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    Long-term commitments

    The government is putting more diplomatic energy into its push for permanent membership on the UN Security Council. On Monday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura held a gathering of over 100 sitting Japanese ambassadors–as in, they all met in the same room in Tokyo (Japanese, English):

    “In the 60 years since the end of World War II, Japan has played a role as a peaceful nation. With confidence and pride, I want you to persuade key government officials of each country [of the merits of Japan’s bid],” Machimura reportedly told the ambassadors, who had been recalled to the ministry in Tokyo.

    Machimura also told them that reform of the United Nations, including expansion of the Security Council, was currently “the most important issue for the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.”

    “Some countries have expressed support for Japan,” Machimura said. “But some others are opposing it. And the position of a vast majority of countries remains unknown.”

    Japan, Brazil, India, and Germany have been preparing a joint proposal for expansion of permanent membership. The NYT reports a bit more on the efforts of the countries other than Japan and has this droll observation:

    One reason these leaders may be campaigning on the other side of the world is that, in this effort, no nation can count on its neighbors. Argentina and Mexico oppose Brazil. Japan is facing serious opposition from North and South Korea as well as China, where tens of thousands of protesters took part in angry anti-Japan demonstrations last month.

    Italy opposes Germany, while Pakistan is trying to block India. And those two countries in opposition, along with South Korea, are leading a counterlobby pushing a proposal that would not award new permanent seats to anyone.

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