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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Ambassadors marshaled to ramp up UNSC seat bid

Staff writer

In a rare gathering Monday in Tokyo of almost all of the Japanese ambassadors stationed worldwide, Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura instructed them to step up efforts to solicit support for Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

The three-day meeting, attended by 116 out of the 122 current ambassadors, was held as Japan and three other nations prepare to submit a resolution in June that urges the U.N. to increase the number of Security Council member states.

It is the first time the Foreign Ministry has gathered so many of its ambassadors in a single meeting. Such meetings are usually held every year by region.

Machimura deemed it necessary for all ambassadors to "share Japan's goal of becoming a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council," a ministry official said.

Speaking at the outset of the meeting, Machimura said Japan, Brazil, India and Germany plan to present to the supporters of their bid a draft resolution to be submitted to the U.N. General Assembly in June. The draft will be disclosed at U.N. headquarters in New York on Monday.

"This is the day we will begin our full-scale action," Machimura said. "I hope you will make your utmost to persuade top government officials of each nation and gain support."

U.N. Secretary General Koji Annan wants U.N. member nations to decide by September between rival plans on how to enlarge the 15-member council.

During the meeting through Wednesday, ambassadors will assess the likely number of votes Japan will receive as a candidate for permanent membership on the Security Council, ministry officials said.

The ambassadors will also discuss the role of embassies in supporting Japanese businesses overseas and how to step up measures to explain Japan's diplomacy through the missions.

U.S. cool to veto power

NEW YORK (Kyodo) The United States has told four nations campaigning for permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council that it will not support their quest unless they give up asking for the veto power that the five current permanent members hold, The New York Times reported Sunday.

U.S. government officials were quoted by the newspaper as saying they object to giving veto power to the four countries -- Japan, Brazil, Germany and India -- out of concern it "might paralyze the Security Council."

In response, Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Ryozo Kato was quoted by the paper as saying, "The Security Council is not like an aircraft, with first-class, business and economy seats."

The four countries plan to present a bill to supporting countries saying they aim to gain the same responsibilities as the current five permanent members of the council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

The four are expected to present to their supporting countries on Monday a draft resolution that would establish a framework calling for additional permanent and nonpermanent seats.

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