Japan won a two-year term on the UN Security Council, and hopes to prove that it deserves a permanent seat on the powerful body as the issue of UN reform takes center stage next year.
Argentina, Denmark, Greece and Tanzania were also elected on Friday as nonpermanent members -- all committed to enlarging the 15-member coun-cil, but without the same open ambition as Japan to make their two-year stints permanent.
"It is unprecedented that the sort of momentum for seeking the reform of the Security Council is very, very great at this moment, and the fact that Japan comes into the Security Council as a non-permanent member has a special meaning," said Japan's UN Ambassador Koichi Haraguchi.
"The people will look at the behavior of Japan, even if it's this time not a permanent member," he said. "They regard Japan as a country who has a very strong hope to serve in the Security Council as a new permanent member ... So we will continue to keep that in mind and do as much as possible to live up to the ... expectation."
Calling it "a big day for us," Haraguchi said Japan is already "very heavily involved" in key issues before the council including Iraq, Afghanistan and African conflicts, and will remain involved. Japan will also focus on "the so-called new threats and and new challenges ... which require a lot of creative thinking" including the prevention of terrorism and weapons proliferation, he said.
While some elections for Security Council seats are hotly contested battles, Friday's election by the 191 members of the UN General Assembly rubber-stamped the candidates selected months ago by regional groups.
In the secret ballot, Argentina received 188 votes, Greece 187, Tanzania 186, Japan 184 and Denmark 181.
When the five countries take their seats on Jan. 1, the complexion of the council will change. The departure of Pakistan -- along with Angola, Chile, Germany and Spain -- means the council will lose one of its two Muslim nations, leaving just Algeria to represent Islamic nations.
"That's why we are asking that Islamic countries should be more equitably represented in an enlarged council," said Pakistan's UN Ambassador Munir Akram.
The five permanent members -- the US, Britain, France, Russia and China -- are the only ones with veto power.
While reform of the Security Council is the subject of intense discussion, the decision will be made by the General Assembly, though it must be ratified by the permanent Council members.
While there is widespread support among all UN member states to expand the Security Council to reflect the geopolitical realities of the 21st century, there is no agreement on how large it should be, which countries should get seats, whether the new seats should be permanent or temporary, and which members should have veto power.
"Everybody said there is a necessity to reform," General Assembly President Jean Ping told a news conference Friday. "The problem is how and which type of reforms."
"But it's moving fast, moving," he said, when asked about prospects for agreement.
At last month's General Assembly ministerial meeting, the leaders of Japan, Germany, Brazil and India agreed to support each other's candidacies for permanent seats.
WHEELING AND DEALING? Hou You-yi, Ko Wen-je, Eric Chu and Ma Ying-jeou are under investigation for allegedly offering bribes for the other side to drop out of the race Taipei prosecutors have started an investigation into allegations that four top politicians involved in attempts to form a “blue-white” presidential ticket have contravened election regulations. Listed as defendants are Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the KMT and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). The case stemmed from judicial complaints filed last month with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office alleging that the KMT (blue) and the TPP (white) had engaged in bribery by offering money or other enticements
COUNTER DISINFORMATION: More engagement and media literacy are needed to push back against misinformation and claims that the US is an unreliable partner, the AIT director said The US is “confident” that Taiwan does not face an imminent threat of a Chinese invasion, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk told a US public radio show, adding that Washington remains committed to defensively arming the nation. She made the comment during an interview on All Things Considered, broadcast on Friday on US-based National Public Radio. “There is an important distinction between making plans and training troops, and getting ready to do something,” Oudkirk said, on whether she thinks Beijing plans to attack Taiwan in the near future. Chinese officials have told Washington that “their preference is for peaceful reunification,
EXPOSED: Some Taipei wardens reported joining the trips out of peer pressure, while others said they were relieved it was made public so they could refuse, a city councilor said Nearly 30 percent of Taipei borough wardens have joined group tours to China that were partially funded by the Chinese government, leading prosecutors probing potential Chinese interference in January’s elections to question local officials, an investigation showed. Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City councilors Chien Shu-pei (簡舒培) and Chen E-jun (陳怡君) have reported cases of Taipei borough wardens inviting residents to join inexpensive privately organized group tours to China that were partially funded by the Chinese government. The six-day trips reportedly cost NT$10,000 to NT$15,000, the councilors said. An investigation by the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) showed that nearly 30 percent
ELIGIBLE FOR JANUARY: All presidential candidates and their running mates meet the requirements to run for office, and none hold dual citizenship, the CEC said Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator and vice presidential candidate Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) is working with the Central Election Commission (CEC) to resolve issues with her financial disclosure statement, a spokesman for the candidate said yesterday, after the commission published the statements of all three presidential candidates and their running mates, while confirming their eligibility to run in the Jan. 13 election. Wu’s office spokesman, Chen Yu-cheng (陳宥丞), said the candidate encountered unforeseen difficulties disclosing her husband’s finances due to being suddenly thrust into the campaign. She is also the first vice presidential nominee to have a foreign spouse, complicating the reporting of