‘Russia is Infringing the Rule of Law,’ Japan PM Fumio Kishida Says in Speech at U.N. General Assembly (UPDATE 1)

Yuki Kurose / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivers a General Debate speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

NEW YORK — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday condemned Russia for its continuing aggression against Ukraine, saying Moscow is “infringing upon international law and the rule of law,” in a speech delivered at the United Nations General Assembly.

“Unilateral changes to the status quo by force or coercion are unacceptable anywhere in the world,” he said.

During his speech, Kishida insisted on the need for U.N. reform in order to achieve a world that cares for human dignity.

Against a background in which the U.N. Security Council has become dysfunctional due to the use of veto power by permanent members Russia and China, Kishida stressed the importance of curbing the use of such vetoes. He also suggested expanding the number of permanent and non-permanent members of the council.

Kishida reiterated that Russia had violated the principles of the U.N. Charter that respect sovereign equality and territorial integrity, adding that the situation in Ukraine “must be rectified as soon as possible, and the nuclear threat must be ended.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a food crisis in the so-called Global South of emerging and developing countries, prompting the Japanese leader to call for cooperation among countries to tackle the issue. “Supporting vulnerable people in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere is essential,” he said.

With the aim of working toward a world free of nuclear weapons, Kishida said, “We must crystalize the nuclear disarmament trend, which has been successfully ‘mainstreamed’ thanks to the efforts of our predecessors.”

To enhance such momentum, Kishida announced that Japan would contribute ¥3 billion to overseas research institutes and think tanks that work toward a “world without nuclear weapons.”

He also said Japan would promote discussions between nuclear powers and nonnuclear powers, saying, “Having nuclear-weapon states engage in concrete nuclear disarmament measures is key.”