Section 3. Cooperation in United Nations Activities


I. The United Nations Today


The United Nations is the most universal international organization for accelerating international cooperation for the maintenance of international peace and security and the promotion of the welfare of the peoples of the world. The United Nations, which started with 51 founding members, has 151 members today, some 30 years since its founding. During this period the United Nations has developed into a body considerably different from that of its original design. For example, the United Nations now conducts so-called "peace-keeping operations" in place of the compulsory dispute settlement function envisaged in its charter, and as the North-South problem loomes larger in the economic and social areas, the role which the United Nations can play in these spheres has become bigger. This shows that the United Nations is an organization which directly reflects the realities of the international situation. What the United Nations can do to respond to the political, economic and social realities of the world depends largely on the will and cooperation of its members. Recently, member states have been making greater efforts to cooperate in United Nations activities as much as possible while recognizing the limitations of the organization.

Further, with the increase in membership, the diversification and increasing complexity of the problems it deals with, the United Nations today, together with its specialized agencies and the numerous related international organizations, provides a framework for international cooperation in a wide range of fields, including the maintenance of peace and security, disarmament, assistance and trade, women, human rights, and science and technology.


II. Japan and the United Nations


1. Japan's Basic Attitude


Since its admission in 1956 to the United Nations, Japan has consistently and positively supported the aims and activities of the United Nations, including the maintenance of international peace and security. At the same time, commensurate with its rising international position, Japan has actively participated in and cooperated with the various activities of the United Nations aimed at promoting international cooperation in various fields. This is one of the basic policies of Japan's diplomacy.


2. Japan in the United Nations in 1978


In line with this basic policy, Japan engaged actively in United Nations diplomacy in 1978. The main events were as follows:

(1) The United Nations General Assembly is a suitable multilateral diplomatic stage for propounding a country's view point to the international community and to win its understanding; with the top diplomatic officials of all nations gathering in one place, it provides a valuable opportunity for exchanging views and promoting mutual understanding at a high level. Foreign Minister Sunao Sonoda, who attended the 33rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, vigorously exchanged views with top diplomatic officials of various countries. In his speech in the general debate, he dealt with important questions facing the international society today, such as the North-South problem, development assistance, the Middle East, South Africa, disarmament, human rights, refugees, hijacking and the energy problem. He made clear in his speech Japan's basic policy of positively contributing to the settlement of these international issues.

(2) Interdependence among nations has been deepening recently at an increasing tempo, transcending differences in social structure, size of country or stage of development. It is not an exaggeration to say that the effective settlement of a very large number of problems cannot be expected without international cooperation. For instance, the North-South problem, and others, such as resources, energy, food and population, cannot be solved only by bilateral cooperation or cooperation among a small number of countries. The United Nations, as a universal international organization, provides an effective framework for cooperation among all nations toward the settlement of these problems. Japan is active in this field as a member of the Economic and Social Council, flee nucleus organization in the field of economic and social development, and of other international organizations.

(3) In the disarmament field, the special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament was held in May 1978 for the first time since the founding of the United Nations. The 33rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, which took over the disarmament debate from the special session, adopted as many as 40 resolutions on disarmament. Japan has consistently emphasized the necessity of continuous international efforts to achieve step by step, general and complete disarmament, and at the 33rd session Japan became cosponsor of several resolutions, including one calling for the early conclusion of a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.

(4) Japan has always made efforts to strengthen the structure of the United Nations. In 1978, Japan participated 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 also took part in drafting a guideline for peace-keeping operations as vice-chairman of the Special Committee on Peace-keeping Operations.

(5) Japan signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Moreover, Japan played a positive role in social and human rights issues by participating actively in the World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination and in the working group on the draft Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

(6) Dissatisfied that the number of Japanese nationals on the United Nations staff is extremely small in relation to the size of its financial contributions, Japan had been requesting the United Nations secretary-general to rectify the situation. The 33rd session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to give priority to the hiring of staff from the countries the number of whose nationals on the United Nations staff fall short of the "appropriate level." This is highly appraised as expanding the chance for Japanese to join the United Nations staff.


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