Section 4. Cooperation in and Contributions to Various Activities of the United Nations


1. Major Events in the United Nations in 1974


(1) In connection with the structual changes which have confronted the world community in the economic and social fields in recent years, the United Nations has been taking initiatives in solving problems, and this trend became particularly prominent in 1974. For instance, in addition to the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York from September, large-scale international conferences were held under the auspices of the United Nations such as the Sixth Special Session of the General Assembly on Raw Materials and Development in New York in April, the Conference on the Law of the Sea in Caracas from June to August, the World Population Conference in Bucharest in August and the World Food Conference in Rome in November. These conferences reflected the global awareness that various problems such as resources, energy, food and population required a solution at the global level, and that it was no longer possible to cope effectively with them on a bilateral or small-group-of-nations basis. It can be said that the role of the United Nations, which is the most universal and comprehensive international organization for the settlement of these problems, was recognized anew. In addition to the problems handled by the conferences mentioned above, the United Nations today handles problems in practically all areas of human life, including peace-keeping, disarmament, development cooperation, social problems, human rights, science and technology, outer space and environment, and has increased its role in promoting effective and comprehensive international cooperation.


(2) The United Nations continued to be active in the field of maintaining international peace, the primary role expected of it in its Charter. In settling the Fourth Middle East War in October 1973 and the Cyprus dispute which broke out again in July 1974, the United Nation's "peace-keeping operation," aimed at preventing the recurrence and expansion of disputes, was actively resorted to. This deserves attention as proof that this kind of operation by the United Nations can perform the realistic role of complementing the direct diplomatic efforts of the parties and countries concerned. It should not be overlooked that the mediation by the special envoy of the Secretary General concerning the border dispute beween Iran and Iraq was successful. * It also deserves to be noted that the United Nations at last worked out " a definition of aggression , " a task started during the days of the League of Nations and on which the United Nations also had spent many years.


(3) Disarmament is another area where expectations are placed on the role of the United Nations. A salient feature of 1974 was that it saw the most active debate in recent years at the Conference of the  Committee on Disarmament in Geneva and at the 29th Session of the General Assembly on nuclear non-proliferation and the creation of nuclear weapon free zones, partly because the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was scheduled for May 1975 and also due to the emergence for the first time in 10 years of a new nuclear power (India).


(4) A very noteworthy trend in 1974 was the fact that the developing countries, especially the non-aligned countries, increased their voice further in the General Assembly. The impression was that the developing countries had joined forces with China, the Soviet Union and the East European countries and numerically overwhelmed the Western countries on such problems as the adoption of the Declaration and the Program of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order, at the Sixth Special Session of the General Assembly on Raw Materials and Development, the special treatment accorded Chairman Yassan Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization at the general debate on the Palestine question, limitation of Israel's voice, the resolution on the right of self-determination and the resolution giving observer status to the PLO, the suspension of South African participation in the U.N. General Assembly, the adoption of the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States and the rejection of Israel as a member of the West European group in UNESCO. There was a heated argument toward the close of the General Assembly between the developing countries and the United States and some EC countries which opposed this trend.


(5) Many of the new forces mentioned in (4) above are developing countries that acquired independence recently. They have become increasingly self-assertive in recent years in their demands for a reorganization of the existing order, the basic framework of the international community, as a means of reforming the status quo. In 1974, the developing countries, under the leadership of those countries whose economic positions improved through the energy crisis, strongly demanded a drastic enhancement of their political and economic status. The creation of an ad hoc committee to review the U.N. Charter by the 29th Session of the General Assembly, in addition to the holding of the Conference on the Law of the Sea, the adoption of the Declaration at the Sixth Special Session of the General Assembly on Raw Materials and Development and the adoption of the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States at the General Assembly, are proof that their demands are beginning to take concrete form.


2. Japan's Diplomatic Efforts at the United Nations


Japan has consistently placed high expectations on the United Nations which aims at the maintenance of international peace and cooperation in various fields. One of the pillars of Japan's diplomacy has been active participation and cooperation in the various activities undertaken by the United Nations to achieve these objectives. From this point of view, Japan places particular emphasis on the three areas of disarmament, economic and social development, and the strengthening of the foundations of the United Nations. Japan's main efforts in 1974 were as follows :


(1) In the field of economic and social development, Japan stressed the need for " dialogue and cooperation" at the Sixth Special Session of the General Assembly on Raw Materials and Development , and actively cooperated in emergency assistance for the developing countries most seriously affected by the current economic situation. At the World Food Conference, Japan stressed the importance of self-help on the part of the developing countries for expanding agricultural production. In the debates on the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States and other matters, Japan endeavored to have its views incorporated while avoiding a showdown with the developing countries, although not necessarily with satisfactory results.


(2) In his general debate speech at the 29th Session of the General Assembly, Foreign Minister Kimura made proposals on nuclear non-proliferation and the problem of integration and coordination of actions in the economic and social fields. These proposals bore fruit in the form of a resolution appealing to all states to exert concerted efforts in all the appropriate international forums with a view to working out promptly effective measures for nuclear non -proliferation and also in the resolution for strengthening the functions of the Economic and Social Council.


(3) The 29th Session of the General Assembly discussed for the first time in two years the subject of reviewing the U.N. Charter, which Japan, from the standpoint of strengthening the United Nations, had consistently supported since its adoption as an agenda item at the 24th Session of the General Assembly in 1969. Japan, together with other countries in favor of the review, successfully promoted a resolution for the creation of an ad hoc committee for reviewing the U.N. Charter.


(4) Japan co-sponsored and promoted resolutions on the Korean and Cambodian questions, the two major issues in the U.N. related to Asia, at the 29th Session of the General Assembly, both of which were adopted. On the Korean issue, Japan co-sponsored a resolution seeking implementation of the consensus reached at the 28th Session of the General Assembly in 1973 and expressing the hope that the Security Council would give consideration to the dissolution of the United Nations Command, in conjunction with appropriate measures for maintaining the Armistice Agreement, with the view to promoting dialogue and enhancing many-sided exchange between North and South and for the maintenance of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. On the Cambodian issue, Japan co-sponsored, together with other countries of the Asia and Pacific area, a resolution calling upon the parties directly concerned in Cambodia to negotiate with each other and requesting the Secretary General to use his good offices, from the viewpoint that it would be undesirable for the U.N. to change Cambodian representation because it would impose a choice upon the Cambodian people and establish an unwelcome precedent in U.N. history and that the United Nations should rather provide as much assistance as possible for a peaceful settlement of the Cambodian problem.


(5) Japan abstained from voting on such issues as South Africa, Palestine and the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States. Generally, Japan as a developed country often shares the same views with the developed Western countries. On the other hand, Japan as an Asian nation has a deep understanding of and sympathy for the aspirations of the Asian and African countries. When there is a split of opinion between the Asian and African countries and the advanced Western countries, Japan makes it a rule to endeavor to find as much as possible a point of accommodation so that the two sides can come closer together. However, Japan is compelled to make a very difficult choice when such efforts fail and an issue is put to a vote. Japan abstained from voting on the three issues mentioned above under such difficult circumstances.


(6) Lastly, Japan has been making efforts to take part in the work of the major organs and various committees where substantial debates are conducted, from the standpoint of actively participating in the work of the United Nations by taking every opportunity possible. Such efforts produced remarkable results at the 29th Session of the General Assembly. First, Japan successfully ran for the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, which can be regarded as the two wheels of the United Nations. It was also elected a member of the Industrial Development Board of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Program and the World Food Council. Furthermore, it succeeded in having Japanese members seated on the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, which plays an important role in controlling the administration and finances of the United Nations, and also the International Civil Service Commission. That Japan was elected to all these important posts indicates the rise in the esteem in which Japan is held by other countries and also the expansion of its responsibilities.



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* In response to a request by Iraq for U.N. Security Council deliberation on a border incursion by Iran, the Security Council in February unanimously called on the Secretary General to dispatch a special envoy to investigate the Iran-Iraq border dispute. In May, both Iran and Iraq agreed, through the special envoy, on a four-point measure to improve the situation, and the Security Council adopted a resolution welcoming the agreement.