Japan still too isolationist for UN Security Council

In terms of it’s size, economic strength and… whisper it… military strength, Japan has to be a prime contender for a seat on an expanded UN Security Council.

But does Japan really deserve a seat?

Not just yet, if this report from TCS Daily is true – Japan is still an isolationist country at heart:

According to the Foreign Ministry, 82 countries have never been visited by a Japanese cabinet minister as of last month.

That’s almost half the countries in the world that have never been visited by someone as lowly as a Japanese cabinet minster, let alone someone senior, like the Foreign Minister or Prime Minister, in over 50 years.

If Japan can change it’s image, though, and engage more deeply with the world, it will have an indisputable claim for a seat.

It’s heartening, therefore, to see that Japan is beginning to take a few tottering steps onto the global security scene – sending the odd small, non-combat, force to support UN peacekeeping missions, or the international presence in Iraq. And it’s decision this week to dispatch emissaries far and wide can’t hurt either:

The Cabinet Secretariat therefore picked about 20 of those countries and allocated them to ministers for visits over the summer.

The lucky countries include Estonia, Latvia and Uganda.

Update: Registan.net has more on Japanese diplomacy in Central Asia.  Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan each get the privilege of a visit from the Japanese Prime Minister himself.  Probably because they’re more important than places like Estonia, Latvia and Uganda in the grand scheme of things…