Under the threat of violating international law and hurting its global reputation, Japan will submit its long overdue annual contribution to UNESCO by the year-end, according to government sources.

The government's decision also reflects concerns that its continued refusal to pay could allow China to hold more sway in UNESCO, while eroding Japan’s standing in the organization.

Tokyo has held back its annual obligatory contribution of 3.85 billion yen ($32.63 million) after the Paris-based organization decided last year to add Chinese documents concerning the 1937 Nanking Massacre to its Memory of the World Register. Japan paid its voluntary contribution of 770 million yen in November.

Japan is effectively the world’s largest financial contributor to the body as the United States, which is assigned the biggest share of dues, continues with the suspension of its payment since 2011 in protest of Palestine joining UNESCO.

Each member country is obliged to pay its share of annual contribution by the year-end in compliance with the Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Japan has usually made the payment in April or May.

But the nation has withheld the funds mainly because the ruling Liberal Democratic Party reacted strongly to the register of the Nanking Massacre archives.

Tokyo and Beijing have disputed the number of deaths and other details of the incident.

According to government officials, Japan will not lose its voting rights in UNESCO’s General Assembly if it pays its contribution within two years.

But the government’s suspension of the payment to protest UNESCO’s decision could backfire in the eyes of a global audience. The government fears that other member nations may not cooperate when Tokyo is pushing for a reform of the Memory of the World Register program by calling for more transparency in the initiative.

“Other member states could turn their backs on Japan if it delays the payment beyond this year,” said a government official.

There also is consideration for Japan’s dominant presence in the organization.

If the government continues to suspend payments, it would allow China to effectively emerge as the largest contributor to UNESCO. China’s contribution is the third largest after Japan.

Tokyo is afraid that Japan’s influence on UNESCO could dwindle under the scenario, while China's would be bolstered.

In addition, the sources said the refusal to pay could negatively affect Japan’s future bids for UNESCO’s world cultural and natural heritage listings, as well as the Memory of the World Register.

According to diplomatic sources, UNESCO’s secretariat was forced to borrow money due to a funding shortfall without Japan's contribution.

In an autumn session, UNESCO’s Executive Board adopted a resolution calling for expeditious payment of contributions by member nations that have failed to pay, without naming them.

Still, some LDP members insist that the government should not pay to maintain pressure on the organization.

They are particularly frustrated by UNESCO’s refusal to release registered documents on the Nanking Massacre despite Japan's repeated requests.

They also urge the government to continue pressuring the organization after a coalition of private groups in Japan, South Korea, China and other nations applied for the Memory of the World Register this year over archives on "comfort women," who were forced to provide sex to Japanese troops before and during World War II.