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Tokyo: Japan on Friday began serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
The Security Council has 15 seats. Five seats with veto power are held by permanent members -- the US, Russia, China, France, and Britain, public broadcaster NHK reported.
The 10 other seats are for non-permanent members representing regions. Five seats with a term of two years each are elected every year. Japan has served as a non-permanent member 10 times previously.
During the two-year tenure, Japan has to work on various conflicts in the world. It also aims to exert its leadership in efforts to stabilise East Asia, while being mindful of China.
The focus at the Security Council will be how to deal with the Islamic State militant group and whether western countries and Russia can find a middle ground in the Syrian conflict, as it enters its fifth year.
Japan's Permanent Representative to the UN, Motohide Yoshikawa, said he will take up North Korea's nuclear programme and human rights violations as the Security Council's most important issues.