[EDITORIALS]Keep Japan off the councilJapan is trying to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. On Tuesday, the Japanese media reported that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi would announce Japan’s intentions in a speech on Sept. 21 at the UN.
In light of the end of the Cold War and the growing membership of the UN, which has ballooned from 51 to 191 member nations, there should be some sort of reform in order to reflect those changes.
The UN functions that have been dominated by the five permanent members of the Security Council need to be improved so the body can cope with today’s environment.
There are many different opinions about the enlargement of the permanent membership of the Security Council. Because the current Security Council permanent members reflect the international power structure of the past and lack a representation from all continents, there is an argument that a country representing the third world, a developing nation, or a smaller country should be included permanently on the council.
Japan says that because of its contributions to international society and the proportion of the UN budget that it shoulders, it should be a permanent council member. As U.S. dependence on Japan grows, Japan pushes increasingly for that argument.
But Japan is a country that committed war crimes during World War II and is a country that forbids collective self-defense and maintains a peace constitution. Becoming a permanent Security Council member would require a change in the Japanese constitution. This also means that the UN’s pronouncement that Japan is a war crimes country has to be changed also.
We do not oppose Japan becoming a normal country. If Japan wants to become a Security Council member, it has to apologize to many nations for its actions during its imperial days. It has to reflect on its conduct and then take proper action.
Japan has, at every opportunity, tried to hide the truth about its history while it has denied and ignored crimes such as the comfort women issue. Recently, its prime ministers have made regular visits to the Yasukuni Shrine where war criminals are buried. How can such a country try to become an international leader? Japan should consider whether it really wants to become friends with its neighbors in Asia.