Japan PM to push for permanent seat at UN Security Council

Japan PM to push for permanent seat at UN Security Council

Japanese Prime Minister Abe wants to reform the Security Council and will address the UN General Assembly’s annual meeting this week looking to win permanent status.

TOKYO (Channel News Asia): Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will this week front the global stage at the United Nations General Assembly’s annual meeting and push further for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

This would give Japan veto power, a privilege China in particular is unwilling to accept.

“The UN Charter says the five permanent members including China have to consent to the reform of the Security Council,” said Masashi Nishihara, president of the Research Institute for Peace and Security. “Also, two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly would have to give their support so these two are big hurdles.”

Mr Abe aims to reconfirm his commitment with India, Brazil, and Germany – countries that are also keen on winning a permanent seat – and is also expected to hold group summit meetings with Pacific Island and African leaders to try to win their support.

“They are many things that the UN has to tackle, many issues that world leaders have to tackle today. So I don’t know whether they have sufficiently filled their time to discuss the problems of the Security Council,” said Mr Nishihara.

High on the agenda of the General Assembly is how to bring the international community together to deal with the Islamic State (IS) and the Ebola epidemic outbreak.

Mr Abe wants to contribute to both but is expected to be restricted to assistance in the form of financial aid. There are still military restrictions on what he can do to assist the US and other countries in Syria and Iraq as Japan is bound by a pacifist constitution. He has approved its reinterpretation in order to contribute more to global security challenges but has yet to legislate bills.

The UN’s Climate Change Summit will present another opportunity for Mr Abe to underscore Japan’s commitment to being a global citizen.

As a victim of massive earthquake, tsunamis and typhoons, the country is keen to assist developing nations on disaster mitigation. Mr Abe will co-chair a disaster risk reduction summit and pledge financial aid to fighting climate change.

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