Ja­pan ea­ger to sway UN through more staff

Global Times US Edition - - ASIANREVIEW - By Chen Yang The au­thor is an edi­tor at the Global Times and a re­search fel­low on Ja­pan is­sues. opin­ion@ glob­al­times.com.cn

Ac­cord­ing to the Diplo­matic Blue­book 2017 re­leased by Ja­panese Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, about 800 Ja­panese na­tion­als are work­ing as pro­fes­sional staff mem­bers in UN-re­lated agen­cies around the world. The Ja­panese govern­ment has set the aim of in­creas­ing the num­ber of Ja­panese em­ploy­ees work­ing at UN-re­lated agen­cies to 1,000 by 2025. Now it seems that the ob­jec­tive can be achieved ahead of time just like their goal of win­ning No­bel Prizes. The govern­ment not only aims at spread­ing Ja­panese in­flu­ence in the global so­ci­ety, but also in the UN.

Ja­pan has been seek­ing to be­come a great po­lit­i­cal power and the UN has been its tar­get. Af­ter the Treaty of Peace with Ja­pan, also known as the Treaty of San Fran­cisco, came into force in 1952, the coun­try tried to be­come a mem­ber of the UN. Yet due to the Soviet Union’s boy­cott, Ja­pan’s mem­ber­ship wasn’t ap­proved un­til 1956.

Around 2005, Ja­pan pro­posed a re­form of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil (UNSC) and tried to per­suade In­dia, Ger­many and Brazil to ap­ply for per­ma­nent mem­ber­ship of the UNSC. How­ever, the re­quest was op­posed by China, South Korea and other Asian coun­tries be­cause of some Japa- nese politi­cians’ ar­ro­gant and ab­surd at­ti­tude on his­tor­i­cal is­sues and the “com­fort women” is­sue. Then prime min­is­ter Ju­nichiro Koizumi even vis­ited the Ya­sukuni Shrine six times.

How­ever, Ja­pan hasn’t given up on try­ing to be­come a per­ma­nent mem­ber of the UNSC. When Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe vis­ited Brazil in 2014, he is­sued a joint state­ment with then Brazil­ian pres­i­dent Dilma Rouss­eff to pro­mote UNSC re­form.

Per­haps Ja­pan re­al­ized that its goal to in­flu­ence the UN by be­com­ing a per­ma­nent mem­ber is not pos­si­ble within the fore­see­able fu­ture, it started to look for other ways, such as in­creas­ing its staff mem­bers in UN-re­lated agen­cies.

As an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion formed of sov­er­eign states, the UN is sup­posed to hire em­ploy­ees from dif­fer­ent coun­tries. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to one UN re­port, Amer­i­cans (9.5 per­cent), the French (6.1 per­cent), and Bri­tons (4.9 per­cent) formed the largest chunk of UN em­ploy­ees un­til 2015. Ja­pan and China, as the sec­ond and third big­gest contributors to the UN, only had 2.5 per­cent and 1.7 per­cent staff. Hence, it would be rea­son­able for Ja­pan to seek to in­crease the num­ber of its em­ploy­ees, be­cause be­sides Euro­pean and Amer­i­can ideas, the UN needs Asian wis­dom as well.

How­ever, Ja­pan’s goal of in- creas­ing its em­ployee strength at the world body may also in­clude its mo­tive to dis­guise its in­ten­tion of dis­tort­ing his­tory, con­sid­er­ing some Ja­panese politi­cians’ re­marks ne­gat­ing ob­jec­tive his­tory. Af­ter all, Ja­pan has played such tricks be­fore.

For ex­am­ple, doc­u­ments of the Nanjing Mas­sacre from China were suc­cess­fully in­scribed in the UNESCO Me­mory of the World Reg­is­ter in 2015, and yet the doc­u­ments re­lated to “com­fort women” sub­mit­ted by South Korea failed to make it. In 2017, South Korea sub­mit­ted the doc­u­ments again which were still not cho­sen. Ja­panese and South Korean me­dia, re­act­ing to the in­ci­dent, said that the Ja­panese govern­ment did a lot of work.

If more Ja­panese em­ploy­ees work at UN-re­lated agen­cies or as high-rank­ing of­fi­cials, the UN may be­come bi­ased to­ward Ja­pan on his­tor­i­cal is­sues and ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes. It will not only harm the UN’s fair­ness and author­ity, but also af­fect pub­lic me­mory.

Al­though China is a per­ma­nent mem­ber of the UNSC and will sur­pass Ja­pan to be­come the sec­ond big­gest con­trib­u­tor to UN bud­get, we have to ad­mit that com­pared with Ja­pan, China still has a long way to go in the num­ber of Chi­nese em­ploy­ees work­ing at UN-re­lated agen­cies, es­pe­cially as high-rank­ing of­fi­cials. With its rapid de­vel­op­ment, China needs to send qual­i­fied

Chi­nese per­son­nel to the UN and other in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions to pro­mote a fair in­ter­na­tional or­der and eq­ui­table global gov­er­nance sys­tem. As a re­spon­si­ble coun­try, it’s rea­son­able for China to voice its opin­ion within the UN frame­work.

Il­lus­tra­tion: Liu Rui/GT

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