Tunis: Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Sunday that Japan would use its position on the UN Security Council to push for African seats in the world’s highest institutions.

“Japan reiterates its determination to rectify the historic injustice towards Africa of not being represented through a permanent member of the Security Council,” Kishida said at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Tunis.

“There is an urgent need to strengthen the United Nations as a whole through Security Council reform if it is to function effectively for peace and stability,” he said.

The UN faces a “moment of truth”, he added.

Japan was one of five countries elected in June as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for 2023 and 2024.

Speaking live video from Tokyo after testing positive for Covid-19 days ago, Kishida reiterated a pledge announced Saturday to invest around $30 billion in Africa over the next three years.

He also announced that Japan would appoint a special envoy to the Horn of Africa.

Kishida said Japan would pour $8.3 million into the troubled but gold-rich Liptako Gurma tri-border zone between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

The aid aims to “build good working relationships between residents and local governments” and help improve administrative services for the region’s five million residents, he said.

Japan’s prime minister also pledged assistance to train police officers, support “fair and transparent” elections across the continent, and pledged Japan’s support for the rule of law in Africa.

The UN Security Council is made up of 15 members, five of which are permanent members and have veto powers: the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.

The remaining 10 positions are filled by other countries for two-year terms, five of which are announced annually.

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