Section 3. Cooperation in United Nations Activities



I. The United Nations Today


The main objectives of the United Nations are the maintenance of international peace and security, the promotion of the well-being of the peoples of the world, and international cooperation to these ends. The United Nations, which started with 51 founding members, today has 149 members and has developed into the most universal of international organizations. With this growth, the United Nations has developed into a form different from that of its original design. For example, the U.N. now conducts peace-keeping activities despite the absence of any explicit provisions for them in its Charter, the U.N. serves to prevent the recurrence or expansion of disputes in the Middle East and on Cyprus, and the U.N. has come to play an increasingly important economic and social role as the North-South problem has acquired greater importance as an international issue. All of this illustrates that the United Nations is a living organization which directly reflects the political, economic, and social realities of the world and which can develop and act. Yet since the United Nations is a collective organization of sovereign nations, its ability to act is largely determined by the will and cooperation of its members. After what may be termed a period of idealizing the United Nations immediately after its formation and a period of disillusionment when it was found that it could not be dominated by any single country, there has now emerged among member nations a feeling that the United Nations should be utilized as much as possible within its limitations. This tendency is reflected in the fact that deliberations in the General Assembly are increasingly of a practical nature.

Today, the United Nations forms the U.N. system together with other specialized agencies and affiliated agencies. As a result of the large increase in the number of member nations, the increased interdependence among nations, and the complexity and diversity of the problems handled, the United Nations system provides a very useful framework for international cooperation in a wide range of fields, including the maintenance of peace and security, disarmament, trade, economic assistance, social affairs, human rights, labor, improved status for women, population, culture, education, environmental problems, science and technology, nuclear energy, the search for a new maritime order, transportation, communications, and other administrative and financial fields.



II. Japan and the United Nations


1. Japan's Basic Attitude


Following the paths of pacifism and international cooperation as its national policies in seeking peace and prosperity for the international community, Japan has consistently provided positive support for the aims and activities of the United Nations since its admission in 1956. At the same time, Japan has increasingly been called upon within the United Nations to make greater contributions commensurate with its stronger international position. It is a basic tenet of Japanese foreign policy that such requests will be given all due consideration and Japan will participate positively in the various activities of the United Nations aimed at promoting international cooperation.


2. Japan in the United Nations in 1977


In line with this basic policy, Japan played an active part in the United Nations in 1977.

(1) The United Nations is an important arena for multilateral diplomacy, and an ideal forum to express a nation's position and seek international understanding.

In his general debate speech to the 32nd Session of the U.N. General Assembly, Foreign Minister Hatoyama stressed Japan's policy of devotion to peace and positive cooperation to the economic and social development of the developing nations.

(2) As a meeting place for the top diplomatic officials of all nations, the U.N. General Assembly provides a valuable opportunity to exchange views and promote understanding at a high level. On the occasion of the U.N. General Assembly Session, the Japanese delegates sought understanding for Japan's views and exchanged views on bilateral relations, U.N. diplomacy, and other matters in talks with diplomatic officials from many countries, including the United States, the Soviet Union, and China.

(3) As a result of the expanding interdependence among nations, there are an increasing number of problems that cannot be solved effectively without international cooperation. As a universal international organization, the United Nations provides a suitable framework for cooperation among all nations on these problems, the North-South problem among them.

Active within the United Nations organization, Japan was reelected to serve until 1980 in its sixth term on the Economic and Social Council, perhaps the central organization in the field of economic and social development. Japan was also elected to the U.N. Environment Program Council, the Industrial Development Council of the U.N. Industrial Development Organization, and the World Food Council.

(4) Japan has been contributing to enable the United Nations to cope promptly and effectively with the various problems facing the international community.

Following the hijackings of a Japan Air Lines plane and a Lufthansa plane, Japan and the other interested nations endeavored to have the problem of international civil aviation safety put on the agenda of the General Assembly Session and to obtain a consensus on a resolution to be adopted. As a member of the committee to draw up an international treaty for the prevention of hostage-taking acts, Japan took part positively in the drafting work.

(5) Japan has made efforts to strengthen the foundation and functions of the United Nations. In this area, Japan served as a member of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization and also of the Committee on Structural Reform responsible for the problem of structural reform of the United Nations in the socio-economic field. On the question of revising the shares of U.N. ordinary expenses borne by member nations, a question crucial to providing the financial basis for U.N. activities, Japan advocated a reasonable review of the standards. As a result, Japan's share, a national share exceeded only by those of the United States and the Soviet Union, was set at 8.64% for 1978 and 1979 (down from 8.66% in 1977). This was the first time that Japan's share had been lowered since Japan's admission to the United Nations in 1956.

Japan also took up the problem of the organization of various U.N. agencies in view of the fact that the number of various committee seats allotted to the Asian nations, of which Japan is one, is small relative to the number of countries in the group, and this problem raised by Japan evoked considerable response.



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