Japan elected to U.N. Security Council

/ Source: The Associated Press

Japan won a two-year term on the U.N. Security Council on Friday along with Argentina, Denmark, Greece and Tanzania.

Japan is expected to use its presence on the powerful U.N. body, starting Jan. 1, to spotlight its campaign for a permanent council seat.

There are sometimes hotly contested battles for Security Council seats, but not this year.

Friday’s election by the 191 members of the U.N. General Assembly rubber-stamped the candidates selected by regional groups.

In the secret ballot, Argentina received 188 votes, Greece 187, Tanzania 186, Japan 184 and Denmark 181.

Assembly President Jean Ping announced the results and congratulated the new council members. Diplomats in the General Assembly chamber then burst into applause.

At last month’s ministerial meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, the leaders of Japan, Germany, Brazil and India agreed to support each other’s candidacies for permanent seats.

While there is widespread support among the 191 U.N. member states to expand the 15-member Security Council to reflect the geopolitical realities of the 21st century, there is no agreement on how large it should be, who should get seats, whether the new seats should be permanent or temporary, and who should have veto power.

The council currently consists of five permanent members with veto power — the United States, Britain, Russia, China and France — and 10 non-permanent members who serve two-year terms and have no power to veto resolutions.

The 10 elected members — nominated by regional groups to give the council broad geographical representation — enjoy all other aspects of council membership, including the right to propose resolutions, chair committees and hold the rotating council presidency for one-month periods.

Five countries are elected every year by the General Assembly to replace five retiring ones.

Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Japan and Tanzania will replace Angola, Chile, Germany, Pakistan and Spain, whose terms expire on Dec. 31. The new members join Algeria, Benin, Brazil, the Philippines and Romania, who were elected last year and will remain on the council until the end of 2005.