here, This country belongs to the Asian group with-in which it holds primary exchanges of opinions on major problems and from which it is elected to committees. In dealing with individual issues, Japan has been trying to show as much as possible its sympathy for, and understanding of, the positions of other countries in the Asian group and act in concert with them. On the other hand, Japan often has common interests with the advanced countries of the West and shares with them similar views on many basic issues, partly because its economic development is at almost the same stage as that of most Western countries. Whenever there is a difference of opinion between Asian countries and the advanced Western countries, Japan endeavors to play the role of coordinator as much as possible, so that the advanced nations and the Asian nations as developing countries can make reasonable compromises, from the view-point that international joint effort, instead of confrontation, is needed for the creation of a more harmonious international order. The power pattern in the United Nations has become complex and fluid, and it is necessary for Japan to take carefully thought-out measures, including a flexible attitude with due consideration for its national interest while basically taking the position mentioned above.

Third, it attaches importance to acting in cooperation with the secretariats of various U.N, organs. The existence of a secretariat that plays an important role in international conferences, including procedural matters, cannot be overlooked. It is necessary for Japan to always keep in contact with the secretariats of U.N. organs so that its national interests will not be impaired in the handling of important matters. It is indispensable for the strengthening of the United Nations to improve the secretariats by recruiting impartial and efficient international staff members who are loyal to the Charter, and Japan must make efforts to contribute greater numbers of capable Japanese personnel to the United Nations.


4. Japan's U.N. Diplomacy in 1973


Japan's basic way of thinking toward the United Nations, as explained in 3 above, was reflected in the following positive moves made in 1973.

Japan invited the 29th session of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) of the United Nations to hold its session in Tokyo in April (Foreign Minister Ohira represented Japan as chief delegate), and stressed the importance of seeking a new economic development strategy for ECAFE from a comprehensive point of view, with emphasis on effective agricultural development, from the viewpoint that agricultural development plays an important role in the economic development of the developing areas of Asia.

At the 28th U.N. General Assembly which opened in September, Foreign Minister Ohira expressed Japan's views as to what role the United Nations should play in Asia in the future, and reiterated the necessity of reviewing the U.N. Charter, which had been advocated by Japan for a number of years, to strengthen its foundation in order to play the role originally envisaged for it and to effectively cope with a situation when-ever called upon to do SO. He also made it clear that, in order to reconstruct the finances of the United Nations which form the basis for all its activities, Japan would make a contribution of $10 million to set an example. His general debate speech drew positive response as "demonstrating an attitude of cooperation with the United Nations and strengthening it and setting an example so that the general debate will not end in flowery eloquence and useless argument." (Note 1.) Foreign Minister Ohira met with the foreign ministers of more than20 countries, including the United States, the Soviet Union, France, Britain and the Federal Republic of Germany, on the occasion of the General Assembly. To help strengthen the foundation of the United Nations, Japan stcod as a candidate for the first time for the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, which is a key commission that controls the administration and finances of the United Nations, and was elected.

With regard to the disarmament problem, the debates in the Disarmament Committee in Geneva and the U.N. General Assembly were relatively uneventful. However, the working papers concerning the substance of an international agreement submitted to the Disarmament Committee by Japan in connection with the question of 'banning chemical weapons were highly evaluated as providing a concrete starting point.

In connection with the fourth Middle East war which broke out in October, Japan, desiring a final settlement of the problem, reconfirmed its position of supporting Security Council Resolution 242 (Note 2), and made a voluntary contribution in response to the Secretary General's request, in addition to its share of expenses of the U.N. emergency force (second UNEF) created to secure the cease-fire under Security Council Resolution 340, It greatly increased the amount of its contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Its contribution to the U.N. peace-keeping force in Cyprus, another peace-keeping operation undertaken by the United Nations, was also increased.

Among the achievements of the 28th General Assembly, the final decisions to establish the headquarters of the United Nations University in Japan, a project in which Japan has been playing a leading role, and to create a revolving fund for prospecting for natural resources, merit special mention, They can be regarded as the fruit of Japan's concrete efforts for cooperation with the United Nations which were appreciated by various countries.

Lastly, the Korean problem and the Cambodian representation issue became major political issues at the General Assembly. As for the Korean problem, Japan took the basic attitude that efforts should be made to maintain peace and security in the Korean Peninsula through the promotion of dialogue and exchange between the North and the South. Ultimately, accommodation was reached among the countries interested in this problem and, instead of taking a vote on opposing resolutions, they reached a consensus in the form of a Chairman's statement to the effect that they welcomed the July 4, 1972,joint statement of the North and South, which announced three principles for reunification, and expressed hopes for an expansion of the North-South dialogue and exchange. On the Cambodian representation issue, Japan supported the opinion of various Southeast Asian countries that the Cambodian problem should be solved through peaceful talks between the parties concerned without outside intervention. It was decided to carryover discussion of this issue to the next General Assembly.



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* Note 1. The remark was made by Foreign Minister Romulo quoted in a press release of the Philippine Mission.

** Note 2. The Resolution adopted in November 1967 following the Middle East war of 1967 sets down basic principles for a settlement of the Middle East dispute. They are (a) the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories, (b) the termination of the state of war and respect for and confirmation of sovereignty, territorial integrity, etc., (c) freedom of navigation through international waterways and (d) the creation of demilitarized zones.