Section 4. Cooperation in U.N. Activities


1. The United Nations Today


The United Nations is the most universal organization dedicated to enhancing international cooperation in maintaining world peace and security, and in promoting better standards of life of peoples. The United Nations was founded about 37 years ago by 51 original members. Today it comprises 157 nations and has assumed a character much different from the one originally envisaged. For example, "peace-keeping operations" have virtually replaced the compulsory dispute settlement function envisaged in the U.N. Charter. The weight of the North-South problem has sharply grown in the social and economic fields and the U.N. is playing an increasingly important role in this area. This is because international reality is directly reflected on the U.N. What the U.N. is able to do in accordance with actual political, economic, and social conditions of the world depends to a great extent on its members' determination and cooperation. The climate has grown among the members in recent years to make the best use of the world body although there are certain limits to its capacity.

Because of the increase in the number of member countries and in the complexity of what the U.N. deals with, the U.N. today, with the help of various specialized agencies and affiliated organizations, provides a basic framework for international cooperation in various fields, including the maintenance of peace and security, disarmament, aid and trade, society, human rights, culture, population, environment, science and technology, and the sea.


2. Japan and the U.N.


(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, in order to meet the growing expectations placed on Japan by the international community in keeping with its rising international position, Japan has more actively than ever participated in and cooperated with 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 1981


In line with this basic policy, Japan engaged actively in United Nations diplomacy in 1981. The main events were as follows:

(a) Japan played an active role in the UN Security Council, which assumes the main responsibility in maintaining world peace and security, as a non-permanent member, whose term of office would last for two years covering 1981 and 1982. In other words, recognizing the responsibilities as a member of the Security Council, Japan demonstrated its basic attitude that concerned nations should exert serious efforts for an effective and mutually acceptable solution to various problems based on the spirit of dialogue and cooperation. Such an attitude was reflected in the discussions on problems such as the Israeli attacks on Lebanon (March 1981), the Namibian issue (April 1981), Israeli military attacks on the nuclear reactor in Iraq (June 1981), the South African invasion of Angola (August 1981), mercenary aggression against Seychelles (December 1981), Israeli decision to annex Golan Heights (December 1981 and January 1982), the Nicaraguan problem (March 1982), and the situations in the occupied Arab territories Middle East (March 1982). These efforts were highly evaluated by the concerned nations. In May 1981, Japan became a chairman nation of the Security Council and contributed to the adoption of the resolution on the renewal of the term of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Golan Heights.

(b) Foreign Minister Sonoda attended the 36th session of the UN General Assembly and delivered a general debate speech on September 22 in which he clearly stated Japan's position regarding the present world situation. He actively exchanged views with foreign representatives responsible for diplomatic efforts in many nations including the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. From the point of view that methods are necessary to change the current trends in the unstable world situation and to establish an international community that would lead to stability and development, Foreign Minister Sonoda first referred to the disarmament issue and urged the United States and the Soviet Union to reduce their nuclear arms. Then, he stated that North-South dialogues should be promoted based on a spirit of interdependence and a mutuality of interests. Regarding the Cambodian problem, he suggested that the United Nations dispatch a special representative for Secretary-General to the countries concerned. Furthermore, he referred to the Korean Peninsula, the Afghanistan problem, and the situations in the Middle East and Africa. After making comments on the issue of the Northern Territories, he stressed the importance of the positive utilization of the United Nations by each Member State in order to bring about security and development in the international community.

Furthermore, heated discussions were held at the General Assembly concerning major political issues such as those involving Cambodia, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Southern Africa. The International Conference on Kampuchea hosted by the United Nations to discuss the Cambodian issue (July 1981), and the 8th Emergency Special Session to take up the Namibian issue (September 1981) were held. Japan actively participated in these sessions and contributed to the discussions.

(c) Japan also took part in various activities mainly led by the United Nations concerning economic issues (since most of the members are developing countries, economic problems handled by the United Nations fall under the categories of so-called North-South problem). In other words, efforts were continuously made to solve the North-South problem in the UN General Assembly, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). On the other hand, in order to cope with energy problems in developing countries, the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy was held in Nairobi in August 1981, which saw the adoption of "Nairobi Program of Action." Furthermore, the United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries was held in Paris in September 1981, aiming at overcoming the difficult situations in least developed nations and to enable their autonomous growth. "The Substantial New Program of Action for the 1980s for the Least Developed Countries" was adopted here. Together with these North-South dialogues on individual issues, efforts were continuously made at the 36th UN General Assembly to launch the Global Negotiations, which has been the most important issue in the North-South problem.

(d) Concerning disarmament, voices calling for the promotion of disarmament have become even stronger as the Second Special Session of the UN General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament draws near, while the international situation surrounding disarmament is still confronted with difficult issues such as the Afghanistan problem and the situation in Poland.

Under these circumstances, negotiations on the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces between the United States and the Soviet Union started at the end of November. Various preparatory works for the Second Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament were proceeded by the Preparatory Committee.

Japan considers that it is the responsibility of each government to exert as much effort as possible to promote genuine disarmament especially nuclear disarmament in order to secure world peace and security with a minimum amount of armaments, while maintaining a good balance of power. Thus, Japan joined in presenting several draft resolutions such as the one to promote a comprehensive nuclear test ban. In addition, Japan became one of the vice-chairmen from Asia in the Preparatory Committee for the Second Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament.

(e) Japan joined in the Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugee (it came into effect for Japan on January 1, 1982), and Japan's refugee policy has further expanded.


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