【PART 4】 The Mystery of Security Treaty Village (2): The UN Charter and the Postwar World


9】 Enemy State Clauses


The current permanent members of the UN Security Council consist of five countries: France, in addition to the Big Four that created the Dumbarton Oaks proposal.

In the UN, these five states are the only ones with “veto power,” which is a huge privilege. Despite the principle of sovereign equality of all its members in the UN Charter (Article 2-1), there is a clear disparity between these five countries and the others.

However, we Japanese must all learn about another unbelievable disparity in the postwar world. They are the so-called “enemy state clauses” (UN Charter Articles 53 and 107), which target countries such as Japan and Germany. Because of these articles, postwar Japan found itself at the very bottom of the international law hierarchy.

Since the Cold War started soon afterwards, we Japanese have thought of the Western Capitalist Bloc as our allies, and the Eastern Communist Bloc such as China and the Soviet Union as our enemies. It’s true that the current state of China (People’s Republic of China) is different from the Republic of China, which fought by the U.S.’s side in World War II. What’s more, the People’s Republic of China is an actual “enemy state” of the U.S., since they fought against each other in the Korean War, an “actual war” during the Cold War.

However, when you examine the framework of the UN now that the Cold War is over, you find that the true conflict in the postwar era was, arguably, always between the victorious states of the Allies (or “peace-loving states”) and the defeated states (or “enemy states”) such as Japan and Germany. Such a structure of disparity has existed, legally, for at least roughly 70 years in the international community. The states where enemy state clauses will be applied are not named in the UN Charter.

The definition of an enemy state is “any state which during the Second World War has been an enemy of any signatory of the present Charter” (Article 53-2). It is commonly considered to signify Japan, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Finland. However, the five countries besides Japan and Germany all left the Axis during the war to declare war on these two countries. Therefore, the true targets of the enemy state clauses were arguably just the two countries, Japan and Germany, from the beginning.