The UN in the 21st Century:
Time to Address New Challenges

The Need for a New Security Council

Since the end of the Cold War, the United Nations has been challenged by "new threats" such as poverty, terrorism, infectious diseases, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, in addition to those caused by interstate conflicts. In coping with these new challenges, the Security Council has evolved to acquire new functions: oversight over the consolidation of peace in post-conflict situations and a de facto legislative role.

In order to prevent the recurrence of violence, the international community needs to adopt a comprehensive and multifaceted approach to consolidate peace, an approach that requires significant amounts of resources. The Security Council thus needs to enhance its effectiveness by ensuring the fullest participation and cooperation of those Member States that are both willing and able to assume such responsibilities. In addition, the de facto legislative role which the Security Council has come to play recently in such fields as counter-terrorism and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction needs to become more effective by providing the Security Council with greater representativeness by expanding the Security Council membership. While the number of Member States has increased dramatically from 51 to 191 since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945, the institutional framework of the Security Council has basically remained unchanged with the exception of the single expansion of its membership from 11 to 15 in the 1960's. If the Security Council is to maintain and enhance its legitimacy, its membership must be duly expanded while giving due consideration to preserving the efficacy of the Council.

Number of UN Member States and Security Council Seats

The composition of the Security Council should reflect the geo-political reality of the 21st century. It is vital that countries demonstrating both the will and the capacity to assume responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security play an integral part in the decision-making process. To this end, institutional reform of the Security Council is essential. The majority of UN Member States supports expansion of the Security Council both in permanent and non-permanent membership. During the 2000 UN millennium sessions, 98 countries made explicit statements in the Chamber supporting the expansion of both categories.

Japan, Working for World Peace, Security and Development

Japan, as a UN Member State, plays an active role in the maintenance of international peace and security, particularly in the areas of UN peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance and consolidation of peace, and in addressing the issues of terrorism, arms control and nonproliferation.

On the aim of addressing the root causes of conflicts, Japan favors a comprehensive approach, designed not only to bring an end to the given conflict itself but also to address such issues as human security and poverty reduction.

UN Scale of Assessments for the PKO Budget as of July 2004
Japan's contribution to PKO budgets, as well as to the regular budget, exceeds the combined contributions of four permanent members.

UN Peacekeeping Operations

To date, Japan has participated in eight UN peacekeeping operations dispatching over 4,600 personnel to support these activities.

Moreover, Japan bears about one-fifth of the total cost of PKOs, with its assessed contributions to PKO budgets in 2003 amounting to US$432 million.

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Total Contribution by Donors to Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action (October 1994 to December 2004)

Humanitarian Assistance for Global Security

Prompt and effective humanitarian assistance is the key to a successful international response during and after conflicts. In this context, humanitarian assistance is clearly one of the essential elements for promoting global security.

Japan has actively provided material and personnel assistance as well as financial contributions through multilateral organizations. In addition, Japan has made significant contributions to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).

Seamless Assistance for Consolidation of Peace

One salient feature of armed conflicts in recent years is the fact that civilians comprise as much as 80% of the casualties.

While armed conflict gives rise to humanitarian crises, it can also instantly wipe out the results of development efforts made over many years and precipitate huge economic losses. Unrest and conflict have at times even destroyed the basic structure of a state, with the result that some countries and regions have been left with a seriously weakened government or no government at all. Assistance to such weak states has become a key international issue.

Japan has undertaken efforts to implement DDR (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration), nation-building and humanitarian assistance in order to promote human security and consolidation of peace. To date, Japan has engaged in peace-building efforts around the world including Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Mindanao, East Timor, Kosovo and Sierra Leone.

International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq Donor Contributions (as of August 2004) Total commitments 1 bil USD


  • Japan has dispatched its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to Iraq in order to provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.
  • On the ground, SDF is extending assistance in the form of rehabilitation assistance of schools and public facilities, provision of medical services and drinking water and transporting of humanitarian and reconstruction supplies.
  • Japan pledged US$1.5 billion for grant assistance for immediate needs in 2004 to Iraq and has already decided or disbursed US 1.15 billion.
  • Furthermore, Japan will provide up to US 3.5 billion assistance for medium-term needs.
  • Japan will host the Third Donors' Meeting for the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq in October 2004 in Tokyo.

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  • Japan continues to do its utmost to support direct negotiations between the leaders of the transitional government and the regional commanders, so that the momentum for DDR may be maintained even after the presidential election scheduled for October.
  • Japan hosted the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan in Tokyo in January 2002, and has since contributed US$800 million for the recovery and reconstruction of Afghanistan. An additional US$400 million in aid was announced at the Berlin Conference in March of this year.

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Ogata Initiative - Enabling a "seamless transition" in AfghanistanThe Ogata Initiative, a regional comprehensive development assistance program implemented by UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP, was launched in August 2002 based on the proposal contained in the report by the Special Representative of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Sadako Ogata, and has been highly appreciated by the Transitional Administration of Afghanistan and the officials concerned in the United Nations. The goal of the program is, based on the notion of human security, to facilitate a seamless transition from humanitarian to reconstruction and development assistance and, for the purpose of resettling refugees and internally-displaced persons in regional areas, to support capacity strengthening and long-term development of the rural communities that accept them. The Ogata Initiative has come to be regarded as a model for peace consolidation and the human security response in post-conflict situations.

Addressing the Issues of Disarmament and Nonproliferation

As the only country in the world to have experienced the scourge of nuclear weapons and one that exports no weapons, Japan has been actively making diplomatic efforts to promote nuclear disarmament through a practical and progressive approach, such as by submitting a draft resolution on nuclear disarmament to the UN General Assembly since 1994. Japan is of the strong view that all countries need to strengthen enforcement with respect to non-proliferation of arms in all its phases, by taking effective measures in the areas of export and import control, domestic control and border control, as well as participating actively in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).

Japan is actively promoting this comprehensive approach to combating proliferation, particularly in Asia. Japan has provided technical assistance to countries in need to overcome difficulties in enforcing effective measures for the nonproliferation.

At the same time, Japan is especially urging countries that have not yet concluded the IAEA Additional Protocol to do so without delay. Japan is also making a determined effort to achieve universalization of the NPT and to help to realize the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), to supplement the NPT regime.

Japan is also actively working on disarmament and nonproliferation of conventional arms including anti-personnel landmines and small arms and light weapons, by chairing the First Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the UN Program of Action in 2001 and making effort for universalization of the Ottawa Convention.

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State Security and Human Security

The concept of "security" is now better understood in a broader context.

As the Brundtland Commission transformed the conceptual thinking of the international community by defining "sustainable development," the conclusions of the Commission on Human Security may well transform the operational modality of the world by calling for the enhancement of security so as to ensure the survival, livelihood and dignity of ordinary people - and not only the integrity of sovereign states. The Commission, chaired by Sadako Ogata and Amartya Sen, focused on the need to protect and empower people at the individual level and called for the integration of fragmented international responses to humanitarian and developmental concerns, thus endeavoring to complement conventional "state security" with "human security." The Commission's report, Human Security Now, was submitted to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in May 2003 and made a number of significant recommendations to the international community, such as the creation of a "post-conflict transition fund," the establishment of an international system to deal with the movement of people and the adoption of a policy to ensure a "social minimum."

Japan has fully supported the conclusions of the Commission, and has incorporated the concept of human security into its foreign policy, and has made the concept of human security one of the main pillars of its foreign policy. In addition, Japan established the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security in 1999, and has contributed more than US$227 million to the Fund in order to follow up the conclusions of the Commission. The Fund is devoted to the creation and implementation of innovative human security projects that can not be realized by relying on existing international resources alone.

For more information:
Japanese Foreign Ministry:
Commission on Human Security: other site

ODA by DAC Countries Total Assistance net disbursement basis
(DAC document, 2002)

Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction

The Commission on Human Security concludes that poverty continues to be a major challenge to the international community and one of the root causes of violent conflict. Japan, as part of its development philosophy, attaches much importance to "partnership" among stakeholders such as civil organizations and developed countries, as well as to "ownership" on the part of developing countries. Japan also acknowledges the vital role of economic growth in achieving sustainable poverty reduction.

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Meeting the Millennium Development Goals

Japan is striving to help make the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) a reality. Areas of particular emphasis by Japan include education, infectious disease control, the environment and water and sanitation.

Japan's Contribution in the Education Sector (Share of DAC total) Based on pledges of assistance made in 2002


  • In accordance with the Basic Education for Growth Initiative (BEGIN) undertaken in June 2002, Japan is strengthening its support for basic education in developing countries.
  • Key areas of focus include elimination of gender discrimination, promotion of adult literacy and improvement of educational quality and administration.
Japan's Contribution to the Health Sector (share of DAC total), based on pledges of assistance made in 2002

Infectious Disease Control

  • As announced in the Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative of 2000, Japan considers combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, polio and other infectious diseases as a central issue for development.
  • To date, the Initiative has resulted in disbursement of more than US$2 billion in assistance. Japan is also cooperating actively with international organizations to combat infectious diseases on a regional and global scale.
Japan's Contribution in the Water and Sanitation Sector (Share of DAC total) Based on pledges of assistance made in 2002

Water and Sanitation

  • For the past three years, Japan has provided about a third of the nearly US$3 billion in ODA contributed annually worldwide for drinking water and sanitation.
  • The Initiative for Japan's ODA on Water of 2003 includes the establishment of a JPY16 billion program of grant aid for water resources, the introduction of a low-interest yen loan program for sewer construction and support for the training of approximately 1,000 people in the field of water supply and sanitation over the next five years.
Japan's unique initiative to address African Challenges under the TICAD
Japan has been at the forefront in advocating African issues since 1993 through its initiative entitled "Tokyo International Conference on Africa" (TICAD). This process has made a unique contribution to development theory and practice by virtue of its emphasis on African ownership and partnership with the international community and fostering Asia-Africa cooperation. In the TICAD process, Japan has implemented broad-range assistance to Africa based on the three pillars, namely, consolidation of peace, poverty reduction through economic growth, and human-centered development. At TICAD III (2003), Japan pledged a total of US $1 billion in grant aid, over five years for health and medical care, water, education, food, and other, out of which US$300 million has already been disbursed. Japan will also hold the TICAD Asia-Africa Trade and Investment Conference on November 1-2 to enhance African development through the promotion of trade and investment.

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