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UPDATED: 10:42, September 24, 2004
Japan not qualified to be a permanent member of the Security Council: S.Korean newspaper
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The Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean Newspaper published an editorial Thursday. It reads:

Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro said before the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday: "Japan has the intention and capability to play a major role in international peace and stability... The role Japan has played in the international community is becoming firm ground for Japan's claims to become a permanent member of the Security Council." Japan even issued a joint statement along with other Security Council hopefuls Germany, Brazil and India in which the four pledged their support for one another candidacy.

The provision concerning the permanent members of Security Council is something that arose from the lessons learned from the impotence of the League of Nations after World War One; based on the idea of "one country, one vote," the League failed to reflect the realistic dynamics of world politics. As the reality today is much different from the world 60 years ago when the U.N. was founded, the U.N. must include that changed reality, and this is the justification behind Security Council reform.

In fact, Japan's US$2.8 million in U.N. dues this year were second only to the US$3.63 million contributed by the United States, and were more than the US$2.2 million contributed by the other four permanent members of the Security Council combined. Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) spends US$10 billion annually in foreign aid, second only to the United States, and gives much financial support to U.N. peacekeeping activities. Nevertheless, it would be hard to say today that Japan is sufficiently qualified to become a permanent member of Security Council. It's true that the current permanent members -- the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain and France -- secured their spots by winning World War Two. It's not quite a simple matter of being victors, however, because in the background was the moral justification that World War Two was a just war fought against the global evil of fascism, and the permanent members led the victory of good in that showdown between good and evil.

Ultimately, in judging Japan's qualifications for permanent membership on the Security Council, one mustn't consider just its national power and financial contributions to the U.N., but also is ethical attitude. When asked whether Japan has the ethical standing required, however, not only the nations victimized in the wars started by Japan in the previous century, but also a large number of Japanese citizens themselves might find it difficult to agree that it does. Evidence is provided by Prime Minister Koizumi's shameless visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, where World War Two Class A war criminals are enshrined, and his attempts to rationalize those visits as Japanese tradition or custom, with no regard for the criticism of neighboring countries.

Even if Japan is playing a leading role in world politics and for this it needs a permanent seat at the Security Council, the rational order of things would be for it to create and pass through an environment in which those nations that were victimized by Japan can say, in order to better reflect the realities of the UN and Japan's ethical rebirth, "Now is the time for Japan to claim its own."

Source: Agencies

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