Make efforts to restore functions of Security Council


There has never been a time when the raison d’etre of the United Nations has been questioned as it is now. Japan should take the lead in efforts to restore the international order.

Speeches at the U.N. General Assembly session have begun. This is the first in-person meeting of the General Assembly in three years.

The U.N. Charter states that the permanent members of the Security Council bear “the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Despite this, Russia unilaterally invaded Ukraine. Inflation is rising around the world, and many developing countries are suffering from food crises.

In his speech, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for solidarity, saying, “By acting as one, we can nurture fragile shoots of hope.”

The U.N.’s failure to stop Russia’s barbaric actions has highlighted its lack of strength. However, Russia is solely to blame for the Security Council becoming dysfunctional. China, which has drawn a line between itself and the international community and effectively allowed the Russian aggression, also bears a heavy responsibility.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, in his speech at the General Assembly meeting, criticized the Russian aggression as “an act that tramples on the vision and principles of the U.N. Charter.” Kishida stressed the importance of Security Council reform and expressed his desire for Japan to work with other countries to develop agendas in this regard. “The time has come to start text-based negotiations,” he said.

Regarding Security Council reform, Japan, Germany, Brazil and India jointly presented a resolution to seek to enlarge the Security Council framework in 2005, but opposition from other nations, including the United States, China and South Korea, prevented a vote on the resolution.

Persistent efforts are essential to make use of lessons learned from this failure and increase the number of countries that support reform.

In February, Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning its invasion of Ukraine. China abstained. In response, the United Nations held an emergency special session of the General Assembly and adopted a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops.

The resolution adopted at the General Assembly is not legally binding. However, it can be said to have played a certain role in shaping international public opinion on the issue.

How to utilize the General Assembly in place of the Security Council will also be an important issue to consider.

Japan, which will become a nonpermanent member of the Security Council from next year, must devise ways to come up with concrete plans for reform.

For Japan to have a bigger voice, it is necessary to actively cooperate in infrastructure development in developing countries.

Next year, the government will revise for the first time in eight years its Development Cooperation Charter, the guidelines for Japan’s official development assistance (ODA). Japan’s ODA contributions have been decreasing. The government must establish a system to provide strategic support by carefully identifying the infrastructure needed by aid recipients.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 22, 2022)