Diplomatic Bluebook 2001

F. United Nations

The United Nations Security Council-which in the past has not always been able to fully achieve the UN's most important purpose, namely, the maintenance of international peace and security-is now expected to fulfill its original purpose more effectively with the end of the Cold War. At the same time, while the recent advance of globalization has made it possible for human beings to prosper even further, it has also been forcing the international community to deal with its negative aspects such as human rights violations; poverty; infectious diseases; crime; and environmental, population, and refugee problems. Under such circumstances the UN, as the world's only universal and comprehensive organization, is expected more than ever to play a central role in efforts by the international community to address the various issues of the day.

On April 3, 2000, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan released a report entitled "We the People: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century," giving his thoughts on the issues facing the international community in the 21st century and on the strengthening of the functions of the UN to deal with such issues. In August, the Panel on the United Nations Peace Operations (the so-called Brahimi Panel) made recommendations on UN peace operations (see Chapter II, Section 1-B-4). At the Millennium Summit held in September, the world's leaders met together to engage in wide-ranging discussion on how to respond to the issues facing the international community in the 21st century.

1. The Millennium Summit and the Millennium Assembly

The Millennium Summit was held in New York from September 6-8 as part of the UN Millennium Assembly,*25 with the participation of leaders from 144 of the total of 189 UN member states. The participants engaged in vigorous discussions on the role of the UN in the 21st century, which was the overall theme of the Summit. At the plenary meetings, many representatives of member states referred especially to issues concerning peace and security, development and the elimination of poverty, and UN Security Council reform. On the final day of the Summit, the Millennium Declaration was adopted, which delineated the UN's efforts to deal with the issues of the 21st century. Various events were also held during the Summit preparatory process in order to take on board the views of not only UN member states, but also civil society.

Prime Minister Mori attended the Summit as Japan's representative and stressed the importance of (1) human security; (2) strengthening of the UN through early realization of Security Council reform and financial reform; and (3) efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In discussion on globalization at the Round Table sessions, he also underlined the importance of (1) eliminating poverty and (2) bridging the digital divide.

At the general debate session of the UN General Assembly which followed the Millennium Summit, Foreign Minister Kono gave an address on September 13. Based on Japan's own experience, he underlined the importance of the international community working together to address nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. He also stressed the importance of efforts to realize prosperity and a "human-centered" world in the 21st century. He emphasized that in order to bolster these efforts, strengthening of UN functions through UN Security Council reform and financial reform is a pressing need.

2. Security Council Reform

The problems that the international community has to address for peace and prosperity in the 21st century are growing increasingly diverse and complex. In such circumstances, the strengthening of UN functions is indispensable to ensure that the UN can effectively respond to such issues. It is particularly urgent that the Security Council, which bears the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, be reformed to reflect the current international situation.

Concrete discussion has been underway in the Open-ended Working Group on Security Council Reform and other fora since January 1994. Through discussions to date, most countries have expressed their support for Japan to become a permanent member of the Security Council. However, the reform has been left pending as there remains a divergence of views among member states on specific issues, including the scale of the expanded Security Council (the issue of "number"), the handling of the veto, and the means of selecting new permanent members.

In 2000, demarches by Japan led to the U.S. announcement on April 3 that it was prepared to review its position on the issue of "number," and to consider proposals that would result in a slightly larger number of seats than the 21 it had originally called for. On the same day, Secretary-General Annan pointed out in his report on the Millennium Summit that reform was vital for improving the legitimacy and efficiency of the Security Council. The need for Security Council reform was for the first time clearly stated in the documents released at the G8 Summit and Foreign Ministers' Meeting in July, while the Millennium Declaration included the wording, "To intensify our efforts to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects."

Japan made various efforts during the Millennium Summit and the Millennium Assembly to gain the support of member states for expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent membership of the Security Council. Consequently, 169 countries referred to the need for Security Council reform, and, more specifically, 98 states clearly expressed their support for expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent membership at the Millennium Summit and in the general debate at the General Assembly in September, and in the discussion at the UN General Assembly on Security Council Reform in November. As a result, support for expansion of the non-permanent membership alone waned considerably, removing one obstacle to the progress of the reform.

3. Financial Reform

Sound financial foundations are vital to support the ever-expanding agenda of UN activities. To stabilize UN finances, member states should of course keep up with payments of their assessed contributions. On top of this, Japan has continued to stress the importance of greater efficiency and transparency in UN budget and organizational matters, as well as of an equitable allocation of the financial burden (scale of assessments) which reflects the economic trends of each member state and its status and responsibility at the UN, in terms of promoting members' payment of their contributions.

At the insistence of Japan and other UN members, the UN budget has remained at approximately the same level for several years, and efforts have been made to improve the method for evaluating the UN's financial situation.

In December 2000, the General Assembly agreed on the scales of assessments from 2001 through 2003. During the negotiations, Japan continued to emphasize the position noted above and its current stringent domestic fiscal situation, which was understood by other members and resulted in a scale reduction of around one percent from the 2000 level of 20.573 percent.

Member states have highly appreciated Japan's policy of looking at UN financial reforms from a long-term perspective and actively seeking to ensure a more efficient budget and more equitable financial burdens while steadily continuing to pay its assessed contributions. This support has helped to boost Japan's influence in the UN. Further, by maintaining a consistent stance throughout its active involvement in UN financial reform negotiations, Japan has been working to ensure that Japan's policy designs are reflected in the UN budget.

4. Japanese Staff

The number of Japanese staff working at the UN has not reached a desirable level compared to Japan's significant financial contribution to the organization. To improve this situation, Japan has been working to increase its staff contribution through such means as the implementation of the Associate Experts Programme, and by receiving recruitment missions from the UN Secretariat and other UN organizations.

The following Japanese were appointed as senior-level UN officials in 2000: Kenzo Oshima was named Under-Secretary-General of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Kunio Waki became Deputy Executive Director of the UN Population Fund, and Ichiro Nomura took office as Assistant Director-General of the Fisheries Department of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.


  1. To mark the new millennium, the 55th Session of the General Assembly was designated the Millennium Assembly of the UN.

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