Japan started its new term as a member in 2013. While Japan
played an important leadership role in steering the Council’s work on North
Korea, its position on Sri Lanka was very disappointing.
Voting Record in 2015
Japan generally is a strong supporter of the Council’s mandate to address country situations. Its leadership in driving the international response to the situation in North Korea and supporting a call for the Council to refer the situation to international justice mechanisms was crucial for the adoption of a meaningful resolution in March 2014. Japan also voted in favor of most of the resolutions adopted by the Council under Items 4 and 10, including those on Syria, Belarus, Ukraine and Iran. Japan supported the important joint statement delivered by Iceland on the human rights situation in Egypt in March 2014.
Nevertheless, Japan continued to distance itself from the Council’s action on Sri Lanka, in spite of ongoing violations documented in the country and the lack of progress securing accountability for past international crimes. Japan’s abstention on the Sri Lanka resolution and its failure to support a joint statement in June 2014 on the continued crackdown in Bahrain detract from its overall positive contribution to the Council.
Though Japan voted in favor of most resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, it abstained on the resolution adopted during the July 2014 special session on the Gaza conflict. Japan did, however, support the calls for the other two special sessions held in 2014 on the situations in the Central African Republic and in Iraq. Japan co-sponsored a reasonable number of country resolutions, both under agenda Items 4 and 10, and contributed to regular interventions in the Council’s plenary debates.
It should further consolidate its support to the Council’s mandate to address country situations by reconsidering its position on the Sri Lanka resolution as well as the situation in Bahrain.
Voting record in 2014
Support for key joint statements in 2014
Japan's leadership on the proposal for the Council to establish a commission on inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity in North Korea was indispensable: without Japan's determination, this initiative would not have succeeded. Japan helped ensure that the mandate given to the inquiry included an explicit focus into issues of accountability for such crimes. Japan has also led negotiations that allow for the regular renewal of the Special Rapporteur mandate on Cambodia. Japan's role ensuring Council action on North Korea and Cambodia contrasts significantly with its hesitance on Sri Lanka and Bahrain.
Had it not been for Japan's abstention on the resolution on accountability in Sri Lanka, Japan would have had an impeccable voting record in 2013. Japan's failure to support the joint statement expressing concern about the human rights situation in Bahrain was also regrettable. Japan voted positively on all the other country resolutions put to the vote in the Council and supported the statement calling for the Security Council to refer the Syrian situation to the ICC.
Japan voted in favor of all but one of the resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.
In 2013 Japan co-sponsored
a total of 13 country-specific resolutions, under both item 4 and item 10. Japan
also participated frequently in debates on country situations at the Council.
Japan's role in the Council would be enhanced by developing stronger coherence
in its engagement on country situations, in particular by supporting the
Council's engagement on Sri Lanka and Bahrain.