Ja­pan with­holds dues to UNESCO

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Ja­pan has with­held its an­nual UNESCO dues, say­ing it wants to make sure the UN body prop­erly func­tions to foster trust among mem­ber na­tions. For­eign Min­is­ter Fu­mio Kishida, asked by a re­porter, con­firmed that Ja­pan with­held dues of nearly 4 bil­lion yen ($40 mil­lion) for this year. He re­fused to say if that was to protest UNESCO’s list­ing last year of Chi­nese Rape of Nank­ing doc­u­ments as a mem­ory of the world.

Kishida said the de­ci­sion is based on “com­pre­hen­sive” ob­ser­va­tions. Ja­pan dis­putes China’s his­tor­i­cal views on the 1937 mas­sacre and has crit­i­cized the UNESCO de­ci­sion. A For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial later said that Ja­pan is watch­ing to see if UNESCO is liv­ing up to its found­ing pur­pose of pro­mot­ing peace among mem­ber na­tions through ed­u­ca­tion, and will con­sider the tim­ing of its pay­ment while ex­am­in­ing whether the UN body is op­er­at­ing ap­pro­pri­ately.

There is no dead­line for a mem­ber na­tion to pay its an­nual con­tri­bu­tion. Non-pay­ment could lead to a mem­ber na­tion los­ing its vot­ing right at the body’s gen­eral meet­ing, he said. Ja­pan pro­vides 9.7 per­cent of UNESCO bud­get, the body’s sec­ond-largest donor af­ter the US at 22 per­cent. Wash­ing­ton has sus­pended its dues since 2011 when Pales­tine be­gan par­tic­i­pat­ing in UNESCO.

UNESCO would not com­ment Fri­day on Ja­pan’s de­ci­sion. Kishida’s com­ments came as Is­rael sus­pended co­op­er­a­tion with the agency over a draft res­o­lu­tion min­i­miz­ing Jewish ties to Tem­ple Mount and the Western Wall. In 2014, China sub­mit­ted doc­u­ments on the 1937 mas­sacre of Chi­nese ci­ti­zens by the Ja­panese mil­i­tary in what be­came known as the Rape of Nank­ing, which Ja­pan has largely played down. The doc­u­ments were reg­is­tered on the her­itage list last Oc­to­ber.

China says up to 300,000 peo­ple were killed, while Ja­panese na­tion­al­ists have largely played down or de­nied the in­ci­dent. Ja­pan and some schol­ars say the num­ber was much smaller. Ja­pan has crit­i­cized UNESCO’s “uni­lat­eral” reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem, which it says failed to give Tokyo ac­cess to the doc­u­ments for ver­i­fi­ca­tion, adding the process lacked fair­ness and trans­parency.

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