Japan to seek non-permanent UNSC seat for 2012-2013

If elected, Japan would sit on UNSC for 11th term as a non-permanent member.

New York: Japan plans to seek a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2012-2013 term in the hope of paving the way for eventual permanent membership, a media report said.

Tokyo after having just completed a two-year term on the body at the end of last year has already unofficially notified some friendly countries about its intention to run in the next election of non-permanent members, set to be held this autumn, and is likely to announce the plan shortly, Kyodo news agency quoted government sources as saying.

If elected, Japan would sit on the Security Council for an 11th term as a non-permanent member, the most for any UN member state, returning to the post after the shortest possible interval. Countries are not allowed to seek back-to-back non-permanent seat terms.

In the long run, Japan is hoping to become a permanent member of the Security Council when the UN system is overhauled, but one of the sources said negotiations on the reform are "unlikely to progress for a while”.

The Japanese government, therefore, will aim to enhance its presence on the Security Council by frequently serving as a non-permanent member, while waiting for UN members to reach a stage of heightened momentum in discussing the world body`s reform, they added.

The Security Council consists of five permanent veto-wielding members, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, and 10 non-permanent members that serve two-year terms. Five non-permanent members are elected every autumn.

The non-permanent seats are allocated according to geographical region, and Asia has one slot each year. Japan and Brazil are currently tied for most terms served as non-permanent Security Council members at 10 terms each.

A Japanese diplomatic source underscored the benefit of serving on the UN Security Council, saying Japan can obtain more information on international situations when it is a member of the body.

"Even if we are not on the Security Council, we can obtain information from our ally the United States and others, but there is a considerable difference in the amount of information we can get by actually taking part in the Security Council`s informal discussions on topics such as North Korean issues," the source said.