Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Takashi Arimoto

【#1073】Get Angry with Dysfunctional U.N. Security Council

Takashi Arimoto / 2023.09.27 (Wed)

September 25, 2023

Japan is the third largest contributor to the United Nations after the United States and China. Russia is not even among the Top 10 contributors. Nevertheless, the U.N. is completely dysfunctional partly due to aggression against Ukraine by Russia, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

In his address to the U.N. General Assembly on September 19, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida criticized Russia for “infringing upon international law and the rule of law." Was this enough? Kishida also emphasized that “having nuclear-weapon states engage in concrete nuclear disarmament measures is key” and called for creating “a United Nations for cooperation." Such remarks do not resonate with people who look at the real world.

Advocate abolishing veto power

“Initiatives to limit the use of the veto […] will strengthen and restore confidence in the Security Council,” Kishida said, reflecting the current situation where the Security Council has been dysfunctional due to the exercise of veto power by Russia and China. He also said that Japan supports “the need to expand both the permanent and non-permanent membership of the council.”

If he says so, Kishida should have advocated more specific Security Council reform measures, such as the rejection of permanent members’ use of the veto, the abolition of the framework of permanent and non-permanent members, the expansion of the council to include Global South countries that would better reflect the realities of the world.

Given that the U.S., Japan’s only ally, is a permanent member of the Security Council, we are well aware that the reform of the Security Council would not be easy. Still, as the era of power politics where countries take advantage of their military power to pursue national interests has come again, Japan’s role might be to show initiative, without being overwhelmed by inertia, in a fundamental reform of the U.N. towards the 80th anniversary of the organization in 2025.

What are purposes of a 3-billion-yen contribution?

“To set in stone the trend of ‘mainstreaming’ nuclear disarmament,” Kishida said, “Japan will contribute 3 billion yen to newly establish ‘Japan Chair for a world without nuclear weapons’ at overseas research institutes and think tanks.”

Does such contribution make any sense? The Ukraine crisis indicates that what Kishida terms dialogue between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states will not make progress. He should abandon the illusion that peace comes from talks. Rather, what is required of Japan is to strengthen deterrence so as not to succumb to the threat of using nuclear weapons.

Japan is now required to break away from “pacifism” of merely talking about ideals, and declare its determination to become a fortress that protects freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

Takashi Arimoto is a Planning Committee member at the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals and publisher of Monthly Magazine SEIRON at the Sankei Shimbun newspaper.