Diplomatic Bluebook 2017
Japan's Foreign Policy to Promote National and Worldwide Interests
5.Japan's Efforts at the United Nations (UN)
(1) The United Nations (UN)
A Japan-United Nations (UN) Relationship
The year 2016 is a milestone year that marks the 60th anniversary of Japan's accession to the United Nations (UN). On December 18, 1956, Japan became the 80th member state of the UN, which was established in response to the two preceding world wars, with the aim of saving future generations from the horrors of war. Since its accession, Japan has proactively contributed to world peace and prosperity through the UN.
The UN is an international organization with a universal character, in which almost all the countries in the world join (193 countries as of December 2016). With a high level of expertise, it addresses various challenges that the international community faces in diverse areas, including conflict resolution and peacebuilding, counter-terrorism, disarmament and nonproliferation, development, human rights, environment and climate change, and disaster risk reduction.
Since January 2016, Japan has been serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for two years, fulfilling a key role in the maintenance of peace and security in the international community. This is Japan's 11th term as a non-permanent member, which is more frequent than any other UN Member State. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, and taking the opportunity of the 60th anniversary of Japan's accession to the UN, Japan has been putting even greater effort into achieving the diplomatic goals that cannot be achieved by one country alone by further strengthening cooperation through the UN, including responding to global issues.
In September 2016, Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kishida attended the 71st UN General Assembly.
In his speech delivered at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly for the fourth consecutive year, Prime Minister Abe expressed Japan's resolve to lead the UN Security Council's discussions in view of the fact that the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear tests and ballistic missiles launches has reached a new level. He also raised the abductions issue, and appealed to the international community on the need for the early resolution of the issue. In the context of the 60th anniversary of Japan's accession to the UN, Prime Minister Abe spoke about the global contributions that Japan built up in the UN since its accession, and underscored that Japan will spare no effort in strengthening the UN in the next 60 years as well. Finally, he closed his speech by appealing to the Member States that fundamental changes in the UN governance structure is necessary in light of the evolving international situation in order to strengthen the UN, and that the reform of the Security Council is a matter of urgency.
One of the main agenda issues of the 71st UN General Assembly was the situation in Syria, where humanitarian conditions are deteriorating as a result of conflict, and the response to the related refugee and migrant issues.
Prime Minister Abe delivered a statement at the “United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants.” After introducing “human security” and “the humanitarian and development nexus” as Japan's approach to the refugee and migrant issue, he announced that Japan will provide about 2.8 billion US dollars over the three years, from 2016 to 2018, in humanitarian and self-reliance assistance to refugees and migrants, as well as support to host countries and communities.
Prime Minister Abe also attended the “Leaders' Summit on Refugees” hosted by President Obama of the United States, and announced that Japan would offer the following forms of support in addition to the aforementioned assistance: (1) approximately 100 million US dollars in cooperation in total to the World Bank Global Crisis Response Platform; (2) Implementation of human resource development, including educational assistance and vocational training, for approximately 1 million people affected by conflicts; and (3) Support for Syrian refugees and host communities provided by the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe attended the UN Security Council High-level Briefing on Syria. In his statement, he pointed out the importance for the UN Security Council to strongly promote the improvement of humanitarian access and the transition to a political process. In addition, as Japan's concrete contribution measures, he expressed that Japan will provide 1.13 billion US dollars in support to Syria, Iraq, and the neighboring countries in 2016 in cooperation with international organizations.
He also attended the reception for “HeForShe,” a UN Women's campaign that calls for men to be involved in promoting gender equality. In addition to disseminating Japan's initiatives toward the realization of a “society where all women shine,” he also encouraged the participants to play an active part.
Prime Minister Abe took full advantage of his attendance at the UN General Assembly to engage actively in dialogues with key persons, including the leaders of various countries.
In his meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Prime Minister Abe affirmed that Japan will continue working closely with the UN on North Korea's nuclear and missile development, and explained that the enforcement of the Legislation for Peace and Security would enable Japan to contribute further to the international community in the area of security, including UN peacekeeping operations (PKO).
In his dialogue with President of the 71st UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, Prime Minister Abe expressed that Japan hopes to work closely with the UN in areas including the UN Security Council reform, development, and refugee issues. In response, President Thomson explained that achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is positioned as a matter of the highest priority, and that he hopes to move forward on negotiations on the UN Security Council reform while working closely with UN Member States.
Prime Minister Abe hosted the 3rd Japan-Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting, and affirmed that cooperation between Japan and the Pacific Island countries was being implemented. Prime Minister Abe also called for cooperation in areas including addressing the issue of North Korea, the rule of law at sea, and the UN Security Council reform. Prime Minister Abe also took the initiative to strengthen bilateral relations by engaging in dialogue with the U.S., the UK, Qatar, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Colombia, and Ukraine, and informal talks with President Obama and Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Li Keqiang.
During his stay in New York, Prime Minister Abe attended the Invest Japan Seminar, the Visit Japan Tourism Seminar, a dialogue with the New York–based business and financial community, and a reception showcasing Japanese cuisine. Through these events, he offered direct explanations to experts and business people about Japan's economic and financial policies, and actively disseminated information about Japan's appeal, including its tourism resources and Japanese cuisine. Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kishida also attended a social gathering with UN Japanese staff, providing them with encouragement along with expectations for them to play an even more active role in the UN.
Foreign Minister Kishida chaired the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting and the Japan-U.S.-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Meeting, and co-chaired the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Japan-CARICOM Ministerial-Level Conference, and attended a total of eight multilateral conferences including the G4 Foreign Minister's Meeting on the reform of the UN Security Council. Taking the opportunity of attending the UN General Assembly, he held Foreign Minister's meetings with eight countries and thereby strengthened relationships of mutual trust with his counterparts from other countries.
B The Security Council of the United Nations (UN Security Council) and its Reform
(A) The Security Council of the United Nations (UN Security Council)
The UN Security Council holds the primary responsibility within the UN for maintaining international peace and security. Its activities, including peacekeeping operations based on UN Security Council resolutions, are diversifying and its role is expanding year by year, encompassing the efforts to address new threats such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.
In this context, Japan has served as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for two years since January 2016 for the 11th time, which is more frequent than any other UN Member State. In the UN Security Council, Japan actively contributes to discussions on topics such as regional situations and peacebuilding. In particular, Japan has made great efforts towards the adoption of the two UN Security Council Resolutions in response to the nuclear tests in January and September and the repeated ballistic missile launches conducted by North Korea. In July, when Japan held the Presidency of the UN Security Council, it made significant contribution to discussions concerning the maintenance of international peace and security, with Foreign Minister Kishida chairing the Open Debate on “Peacebuilding in Africa”, for example. (See Special Feature “Activities as a Member of the United Nations Security Council”)
In 2016, the UN also moved forward on the process of electing the next Secretary-General to succeed former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who had completed a ten-year term (re-elected once). In October, the UN Security Council recommended the appointment of the former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (former Prime Minister of Portugal) Guterres to the UN General Assembly, and the resolution to appoint Mr. Guterres as the incoming UN Secretary-General was adopted at the General Assembly. In its involvement in the election process as a member of the UN Security Council, Japan has been engaged in numerous discussions with Secretary-General Guterres concerning the current state and the future of the United Nations, and it will continue to cooperate closely with him.
(B) Reform of the Security Council of the United Nations
The composition of the UN Security Council has basically remained unchanged even today, more than 70 years since the establishment of the United Nations, despite significant changes to the structure of the international community and diversification of the UN's functions. There is a shared recognition in the international community on the necessity of an early reform of the UN Security Council, in order to improve its legitimacy, effectiveness, representativeness, and transparency.
Japan has contributed actively to the international community in such areas as disarmament and non-proliferation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and human security. To enable it to play an even more proactive role toward the realization of world peace and security through the UN, Japan has been making outreach efforts to other countries in pursuit of an early realization of the UN Security Council reform and its admission as a permanent member through an expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats.
(C) Recent activities regarding the reform of the UN Security Council
Since 2009, in the United Nations, Member States have been engaging in the Inter-governmental Negotiations on the UN Security Council reform under the General Assembly. At the Inter-governmental Negotiations for the 70th General Assembly that commenced in February 2016, Chair of the Inter-governmental Negotiations on UN Security Council Reforms Lucas drafted a document summarizing the key points of convergence, with respect to “the Relationship between the Council and the General Assembly”, and “size of an enlarged Security Council and working method of the Council”. In July, a consensus was reached at the UN General Assembly to continue with the Inter-governmental Negotiations at the 71st General Assembly (one year from September).
In addition, Japan also places great importance on strengthening its initiatives as a member of the G4 (Japan, India, Germany, and Brazil), a group that cooperates on promoting the reform of the UN Security Council. The Ministerial Meeting of the G4 Countries was held in September. During the Meeting, the countries agreed on building further momentum for the UN Security Council reform and continuing to work towards a comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council.
In addition, the Group of Friends on Security Council Reform was established in July. Comprising diverse groups such as the G4 as well as Africa, the Caribbean, the UK, France, and Northern Europe, all of which seek the reform of the UN Security Council. At the High-Level Meeting held in September, the Group members shared the recognition that the reform of the UN Security Council is an urgent issue, and affirmed their commitment to cooperate to realize a meaningful reform of the UN Security Council in an expeditious manner.
Japan will continue to be actively involved in the process for realizing the UN Security Council reform, in close cooperation with the countries that aim to promote such reform.
For two years since January 2016, Japan has been taking on the responsible role as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council for the 11th time, which is more frequent than any other UN Member State. Japan is actively working to maintain peace and security in the international community.
[Adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolutions Concerning North Korea]
In response to the nuclear tests and the launch of ballistic missile by North Korea, as a member of the UN Security Council, Japan took a leading role in discussions at the UN Security Council, working closely with the relevant countries including the United States and the Republic of Korea. As a result, the UN Security Council Resolutions 2270 and 2321 were adopted, strengthening sanctions against North Korea, and putting greater emphasis on the importance of human rights and humanitarian issues including the abduction issue. The adoption of these resolutions demonstrated the attitude of the international community as a whole in taking decisive action against North Korea. In addition, Japan has been actively taking part in the work of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 1718 and encouraging the relevant countries to fully and strictly implement the UN Security Council resolutions.
In December, the meeting on the situation in North Korea, including its human rights situation, was held for the third consecutive year at the UN Security Council. At the meeting, meaningful discussions took place with respect to initiatives toward the resolution of human rights issues in North Korea, including the abduction issue and the Security Council's response to North Korea's nuclear and missile issues.
[Security Council Open Debate on “Peacebuilding in Africa”]
In July, Japan, serving as the president of the UN Security Council, hosted the Security Council Open Debate on Peacebuilding in Africa which Foreign Minister Kishida chaired. This open debate was attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and government officials including the Foreign Minister Amina of Kenya, and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad of the Republic of Senegal Ndiaye, who made statements based on their experiences and knowledge in each country and engaged in comprehensive discussions. Many of the participating countries highly appraised Japan's initiative in organizing the open debate, and the Statement by the President of the Security Council was adopted at the conference. This statement emphasized the importance of institution-building, human resource development, confidence building, rule of law, and the use of science and technology with respect to peacebuilding in Africa.
[Contribution to Individual Important Issues]
Japan was actively involved in the processes for the selection of the next Secretary-General of the UN and plays an active role in all UN Security Council issues aimed at maintaining peace and security in the international community, such as Prime Minister Abe's attendance at the UN Security Council High-Level Briefing on Syria. Japan also organized the Open Debate on the UN Security Council Working Methods. Furthermore, while serving as the Chair of the Security Council Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, Japan contributed to improving the transparency and working methods of the UN Security Council, through efforts such as enabling Non-Permanent Members to familiarize themselves with the procedures of the UN Security Council and prepare themselves more efficiently before joining the UN Security Council. Through such initiatives, Japan is taking the lead in discussions toward strengthening the functions of the UN Security Council.
C Administrative and Budgetary Issues of the United Nations
(A) Budget of the United Nations
The UN budget is mainly composed of the regular budget which is the biennial budget for the period from January to December of the next year, and the peacekeeping budget which is the one-year budget for the period from July to the following June.
The regular budget for the biennium FY2016- 2017 amounting to approximately 5.4 billion US dollars was approved in December 2015 (Approximately 8% less than the amount of the final budget for FY2014 / 2015 which is approximately 5.81 billion US dollars). In June 2016, the budgets for peacekeeping operations for FY2016 / 2017, amounting to approximately 7.87 billion US dollars in total, were approved (Approximately 4.84% less than the final budget for the previous fiscal year).
(b) Japan's Contribution
The budget, which supports the activities of the UN, is composed of assessed contributions by member states and voluntary contributions by Member States in accordance with their policy needs. With regard to the assessed contributions, Japan contributes approximately 240 million US dollars to the UN regular budget for 2016, ranking second only to the U.S. Its contribution to peacekeeping operations for 2016 was approximately 1.02 billion US dollars, coming third after the U.S. and China. As a major financial contributor, Japan has been encouraging the UN to make more efficient and effective use of its resources.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who served until the end of 2016, has promoted management reform as one of his priorities, and Japan has continued to support his initiative. It is expected that such reforms will enhance efficiency of the financial, budgetary, and human resource management. However, it is anticipated that it will take some time for the measures introduced previously to bear fruit. While continuing to bridge differences in the respective views of member states, Japan is actively contributing to the discussion with other member states and the UN Secretariat to ensure concrete progress in administrative and budgetary reforms.