Section 4. Cooperation in United Nations Activities





I. The United Nations Today



The United Nations is the most universal of all international organizations, having 147 member states in 1976. The main purposes of this organization are to maintain international peace and security and to promote the economic and social advancement of all peoples, and to that end achieve international cooperation among nations. Starting with 51 original members in 1945, the United Nations has grown into a major international organization as former non-self-governing territories have gained independence and joined the organization as new nations. In the process of growth, the United Nations has come to assume a considerably different role from that which was intended at its inception. For example, the function of enforced settlement of disputes with the five permanent members of the Security Council playing the central roles, as envisaged in the Charter of the United Nations, has never been set in motion. Instead, so-called peace-keeping operations intended to prevent the recurrence or escalation of conflicts have developed. In economic and social fields, the North-South problem has come to gain an overwhelming importance. Thus, the role of the United Nations has been greatly enhanced. Indeed, these changes testify that the United Nations is a dynamic international organization which reflects directly the political, economic, and social realities of the world and that it is capable of development and action.

The present United Nations, together with its subsidiary organs and specialized agencies, forms an organic body called the United Nations system. With the rapid increase in the number of member states, the heightened interdependence of all nations, and the complex and diverse nature of the problems handled, the United Nations system has come to provide a highly useful framework for international cooperation in such a wide range of fields as the maintenance of peace and security, disarmament, trade, development assistance, social advancement and human rights, labor questions, advancement of the status of women, population, culture, education, human environment, science and technology, nuclear energy, the search for a new order of the sea, transport and communications, and the regulation of administrative and financial activities of the system.



II. Japan and the United Nations



(1) Japan's Basic Attitude


Japan, whose basic foreign policy is designed for the maintenance of peace and international cooperation, has consistently given active support to the purposes and activities of the United Nations ever since its admission to membership in 1956. At the same time, calls are increasingly being heard for Japan to play a larger role within the organization commensurate with its national capabilities. Fully aware of such voices, it is a basic tenet of Japan's foreign policy to actively participate in and cooperate with the activities of the United Nations aimed at promoting international cooperation in the above fields.


(2) Significance and Role of United Nations Diplomacy


Japan is promoting its diplomacy in the United Nations in recognition of the following five major features which the United Nations presents.

First is the important role played by the United Nations in multilateral diplomacy. With the increasing interdependence among nations and with the ever-larger number of problems such as the North-South problem which cannot be effectively solved without cooperation among nations, the United Nations, which is the universal international organization, provides an important forum and framework for such efforts.

Second is the importance in today's international community of working actively through the United Nations forum to further friendly relations with many nations and to develop multilateral diplomatic ties in addition to strengthening and supplementing Japan's traditional bilateral diplomacy for ensuring its security and development.

Third is the role of the United Nations as a leading barometer of trends in the international community. Typical of this is the generalized system of preferences and the search for anew order of the sea, where deliberations at this organization preceded their actual institution by several years. Accordingly the United Nations is highly significant in offering Japan an opportunity to gauge these trends accurately and to design its foreign policy to cope with them most effectively.

Fourth is the importance of the United Nations as a place for gathering information as well as for explaining Japan's position and seeking broad international understanding of it.

Fifth is the significance of the United Nations as a forum in which the leaders of many nations can meet. The general debate period at the beginning of the General Assembly session each year offers a particularly suitable opportunity for foreign policy leaders of member states who gather together in New York to make high-level contacts, exchange views, and promote better understanding among their nations.



III. Japan in the United Nations in 1976



Japan was again active in the United Nations in 1976, the 20th anniversary of its admission to membership. Among the highlights of these diplomatic efforts were:


(1) Japan made active contributions in respective fields as a member of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trade and Development Board, the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Industrial Development Board, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Program, the World Food Council, and other United Nations organs. Indeed, as a member of some 26 of the 35 main councils and boards of the United Nations, Japan is one of the most active member nations of the United Nations.


(2) Japan was a non-permanent member of the Security Council for a two-year term from 1975 to 1976. Japan's basic attitude that the countries concerned should make sincere efforts in the spirit of "dialogue and cooperation" to bring about an effective and mutually acceptable settlement in each case was highly appreciated by the countries concerned.


(3) On May 24, 1976, the Japanese Diet ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and on June 8 Japan deposited the instruments of ratification for this Treaty, thus reinforcing the Japanese position of promoting nuclear disarmament.


(4) Before the 31st General Assembly, Japan took up the issue of the transfer of conventional weapons and drew the attention of member nations to this problem once again.


(5) Japan has participated actively in efforts to strengthen the United Nations functions, taking part in the work of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the strengthening of the role of the organization and of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Restructuring of Economic and Social Sectors of the United Nations System.


(6) Japan worked tirelessly in the 4th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to find a solution acceptable to all nations in the spirit of "dialogue and cooperation." Japan did not attach any reservation to the adoption of the resolution on the Integrated Program for Primary Commodities embracing the common fund in which the developing nations are most interested.


(7) Japan drew upon its wealth of experience and knowledge on land problems to play an important role in the deliberations of the United Nations Habitat Conference.


(8) The regular budget of the United Nations is borne by its member states in accordance with the assessments decided at the General Assembly. The 31st General Assembly was the occasion for reviewing such assessments. The assessment for Japan, which is the third largest next to the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., jumped as a result of the recent revision from 7.15% to 8.66% in 1977. In the deliberations preparatory to setting this new assessment, Japan also attracted the attention of member nations by urging reexamination of the criteria for setting such assessments and advocating that the assessments for the permanent members of the Security Council should be commensurate with their position and responsibility.


(9) Japan actively participated in various activities of the 14 United Nations Specialized Agencies in such fields as international finance, development assistance, food, agriculture, education and culture, labor, health and hygiene, transportation and communications, etc.


(10) Japan actively participated in the debate at the 4th and 5th sessions of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea in an effort to establish a stable and equitable new order for the sea.


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