Monday, September 27, 2010

Japan Calls for Security Council Reform

Japan Underscoring the centrality of the United Nations in promoting peace and prosperity, Japan’s leader stressed last week that the Security Council must be reformed to reflect the international community’s current realities.  “Ensuring a functional UN that is capable of effectively addressing diverse global issues is of the utmost importance,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate, which entered its second day today.  Member States, he said, must take proactive steps to promote the world body’s reform, while the UN, for its part, must ensure its own transparency and accountability.

Mr. Kan pointed to the creation of UN Women – or the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – as a “test case for the promotion of effective and efficient activities” of the world body. Created by the Assembly on 2 July, UN Women, headed by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, will oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights and their full participation in global affairs.  UN Women is the merger of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).

The Japanese Prime Minister underscored the key role played by the Security Council in helping the UN resolve global challenges, calling its reform “indispensable.”  His country, he said, as the only country that has ever been devastated by atomic bombings and does not possess nuclear weapons, is “well-suited to play a role in the Security Council in the 21st century.”

Mr. Kan underscored “Japan’s determined aspiration to take on further responsibilities for international peace and security as a permanent member” of the Council.  In his address, he also urged stepped-up will and action in the arena of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, pointing to recent strides, including Ban Ki-moon’s visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, making him the first Secretary-General to take part in the event.  “Japan bears a responsibility to all humankind to hand down to future generations an awareness of the catastrophic nature of nuclear weapons,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the country will coordinate with other countries to promote education on disarmament and non-proliferation.

On the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), he said that the country’s nuclear and missile development programmes are a threat to the entire world, calling on it to take measures in line with relevant Council resolutions and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, involving China, DPRK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.  Under that September 2005 agreement, referring to the September 2005 agreement in which the DPRK committed itself to abandon nuclear weapons and rejoin the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  Japan continues to endeavour to normalize relations with the DPRK, and towards that end, “it is absolutely indispensable to resolve the abduction issue,” Mr. Kan stressed, referring to the abduction of Japanese citizens in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  “If the DPRK takes constructive and sincere steps such as implementing its agreement with Japan, Japan is ready to respond in kind,” he said.

(From a UN Press Release)

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