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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Press conference by JAPAN'S FOREIGN MINISTER

Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

2 May 2005

The current makeup of the United Nations Security Council, consisting of five permanent members with veto powers and 10 non-permanent two-year seats, failed to truly reflect today’s global reality, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura told correspondents at a Headquarters briefing on Friday.

He noted, for example, that none of the Organization’s African Member States had permanent representation on the Council, even though their issues accounted for over half of its work. The Council must more closely align itself with today’s world, so that it could more easily fulfil its role and implement its decisions, said Mr. Machimura, who was joined by Kenzo Oshima, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, and Hatsuhisa Takashima, Spokesman for Japan’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Speaking after attending one of the ongoing Headquarters meetings on United Nations reform, he said he had explained Japan’s position on the Security Council, development, peace, and non-proliferation. His country was now preparing the framework of a resolution on reform issues with three other countries it had joined with in seeking a permanent Council seat -- India, Germany and Brazil.

Asked by a correspondent about his position on the right to veto within the Council, Mr. Machimura said any new permanent members should have the same rights as existing ones. However, the veto issue should not be used to avoid realizing Council or United Nations reform as a whole, which should be considered as a package deal.

Another journalist questioned whether Japan was perhaps trying to buy itself a permanent Council seat through its substantial financial contributions in support of United Nations projects. Mr. Machimura replied that his country had contributed to the United Nations and bilaterally to promote and maintain peace since the end of the Second World War II -- prior to and since its bid for a permanent seat.

Responding to another query about the opposition of China and the Republic of Korea to his country’s campaign for a permanent Council seat, he said such sentiments were understandable since Japan had colonized one of those nations and taken military action against the other. But Japan took the issue seriously, and had stressed its peaceful outlook to those nations on such occasions as the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the African Asian Summit last week.

As for their opposition to Japan’s candidacy for a permanent Council seat, no official statements had actually been made by the two countries in that regard, and he was fully confident that Japan could gain their understanding by continuing to hold dialogue with them.

Questioned by another correspondent whether Japan had been mistaken to join up with three other nations in pursuing its Council seat, rather than acting alone, he said the four countries had been consulting with one another closely on how to proceed with United Nations reform, relying on their combined strength to achieve that goal. It was no mistake that they had teamed up, and it was even possible in the future that African countries would join the group.

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