Section 4. Cooperation with United Nations Activities



1. The United Nations Today


The United Nations is the most universal organization existing today for the purposes of maintaining international peace and security and promoting international cooperation aimed at economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian development for all nations.

Founded nearly forty years ago in 1945 with 51 members, the United Nations has now 158 members (Brunei expected to become the 159th member state at the Thirty-ninth General Assembly) and its functions have, as a result of changes in the international economic and political climate, developed in ways unanticipated by its founders. For example, as the limits to the Charter's enforcement measures for the settlement of disputes became obvious, the United Nations developed alternative "peace-keeping functions." In the social and economic fields, the growing number of newly independent members have made the North-South problem increasingly important, and the developing countries have been calling for the strengthening of United Nations functions centering on the establishment of a new international economic order.

These changes in the United Nations are ample proof that the United Nations ultimately reflects changes in the international community. Since the international community is constituted of sovereign states, what the United Nations can accomplish is inevitably defined by the composite will of the member countries.

However, this in no way negates the importance of the United Nations' universality or the comprehensiveness of its involvement. With the increasing interdependence among the member countries on virtually every issue before the international community, the United Nations has an even more important role to play than ever before.


Change in Regional Distribution of UN Membership


Change in the Contributions to the UN Budget


2. Japan and the United Nations


(1) Japan's Basic Stance

Japan has been well aware of the United Nations' significance and has extended positive support for the United Nations ever since its admission to membership in 1956. With the enhancement of Japan's international standing and the heightened responsibilities which it entails, Japan has been even more positive in its participation, cooperation, and support for United Nations activities in recent years. For example, Japan served five terms as a non-permanent member of the Security Council (which ties Japan with Brazil for the most number of terms) and extends strong financial support for the activities of the United Nations and its specialized agencies (Japanese assessed and voluntary contributions in 1982 were exceeded only by those of the United States).

Japanese cooperation and support in the international community for the United Nations is based upon the broad Japanese public support and strong expectations for United Nations purposes and activities. Working together with the other member states to enable the United Nations to beef up its capabilities to respond to international expectations and working to further consolidate popular understanding and support for the United Nations and its activities are both basic pillars of Japanese foreign policy.


(2) Japan in the United Nations in 1983

In keeping with this basic policy stance, Japan was an active participant in United Nations activities in 1983. Some of the highlights are described below.

(a) Although Japan is not now a member of the Security Council, Japan did take the initiative in calling for the Security Council to meet at the time of the downing of the KAL jetliner in September and worked in the Security Council to coalesce international opinion condemning the Soviet Union and pinpointing Soviet responsibility by such efforts as releasing tapes of the radio contact between the Soviet pilot and his ground controller. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council special session immediately afterward adopted a resolution calling for the dispatch of an ICAO study mission to investigate this incident. In the October 1983 Security Council debate on the Iran-Iraq conflict, Japan contributed to the debate by facilitating exchanges of views between Iran and the Security Council members.

(b) Speaking before the Thirty-eighth Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Foreign Minister Abe stressed Japan's positive foreign policy efforts for peace and prosperity. After referring at the outset to the downing of the KAL jetliner, Foreign Minister Abe elucidated the Japanese position and stated Japan's willingness to promote disarmament and its determination to work for a solution to the North-South problem. In addition, Foreign Minister Abe explained the Japanese position on the major issues facing the international community, drawing upon Japan's distinctive status to appeal for a prompt settlement of the Iran-Iraq conflict. As in past years, he also firmly stated the Japanese position on the Northern Territories. Taking the opportunity offered by the General Assembly Session, Foreign Minister Abe met and exchanged views with Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar and the Prime Ministers or Foreign Ministers of 20 other countries.

In addition, Japan actively participated in General Assembly debates on Cambodia, the terrorist bombing in Rangoon, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Southern Africa, the Falklands, and other issues.

(c) In part because of the impact of East-West differences as typified by the suspension of the INF negotiations, there was little conspicuous progress made in the disarmament discussions and negotiations in such forums as the United Nations and the Geneva Committee on Disarmament (renamed the Conference on Disarmament in 1984).

Believing that disarmament can be achieved only through patient negotiations, Japan has, under the circumstances, adopted a policy of making steady step-by-step contributions commensurate with its abilities. From this perspective, Japan has called for progress in the American-Soviet nuclear disarmament negotiations and worked hard in the United Nations, the Conference on Disarmament, and other forums on such priority areas as a comprehensive nuclear test ban, maintaining and strengthening the NPT regime, and a ban on chemical weapons.

(d) Japan has also been a positive participant in efforts centering on the United Nations to solve economic problems. With well over half of the United Nations membership developing countries and with the economic issues taken up at the United Nations tending primarily to center on the North-South problem, Japan will continue to work vigorously in the United Nations General Assembly, UNCTAD, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), ESCAP, and other forums for the solution of the North-South problem.


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