More than 400,000 people across the world have signed an online petition opposing Japan’s bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council.
Aiming to collect at least 1 million names, the signature drive was launched last month by several overseas and domestic groups critical of Japan’s World War II past, according to a report on the website of the People’s Daily, China’s largest and most-circulated newspaper.
Initiator of the campaign and spokesman for the US-based Alliance for Preserving the Truth of the Sino-Japanese War, Ding Yuan said on Tuesday that the group plans to present the petition to the United Nations general assembly in New York this autumn.
By March 20, the online campaign had received 401,556 signatures in Chinese, Korean and English, Ding said.
People can download forms to sign signature from websites including global-alliance.net, sign.sjwar.org, china918.net, alpha-la.org/petition.asp, historicaljustice.org.
On Monday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appeared to back Japan’s claim for a permanent council seat as part of the most wide-ranging reforms to the world body since its creation in 1945.
In a report entitled “In Larger Freedom,” Annan said: “The Security Council must be broadly representative of the realities of power in today’s world.
“(The Security Council should) increase the involvement in decision-making of those who contribute most to the United Nations financially, militarily and diplomatically, specifically in terms of contributions to United Nations assessed budgets.”
Japan is one of the UN’s larger financial contributors.
Combined, Japan, the US and Germany, provide as much as 20 per cent of the total UN budget.
The Japanese Government has threatened to reduce its fees if attempts to secure a permanent seat on the Security Council fail.
The governments of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have both announced their opposition to Japan’s bid for a permanent seat, saying Japan needs to make greater effort to win the trust of its neighbours and atone for past actions.