Kishida calls for negotiations to be started on UN Security Council reform

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has called for talks to begin on reforming the United Nations Security Council in a speech at the UN General Assembly.

Kishida delivered his address at the world body's headquarters in New York on Tuesday.

The prime minister started out by saying that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has shaken the foundation of world order, which the UN has worked to build since its establishment. He called the invasion an act that tramples on the philosophy and principles of the UN Charter.

Kishida noted that the attacks by Russia, a permanent Security Council member, have also put the credibility of the council at stake.

The prime minister said it is time to return to the UN ideals and principles and to gather power and wisdom. He said that in order to do so, it is necessary to reform the UN and strengthen its functions.

Kishida said text-based negotiations must be begun to reform the Security Council, which has often been described as dysfunctional.

The prime minister stressed the importance of the rule of law, and pledged efforts to enhance it when Japan becomes a non-permanent council member from January.

He also said the coronavirus pandemic and inflation have threatened the safety of many people. He added Japan will work with the UN to achieve human security.

Kishida expressed disappointment over the outcome of the recent review conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It failed to adopt a final document due to opposition from Russia.

Still, Kishida said he has not given up. As the only country to have suffered atomic bombings, he said Japan will proceed with a historical sense of mission to realize a world without nuclear weapons.

The prime minister noted that 20 years have passed since North Korea admitted to abducting Japanese nationals. He said there is no change to Japan's policy of aiming to comprehensively resolve outstanding issues, including the abductions and nuclear and missile programs. He reiterated his willingness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without preconditions.

Kishida wrapped up his speech by saying Japan is maintaining high hopes for the UN at a time when the world stands at a crossroads in history. He said that his country will move forward in strengthening the UN with the conviction that even as times change, the world body's ideals and principles will remain the same.