Chapter I.
General Overview

D. United Nations

During the Cold War era, the confrontation between East and West was reflected in the United Nations, and as a result, the United Nations was not always able to fully achieve its most important purpose-maintaining international peace and security. However, with the end of the Cold War, expectations rose over the situation becoming such that the UN Security Council could fulfill its original purpose, and expectations are now growing toward the United Nations exerting a more significant role in dealing with development, environment, population, refugees and various other issues.

The end of the Cold War lowered the probability of the occurrence of a global-scale conflict, but regional conflicts are breaking out with great frequency. In 1999, attention focused on how the international community, including the United Nations, could respond in particular to such issues as Kosovo and East Timor. Firstly, the response of the United Nations toward Kosovo served to spark a range of discussion on strengthening Security Council response capacity toward conflict. The Kosovo issue also served to further deepen the recognition of the international community toward the importance of preventing conflict before it breaks out. In his speech delivered during the general debate in the 54th Session of the General Assembly, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for the need to foster a "Culture of Prevention" instead of a "Culture of Reaction."

Gearing up toward the Millennium Assembly and Millennium Summit to take place the following year, Japan stressed within the United Nations and other fora the importance of identifying the issues facing the international community in the 21st century including conflict and poverty, and that UN reform and strengthening of its functions are indispensable in order to ensure that the United Nations can effectively respond to such issues.

Furthermore, although Japan makes a significant financial contribution to the United Nations, the number of Japanese staff working in the United Nations is much less than the number of desirable range. To improve this situation, Japan has been working to increase the number of Japanese staff through such means as the utilization of the junior professional officer (JPO) dispatch system and the receiving of UN Secretariat recruitment missions to recruit Japanese nationals.

a) Security Council reform

In the post-Cold War period, the Security Council is expected to play a role not just in the traditional area of security, but also in areas such as humanitarian activities and human rights, for conflict prevention and stabilization of post-conflict situations. As this would suggest, Security Council members now need to be able to make a wide-ranging contribution, not just in political and security areas, but also in economic and social areas. There is a growing recognition that Security Council Reform must therefore include an enlargement of its membership based upon the current international situation and the improvement of methods of Security Council operation, as well as other issues. Intensive discussion has been underway in the Open-ended Working Group on Security Council reform and other fora since January 1994. Through discussions to date, one can say that consensus has been reached among UN members on the early realization of Security Council reform. Most countries have offered their support for Japan's inclusion as a permanent member of the Security Council. However, there remains a divergence of views among countries on specific issues, including the scale of the expanded Security Council, handling of the veto, and the means of selecting new permanent members from developing countries. Japan has worked actively for the advancement of discussion of the reforms, arguing that: (1) Security Council effectiveness should be enhanced through an addition as permanent members of a limited number of countries with capacity and willingness to assume global responsibilities; (2) the representativeness of the Security Council should be enhanced through an appropriate increase in the number of non-permanent seats on the Council; and also that (3) Member States need to demonstrate political decisiveness on this issue, which has already been discussed for six years. In his address at the UN General Assembly in September, Foreign Minister Koumura stressed that, given the considerable changes in the international situation that have occurred in more than a half-century since the end of World War II, the Security Council, as an organization with the major responsibility for world peace and security, must be strengthened. To this end, he urged the need to reform the composition of both permanent and non-permanent members, and the need for the Security Council itself to be reborn in a manner reflecting the international situation of today. He also reiterated Japan's long-held position that as Security Council reforms are realized, Japan wishes to take further responsibility as a permanent member of the Security Council.

b) Financial reform

In terms of UN finances, although the United States made partial payments at the end of 1999, the United Nations continues to struggle with a severe financial situation stemming from payments in arrears of a number of Member States, including the United States, and other factors. Reform is therefore necessary for ensuring sound financial foundations. In particular, Japan, which has the second highest financial burden of the Member States (Japan's scale of assessments is 20.573% in 2000), has emphasized that payment of contributions in arrears, more streamlined budget arrangements and more equitable financial burdens remain important issues. Given the importance of ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of UN activities, Japan will continue to promote reform in these areas.

c) Reform of UN development activities

Recognizing the need to engage effectively in development issues through the new post-Cold War approach based on a global partnership among developed and developing countries, Japan has been advocating a "New Development Strategy (NDS)." Japan has furthermore been stressing the need for reform in such areas as facilitating cooperation among UN institutions, promotion of dialogue with Bretton Woods organizations inter alia the World Bank, and wide-ranging participation and coordination with civil society.

In recent years Japan has been advocating the concept of "human security" in the area of development, and cooperation with the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as civil society including NGOs, is key for putting this concept into practice. In June in Tokyo, Japan invited international organizations, government officials, NGOs and other actors to the hosting of an international symposium entitled "Development: With a Special Focus on Human Security," where they engaged in discussion on healthcare, poverty eradication and African development. Further, having established a Human Security Fund at the United Nations, Japan, in cooperation with NGOs, has been supporting projects implemented by international organizations that directly benefit local inhabitants, including the socially vulnerable.

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