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Japan becomes the New Non-Permanent Member of the U.N Security Council

Japan joined the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member on Sunday, i.e., January 1, 2023. Tokyo takes a non-permanent seat in the council and holds charge of ensuring peace and security in the international world order for a record 12th time since it became a member of the United Nations in 1956, following its previous 2016–2017 term.

Japan occupies the rotating monthly chair of the council for January. It has occupied the chair at a time when the fifteen-member council has failed to take effective steps against the invasion of Moscow in Ukraine and repeated ballistic missile launches by North Korea with the permanent members of Russia and China, who are the key benefactors of North Korea, exercising their veto power.

The five permanent members are nuclear powers, including the United States, France, and Britain. Japan has expressed its ambition to become a permanent member of a reformed security council, along with other countries like India, Brazil, and Germany.

The third-largest economy in the world won an annual election in June at the General Assembly, consisting of 193 countries, for five out of the 10 non-permanent seats of the Security Council, along with Ecuador, Switzerland, Mozambique, and Malta.

The Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, recently condemned the aggression of Russia in Ukraine, arguing that Russia, as one of the five veto-wielding permanent security council members, is attempting to break the international order. Kishida vowed that Japan, as a non-permanent member, would try to play the role of advancing reforms to restore the functions of the United Nations.

In a speech at the General Assembly in New York in September, Kishida said that Japan, as a member of the Security Council, intended to take action to strengthen the rule of law in the international community by listening to not only the big voices but also being attentive to the small voices.

An international politics professor, Takahiro Shinyo, at Kwansei Gakuin University, expressed that the ability of Japan to help stop “high-handedness” by Russia and China will be put to the test after Japan becomes a non-permanent council member. Shinyo, who once served as a member of the permanent mission of Japan to the United Nations and Ambassador to Germany, further said that Tokyo could advance discussions on Pyongyang’s security threats by calling emergency meetings.

For diplomacy in Japan, the year 2023 is important since the country will host a Group of Seven Summit in the western Japanese city of Hiroshima, which was devasted by the world’s first atomic bombing in the year 1945.