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2014年9月29日 (月)

首相国連演説 常任理事国へ戦略的に挑め

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan should make strategic efforts to become permanent UNSC member
首相国連演説 常任理事国へ戦略的に挑め

Reforming the U.N. Security Council is a daunting task due to the tangled web of vested interests among the countries concerned. Japan, which holds the United Nations in high esteem, must take the lead in revamping the Security Council.

In a speech delivered at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: “It is my wish, with the 70th anniversary [of the U.N.’s inception next year] as a turning point, countries sharing the same aims all work together to finally resolve a long-standing issue to reform the U.N. in a way that reflects the realities of the 21st century. In that context, Japan seeks to become a permanent member of the Security Council.”

The U.N. Security Council often renders itself dysfunctional as a result of the conflict among permanent members with veto power — the United States, Britain, France on one side, and Russia and China on the other — thus failing to deal effectively with international disputes.

Matters related to Ukraine, including Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, are a case in point. The United States organized a coalition of “willing countries” to launch air strikes on the Islamic State, as there is a limit to what the Security Council can do.

Only one permanent seat on the Security Council has been held by an Asian country, and only a few slots for non-permanent membership on the council are allocated to Asia and Africa despite the fact that the regions have numerous U.N. members and large populations. Restoring the functionality of the Security Council by rectifying the regional disparity has been a key challenge for many years.

The Group of Four (G-4) nations vying to become permanent members — Japan, Germany, India and Brazil — held foreign ministerial talks recently in New York, issuing a joint communique seeking support of all U.N. members for realizing Security Council reform next year.

In 2005, the G-4 submitted a resolution seeking to increase the number of permanent and nonpermanent members, but it was rejected in the face of opposition from China and the United States. It is essential for the G-4 to learn from this experience and strategically forge cooperation with Africa, which holds a large number of votes, while trying to win a certain level of acceptance for its plan from the United States and China.

Increasing global influence

As a nation aiming for permanent membership, Japan must make further efforts to contribute to the world.

“In the future, we intend to cultivate still further our human resources in terms of both quan-tity and quality, to contribute to the area of peace-building,” Abe said in his speech. In line with this, Japan must focus its contributions on the areas of conflict prevention and reconstruction efforts across the world.

The prime minister also indicated that Japan would emphasize the empowerment of women in providing foreign aid.

“The 20th century had a history of profound harm to women’s honor and dignity when conflicts broke out,” Abe said. “Japan will stand at the fore and lead the international community in eliminating sexual violence during conflicts.”

In making these remarks, Abe apparently had in mind the smearing of Japan’s reputation by China and South Korea over the issue of so-called military comfort women. It is critical for Japan to use its knowledge in the education, health and medical fields to support the self-reliance of women around the world. In cooperation with the United Nations, Japan should make continued efforts in this regard.

Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Abe firmly said, “Our pledge never to wage war is something that will be handed down and fostered by the Japanese people for generation upon generation to come.”

It is important for this country to inform the world about its history as a pacifist nation and deepen the understanding of Japan in the international community.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 27, 2014)Speech


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