U.S. State Department Geographic Bureaus: East Asia and Pacific Bureau

Japan and the United Nations

Fact sheet released by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs,
U.S. Department of State, July 31, 1997.

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Since joining the United Nations in 1956, Japan has assumed an increasingly important and constructive role in UN activities. Japan has been elected more than seven times to two-year terms on the UN Security Council. Japan is the second largest financial supporter of the UN after the United States, shouldering an assessment rate of 12.5% of the UN regular budget. Japanese nationals, such as High Commissioner for Refugees Ogata and Transitional Authority in Cambodia head Akashi, have served with distinction in the United Nations.

Seeking to play a broader international role commensurate with its economic capabilities and political interests, Japan has expressed interest in securing a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The U.S. has publicly supported Japan's eventual assumption of a UN Security Council permanent seat since 1972. Since 1992, UN members have had on-going consultations regarding the question of Security Council composition and the status of Japan as a permanent member.

Consistent with its interest in playing an expanded international role, Japan is moving toward a higher financial and personnel profile in international peacekeeping. Passage in Japan of a UN peacekeeping law in 1992 established a framework for such activities.

Since 1992, Japan has dispatched about 600 peacekeeping troops to the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia in its first deployment of forces abroad since 1945. Tokyo also dispatched about 50 military transportation logistics specialists to join a UN peacekeeping operation in Mozambique. Japan contributed $100 million to a UN Fund for Somalia and worked closely with the United States to craft the resolutions which underlay UN operations in Somalia.

The United States welcomes Japan's broadening role in the United Nations, including its financial, leadership, and personnel contributions to peacekeeping efforts around the world.

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