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Japan sinks to No. 3 contributor to U.N. as China rises

  • December 23, 2018
  • , Kyodo News , 2:17 p.m.
  • English Press

Japan will fall to third on the list of United Nations general budget contributor nations starting next year for the first time since the 1980s as it is overtaken by a rising China, according to new calculations adopted by the U.N. General Assembly Saturday.


China’s contribution to the world body leaps to 12.01 percent while Japan’s declines to 8.56 percent for the 2019 to 2021 period in line with the new scale agreed on by the U.N. committee on contributions.


“According to the new scale of assessments initially agreed upon starting from 2019, China will become the second-largest financial contributor to the U.N.’s regular budget,” a Chinese delegate said after the committee decision. “For a developing country with about a 1.4 billion population, this is not a small amount.”


The contribution shift could mean Tokyo’s aspiration to become a new permanent member of a revamped U.N. Security Council may be moving further from reach.


For the 2016 to 2018 period, the scale of general budget assessments for Japan was 9.680 percent, while China paid almost 2 percentage points less at 7.921 percent.


Every three years, U.N. member countries must approve the so-called “scale of assessments” based on a complex formula that factors in each nation’s gross national income and debt adjustments, among other variables.


Japan’s general budget burden peaked at 20.57 percent in 2000 but has since been declining. The United States, which has been the No. 1 contributor since the inception of the United Nations, will remain in the top spot for the next three-year period at 22 percent.


With the latest decline in its share of the general budget, Japan’s presence at the United Nations could wane, dimming the prospects for its campaign to become a permanent member of the powerful Security Council.


Debates to restructure the 15-member body have gone on for decades with little apparent progress, despite Japan’s push to become a permanent seat holder along with Germany, Brazil and India.


Collectively known as the Group of Four, the countries have yet to budge the council on its composition of five permanent members — Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States — and 10 others selected for two-year terms.


The Group of Four is also at loggerheads with another bloc called Uniting for Consensus, which includes such states as Pakistan, Italy, South Korea and Argentina.


Meanwhile, the African Group has been pressing to add African nations as new permanent and nonpermanent seat holders, arguing they have long been underrepresented.


Germany, with its 6.090 percent contribution to the U.N. general budget, comes in fourth place with Britain at 4.567 percent and France at 4.427 percent fifth and sixth, respectively.


The latest decision on the general budget followed a similar change in rankings for peacekeeping funding. Beginning in 2016, Japan slipped to third place behind the United States and China.


Meanwhile, a U.S. representative expressed dissatisfaction with the new calculations for the peacekeeping budget for the 2019 to 2021 period, as the U.S. administration of President Donald Trump has been pushing hard for reductions.


The U.S. request to have its burden lowered to 25 percent compared with the current more than 28 percent had been rejected in the negotiation process despite intense pressure. The consensus agreement also called on Washington to pay the higher rate.


“For the financial health of the organization, the United States firmly believes that no one member state should pay more than one quarter of the organization’s budget,” the U.S. delegate said.


“The lack of agreement on a 25 percent ceiling for peacekeeping operations will cause the organization to continue to face a 3 percent shortfall in its peacekeeping budget as the United States will pay no more than 25 percent of peacekeeping expenses.”


It is expected that the funding shortage will be felt by peacekeepers on the ground in various countries around the globe and in Africa particularly.



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