Japan's pursuit of permanent membership unrealistic

China Military Online
Chen Zhuo
2023-05-25 20:09:52

By Xiang Haoyu

On May 23, Japan announced its bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2032, which is 9 years earlier than planned. As a defeated country in World War II, Japan has served 12 times as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, with its ultimate goal being to attain a permanent seat. Some critics argue that Japan's desire for permanent membership is merely wishful thinking, given its current performance in the international community, particularly with regard to historical issues.

Japan's recent announcement is to compete for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2032, leaving at least eight years for candidacy. Japan's early expression of its intention to stand is a publicity strategy and planning, as well as a reflection of its anxiety. Japanese government officials stated that due to the significant influence of non-permanent members of the Security Council on discussions and voting regarding issues such as DPRK nuclear missile development, Japan's prolonged absence from Security Council discussions could impact Japan's national security interests and lead to a decline in Japan's international influence and status.

Since Japan rejoined the international community after World War II, "UN Diplomacy" has been listed as one of the three pillars of Japan's foreign policy along with the US-Japan alliance and Asian diplomacy. For decades, Japan has made every effort to become a permanent member of the Security Council. Despite repeated difficulties, Japan has remained steadfast in pursuing this ultimate goal. The most fundamental goal of Japan's quest for permanent membership is to shed its status as a defeated country in World War II and become a global political power.

Specifically, Japan hopes to eradicate the "post-war system" of the United Nations and completely remove Japan's defeated country status on the one hand. On the other hand, Japan aims to become a legitimate "political power" by gaining international status on an equal footing with the five permanent members of the Security Council, so as to gain greater voice and influence in international and regional affairs, expand Japan's international space, and strive for more international political, economic, and security interests.

As we all know, the United Nations was founded on the basis of victory in the anti-fascist war and is a symbol of the post-World War II international order. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council made great sacrifices to defeat the German Nazi and Japanese militarism. The victory of World War II cannot be challenged. For a long time, Japan has not deeply reflected on its history of foreign invasion and colonial expansion. On major issues concerning the history of World War II, such as visiting Yasukuni Shrine, falsifying history textbooks, attitude toward comfort women and conscripting laborers, the right-wing conservative forces in Japan have repeatedly made serious mistakes to dilute, glorify the history of aggression, and deny historical guilt. Some Japanese leaders even believe that the Tokyo trial was a unilateral and unfair judgment by the victorious countries against the defeated countries. These actions taken by Japan are a blatant challenge to the authority of the United Nations and the post-war international order.

Moreover, we have witnessed a significant shift in Japan's defense and security policies of late, seeking to develop offensive military capabilities and double their defense budget. As such, the provisions of the Pacific Constitution and the commitment to the exclusively defense-oriented strategy have become virtually obsolete, and Japan has deviated significantly from the path of pacifist development that was advocated after World War II.

The Kishida government's aggressive pursuit of a military expansion policy and incitement of camp confrontation in the Asia-Pacific region is becoming a destructive force for regional peace and stability, triggering strong vigilance from neighboring countries. Despite international opposition, Japan is determined to proceed with the discharge of Fukushima nuclear sewage into the sea, showing a lack of responsibility as a responsible country. These circumstances indicate that Japan does not currently meet the criteria for permanent membership, and Japan's desire for permanent membership will remain an unattainable dream for a long time to come.

Editor's note: Originally published on the website of Yangtze River News, this article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information and opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn.

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