Japan joined the U.N. Security Council as a nonpermanent member Sunday, starting a two-year stint amid growing calls for the world body's reform following its failure to halt Russia's aggression in Ukraine.
Tokyo takes a nonpermanent seat of the council, in charge of ensuring international peace and security, for a record 12th time since it became a member of the United Nations in 1956 following its previous 2016-2017 term.
Japan occupies the rotating monthly chair of the council for January, at a time when the 15-member council has failed to take effective steps against Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and North Korea's repeated ballistic missile launches with permanent members Russia and China, a key benefactor of the North, exercising their veto power.
The five permanent members, all of which are nuclear powers, also include the United States, Britain and France.
Japan has long expressed its ambition to become a permanent member of a reformed Security Council, along with countries such as Germany, India and Brazil.
The world's third largest economy won an annual election in June at the General Assembly, consisting of 193 countries, for five out of the 10 nonpermanent seats of the Security Council along with Mozambique, Ecuador, Switzerland and Malta.
The five nations joined Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates, replacing India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway.
In a speech at the General Assembly in New York in September, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan, as a Security Council member, intends to "take action to strengthen the rule of law in the international community" by listening "not only to the big voices but also being attentive to the small voices."
Takahiro Shinyo, an international politics professor at Kwansei Gakuin University, told Kyodo News that Japan's ability to help stop "high-handedness" by Russia and China will be "put to the test" after becoming a nonpermanent council member.
Shinyo, who once served as a member of Japan's permanent mission to the United Nations and ambassador to Germany, also said Tokyo could advance discussions on Pyongyang's security threats by calling emergency meetings.
For Japan's diplomacy, the year 2023 is important since the country will host a Group of Seven summit in the western Japan city of Hiroshima, devastated by the world's first atomic bombing in 1945, in May.