August 25, 2004
The prime minister will announce Japan's desire at the U.N. on Sept. 21.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will tell the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 21 that Japan seeks a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council (UNSC)-but will not amend the pacifist Constitution as urged by Washington.
``Reform (of the UNSC) is now a big issue for the reform of the United Nations,'' Koizumi told reporters Tuesday. ``We want to take advantage of the opportunity in a good way. I want to express Japan's view that there could be another permanent UNSC member of a different type-and that is Japan.'' Japan has long sought permanent membership, but Koizumi has yet to directly express Tokyo's desire at the United Nations.
One problem raised by the United States is Article 9 of the Constitution, which prohibits the use of force to settle international disputes. There is a possibility that permanent UNSC members will be required to use force to settle such conflicts.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage, have said Japan should review Article 9 if it wants permanent membership. Armitage even said Article 9 is hindering the Japan-U.S. alliance.
Koizumi, in fact, had taken a cautious stance toward seeking a permanent UNSC seat under the current Constitution. In his speech at the U.N. General Assembly in September 2002, Koizumi said it was necessary to reform the UNSC. He did not express Japan's desire to become a permanent member. However, Koizumi apparently changed his stance in light of the international contributions of the Self-Defense Forces, including rebuilding efforts in Iraq, under the current Constitution.
Asked whether Japan can actually become a permanent UNSC member, the prime minister said, ``There is a good chance, but it is a difficult issue because other countries have their own views.''
Despite the U.S. push to revise Article 9, Washington appears to be in Japan's corner. "We made inquiries and clearly confirmed that the United States is supporting Japan's membership of the UNSC without any prior conditions,'' Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said Tuesday.
Permanent members on the Security Council have veto power. The UNSC directs various peacekeeping forces deployed around the world.
More Information on Security Council Reform
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