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Japan proposes raising China's UN payment
Updated: 2006-03-10 16:34

Japan on Friday proposed cutting its hefty contribution to the UN budget and having China and Russia substantially increase their payments.

Japan has long complained that it pays too much compared to other nations. The grumbling has increased as Tokyo's bid for a permanent council seat has stalled amid stiff Chinese opposition.

Under the Japanese plan submitted on Friday, the five permanent Security Council members would be required to either pay a minimum of 3 percent or 5 percent of the UN budget. Only two permanent members pay less than 3 percent now: China at 2.1 percent and Russia at 1.1 percent. Other members are the United States, Britain and France.

Japan currently pays 19.5 percent of the UN budget, second only to the US contribution of 22 percent.

"Japan considers it fair for the Security Council members to pay in proportion to their status and responsibility," said Daisuke Nakajima, of the UN administration division of the Foreign Ministry.

Nakajima denied any link between the contribution proposal and Tokyo's quest for a permanent security council seat, but Japanese officials have said in the past that there could be strong domestic pressure to cut the country's UN dues unless it gets a seat.

Japan has campaigned hard in recent years to expand the Security Council to allow Japan and several other nations -- Germany in particular -- to have permanent seats. Tokyo argues the change is needed to better reflect today's economic and political realities.

The plan, however, has failed to garner much support among UN membership. The United States, while sympathetic, has argued that wider UN reform is a higher priority, and China -- which has rocky relations with Japan -- has been openly opposed to Japanese permanent membership.

The Japanese contribution proposal was divided in two parts. Neither calls for a change in the US portion.

Under the 3 percent minimum contribution, Japan's dues would drop to 15.7 percent. Britain's would rise from 6.1 percent to 6.6 percent, and France's would edge up from 6 percent to 6.1 percent. Germany, not a permanent council member, would pay 8.2 percent, down from 8.7 percent.

With a 5 percent minimum, Japan's dues would drop further to 14.8 percent. Britain would pay 6.2 percent, France would contribute 5.8 percent and Germany would pitch in 7.8 percent.

Dues are determined by a complex formula that is reconsidered every three years in the UN budget committee. In 2000, the United States succeeded in lowering its contribution from 25 percent to 22 percent.

After the United States, Japan is the second-largest U.N. contributor, pumping in US$346.4 million (euro290.6 million) annually.

The Security Council currently has 15 members -- 10 elected for two-year terms and five permanent members with veto power.

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