Japan elected for record 11th time to U.N. Security Council nonpermanent seat

Baku, October 16, AZERTAC

Japan was elected to one of the five nonpermanent seats on the U.N. Security Council on Thursday, returning to the body for the first time in five years.

It is the 11th time Japan has sat on the Security Council, more than any other nonpermanent member. Its election comes amid heavy lobbying by Tokyo for a thorough revamp of the 70-year-old organization — and possibly a permanent seat at the top table.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida welcomed the move, saying in a statement on Friday that Japan will "actively contribute" to a broad range of global challenges.

Joining the Security Council will enable Japan to gain access to and participate in closed-door consultations and to vote on resolutions at what is effectively the world's most powerful body.

But it remains to be seen whether Japan will be able to push the issue of human rights in North Korea as it seeks to resolve the problem of Japanese nationals abducted and taken there decades ago. Although the Security Council decided to place North Korean human rights on its agenda in December, it has not been a topic frequently discussed.

Japan will also be involved in selecting the successor to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whose term expires at the end of 2016. The Security Council has the final say on who his replacement will be.

"We look forward to Japan taking an increasingly active part in peacekeeping operations and supporting international efforts to secure peace and prosperity," he added.

Ban's deputy spokesman also mentioned Japan's frequent election.

UNESCO last week added "Nanking Massacre" files, detailing the mass murder and brutalization of the city by Imperial Japanese troops, to its "Memory of the World" program. Japan objected to the nomination of the documents.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said earlier this week that Tokyo will consider halting or cutting funding for UNESCO and demand reform of the screening system that Japan said lacks "fairness and transparency."

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