Japan and the United Nations
|United Nations membership|
Japan holds many international cooperations within the United Nations as a basic principle of its foreign policy. When Japan joined the UN in 1956, it did so with great enthusiasm and broad public support, for the international organization was seen to embody the pacified country's hopes for a peaceful world order. Membership was welcomed by many Japanese who saw the UN as a guarantor of a policy of unarmed neutrality for their nation, in addition to the security arrangement they concluded with US in 1951. To others, support for the UN would be useful in masking or diluting Japan's almost total dependence on the United States for its security. The government saw the UN as an ideal arena for its risk minimizing, omnidirectional foreign policy.
Japan's role in the UN
After the late 1950s, Japan participated actively in the social and economic activities of the UN's various specialized agencies and other international organizations concerned with social, cultural, and economic improvement. During the 1970s, as it attained the status of an economic superpower, Japan was called on to play an increasingly large role in the UN. As Japan's role increased and its contributions to UN socioeconomic development activities grew, many Japanese began to ask whether their country was being given an international position of responsibility commensurate with its economic power. There was even some sentiment, expressed as early as 1973, that Japan should be given a permanent seat on the UN Security Council with the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France, and China.
UN peacekeeping efforts
By 1990 Japan's international cooperation efforts had reached a new level of involvement and activism. Japan contributed about 11 percent of the regular UN budget, second only to the United States, which contributed 25 percent. Japan was particularly active in UN peacekeeping activities and in 1989, for the first time, sent officials to observe and participate in UN peacekeeping efforts (in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Namibia). Japan sent a small team to observe the February 1990 elections in Nicaragua. In 1992-93 Japan led UN supervision of the peace process and elections in Cambodia, providing approximately 2,000 people, which included members of the SDF.
Reform of the UNSC
As of 2005, Japan is again a strong advocate of a Reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), in a joint campaign with Germany, India, and Brazil. All four nations strive to gain a permanent seat in the chamber. While the United States strongly backs Japan's candidacy, it faces strong resistance by the People's Republic of China.
In addition to its UN activities and its participation in Asian regional groupings, such as the Colombo Plan and the Asian Development Bank, Japan is also involved, beginning in the 1950s, in worldwide economic groupings largely made up of, or dominated by, the industrialized nations of Western Europe and North America. In 1952 Japan became a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and of the World Bank, where it played an increasingly important role. In 1955, it joined the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In 1966 Japan was admitted to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which brought it into what was essentially a club of leading industrialized nations. Japan has participated actively since 1975 in the annual summit meetings of the seven largest capitalist countries, the Group of Seven, or G8, since Russia joined after the end of the Cold War.
- United Nations University in Tokyo
- Aiichiro Fujiyama headed Japan's first delegation to the United Nations in 1957 as Japan's foreign minister (1957–60)
- Japanese Peace Bell
- Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan - Japan and the United Nations