Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida calls for U.N. reform in General Assembly speech

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivers a speech at a U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York on Tuesday.

NEW YORK — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for reform of the United Nations in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Tuesday night, stressing that the foundations of the international order have been severely shaken by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This is the first in-person speech by a Japanese prime minister at the assembly since former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke in 2019.

Kishida severely criticized Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and called for the restoration of the rules-based international order. “[Russia’s invasion of Ukraine] tramples on the principles and fundamentals of the U.N. Charter. This is never acceptable,” the prime minister said.

The U.N. Security Council has been criticized as dysfunctional, for such reasons as the vetoes exercised by permanent members China and Russia regarding the Russian invasion.

Expressing Japan’s desire to realize the principles of the U.N. Charter in reforming the Security Council, Kishida called on other U.N. members to start detailed negotiations for that purpose.

Kishida, whose constituency is located in Hiroshima City, also spoke about the abolition of nuclear weapons, a goal to which he is strongly committed.

“[Japan] will promote realistic efforts with a historic mission as the only atomic-bombed country,” he said.

“Nagasaki must be the last place to suffer an atomic attack,” Kishida said.

Japan will become a nonpermanent member of the Security Council from January next year.

“I will act to strengthen the rule of law while listening to small voices, too,” Kishida said.