"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Statement by Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa at the United Nations Security Council Meeting at the Level of Heads of State and Government

[Place] New York
[Date] January 31, 1992
[Source] DIPLOMATIC BLUEBOOK 1992, Japan's Diplomatic Activities, pp. 399-405
[Full text]

Prime Minister Major, Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali, Your Majesty and Excellencies,

The year 1992 marks a point of departure toward a promising future for the United Nations. It is thus most appropriate that, for the first time in its history, the Security Council has convened a meeting of Heads of State and Government at the beginning of the year. I should like to convey my sincere respect to Prime Minister John Major for his exceptional leadership in making this Summit Meeting a reality.

I should also like to extend a heartfelt welcome to President Boris Yeltsin, who is present at the United Nations for the first time as the leader of the Russian Federation. The political and economic stability of the Federation is of great importance to the peace and stability of the entire world. I am confident that Russia will successfully discharge its awesome responsibilities, not only as a member of the United Nations, but also as a permanent member of the Security Council.

I also extend my warmest congratulations to Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali, who has assumed his new post amid growing expectations of the role to be played by the United Nations. I take this opportunity to express the firm determination of the Government of Japan to support him in all his endeavors.

(The Changing World and the United Nations)

Mr. President,

The Cold War that divided East and West throughout the postwar period has finally ended, and the world configuration is about to undergo epochal change. While the international situation in this post-Cold War era is highly fluid, it also presents abundant opportunities to build a new and peaceful world order. The precise shape of this new order is not yet clear, but all countries must join together to construct a new peace order appropriate to the new era, for the sake of the freedom and prosperity of humankind and the future of our planet.

At this time of transition, the United Nations has begun to play, both in theory and in practice, a central role in efforts to achieve and maintain world peace; expectations of the United Nations among the peoples of the world have reached new heights. Its role, and particularly that of the Security Council, during the Gulf Crisis remains vivid in our memory; U.N. involvement has been central to the attainment of peace in Central America, to the resolution of the conflict in Yugoslavia, and to the final phase of the Cambodian peace process.

U.N. Peace-keeping Operations have played a major role in ensuring world peace and security over the more than 40 years since the operation was first established. Their importance continues to grow, as reflected in the fact that five new Peace-keeping Operations were established in the last year alone. And in the Asia-Pacific region, the U .N. Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), soon to be established, will have a range of activities unprecedented in U.N. history. Clearly, more active cooperation by members of the United Nations will be needed in this area. Keenly aware of this need, Japan is now striving to make the necessary domestic arrangements to contribute personnel to Peace-keeping Operations. I will do my utmost to have the relevant legislation approved by the Japanese Diet during its current session, which commenced this month.

What are the issues confronting the United Nations today as it responds to expectations of the role it is to play in the attainment and maintenance of peace?

(Issues Confronting the U.N.)

Mr. President,

The major issues are, in my view, first, how will the United Nations adjust itself to the epochal changes; second, how will it improve its effectiveness in peace-keeping and peace-making efforts; and third, how can it secure a sound financial base that will enable it to carry out those efforts.

First of all, I believe that in securing a peaceful world order, the ideals and purposes of the U.N. Charter, which represent fundamental and universal values, will be of even greater relevance than ever before. It is incumbent upon Member States to strive constantly to ensure that each of these values is respected in practice. At the same time, it is also necessary for the United Nations to evolve while adapting to a changing world. For example, certain sections of the U.N. Charter are based on the realities prevailing in 1945, when the United Nations was founded, which predate even the Cold War. In addition, since the Security Council is at the center of U.N. efforts to maintain international peace and security, it is important to consider thoroughly ways to adjust its functions, composition, and other aspects so as to make it more reflective of the realities of the new era. This is a process in which Japan is prepared to take an active part.

Secondly, it is important to consider concrete measures to strengthen the functions of the U.N. so that it can work more effectively to secure a peaceful world order. The importance of peace-keeping activities does not need to be repeated here, but I should like to comment on the need to strengthen the functions of the U.N. in the area of conflict prevention. It is essential that the Secretary-General, who plays a crucial role in U.N.'s mediation efforts and good offices, be given sufficient information concerning tensions which could escalate into international conflicts. An important step in this direction was made last December with the adoption by the General Assembly of the declaration, proposed and cosponsored by Japan and other countries, on U.N. fact-finding in the maintenance of international peace and security. It would also be useful if countries with sophisticated information-gathering capabilities could provide, as appropriate, the Secretary-General with relevant information. I hope that this issue will receive due consideration.

Thirdly, a sound financial base is essential to enhancing the effectiveness of the United Nations and to ensuring that its various activities are conducted smoothly. As reported last autumn by then Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, the United Nations continues to be faced with critical financial difficulties. At the end of 1991, a total of approximately US$800 million in assessed contributions was still outstanding. If the United Nations is to play a central role in establishing a new and peaceful world order, serious efforts by all Member States are urgently required to resolve this issue. Peace-keeping Operations are not immune to these difficulties. In particular, the availability of funds necessary for the start-up phase of a Peace-keeping Operation is essential to its smooth deployment .It is also important that States concerned, including those which would extend considerable financial support to the Peace-keeping Operations, become involved in consultations on its establishment from the earliest stage.

(Strengthening the Activities and Functions of the International Court of Justice)

I should add that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) also plays an important role in promoting the peaceful settlement of international conflicts. At this time, when strengthening the rule of law in international affairs should be an important element in the creation of a new and peaceful world order, it is necessary to make better use of the Court and to enhance its functions.

(Meeting the Challenges to all Humankind)

Mr. President,

The threat of military force has long been considered the primary threat to peace and security. While this threat seems to have subsided comparatively, humankind's economic and technological achievements have, ironically, given rise to a host of global environmental problems and other threats of non-military nature to human survival. The United Nations will consider global environmental problems at the Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) to be held in June. I would hope that this is just a beginning, and that the U.N. will hereafter address these new threats with the determination and effectiveness they demand.

The trend toward world peace that we are witnessing today will not endure unless the "dividends of peace" are shared by all, but especially by the peoples of the South who are beset with famine, poverty, disease, and other hardships. The serious efforts of the United Nations in addressing the North-South problem should contribute to world peace and stability. It is also necessary to extend appropriate assistance to the self-help efforts of developing countries. Those efforts, in turn, will foster respect for human rights and the spread of democracy, values shared by people in all parts of the world.

(Arms Control and Disarmament)

Mr. President,

In securing peace, the United Nations also has a tremendously important role to play in the field of arms control and disarmament. Japan has been actively contributing to strengthening the role of the U.N. in that field and has strongly supported the efforts of the countries concerned toward disarmament, particularly nuclear disarmament, with a view to attaining strategic stability at a lower level of armament. I welcome the disarmament proposals made very recently by President Bush and President Yeltsin. I sincerely hope that, through consultations between the United States and the Russian Federation, will lead to concrete results.

The dramatic changes in the international milieu have once again highlighted the importance of disarmament efforts, including those to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. I need not point out to those assembled here today that, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the birth of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the question of how to prevent the dissemination of these weapons, of their production facilities, and of related technologies is one of vital importance. I commend the leaders of the CIS for their determination to liberate their institutions from military domination, and I hope that they will continue to work to prevent the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction as well as related technologies.

The proliferation and transfer of weapons is a matter of concern to every member of the international community. Spurred by initiatives from Japan and the EC countries, last year the General Assembly formally adopted a resolution to establish the U.N. Register on Arms Transfers. I call upon the members of the Security Council to work together for the smooth implementation of this register. Steps to strengthen the regime of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and to conclude successfully negotiations this year on the convention of chemical weapons are also of major importance. It is incumbent upon the Security Council to be seized with the developments made in these areas.


Mr. President,

In the light of the circumstances I have just described, I should like to propose the following measures to render the United Nations more suited to the international situation of the 21st century.

First, looking ahead to 1995, when the United Nations will celebrate its 50th anniversary, I would like to propose that discussions be held within the Organization to ensure that it plays a central role in maintaining and strengthening the peaceful world order. These discussions should include a consideration of the functions and organizational structure of the United Nations.

Second, in order to secure the smooth functioning of Peace-keeping Operations, I would propose the creation, as necessary, of a consultative mechanism on their establishment, particularly the establishment of large-scale operations. This mechanism would be in the form of a consultative group of an appropriate size whose members would include countries which are major contributors of funds, among other things, as well as the countries concerned in the region. I would also emphasize the importance of securing sufficient funds for PKOs at their initial stage, and invite Member States to make voluntary contributions to the PKO Trust Fund in the U.N.

Third, I propose that concrete ways be sought to strengthen the role of the United Nations in facing non-military threats to the future security and prosperity of humankind, including those relating to the environment, refugees, and poverty. I would hope that the Secretary-General will bring these non-military threats to the attention of the relevant U.N. organs.

Fourth, in the area of arms control and disarmament, I propose that concrete measures be urgently considered for bolstering the efforts of the United Nations and the countries concerned to strengthen the control of and to prevent the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and to restrain the international transfer of conventional weapons.

Mr. President,

It is the responsibility of all the members of the international community to work for the maintenance of world peace. As we enter the 21st century, the Security Council and, indeed, every country in the world are required to face in earnest the problems which lie before us as we shape a new and peaceful world order. Having recently commenced its term as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Japan realizes that present circumstances confer upon it particularly weighty responsibilities. Japan earnestly embraces these responsibilities without reservation and, as envisaged in its Constitution, is determined to continue to extend maximum support to the United Nations in the name of international cooperation.

Thank you.