Mr. Chairman,

Following my statement of the general debate session, in this thematic debate on nuclear weapons I would like to present further our views on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Japan strongly believes that nuclear disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States based on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) regime is a necessary condition for achieving international peace and security. In other words, as the then UK Foreign Secretary, Ms Margaret Beckett, pointed out in her major speech made on 25 June, nuclear disarmament is the grand bargain of the NPT between the nuclear haves and nuclear have-nots. The nuclear-weapon States must therefore completely implement their obligations under Article 6 and make further nuclear disarmament efforts with "renewed determination" in order to build confidence among States and encourage the non-nuclear weapon States to comply with their non-proliferation obligations, thus creating a peaceful, international security environment.

Based on these beliefs, Japan will submit a draft nuclear disarmament resolution entitled, "Renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons" to the First Committee. Last year, 167 countries - an overwhelming majority - including some nuclear weapon States, again adopted this resolution. This demonstrates that there exists broad support in the international community for our approach, which advocates the achievement of a peaceful and safe world free from nuclear weapons, through further practical steps and effective measures taken by all States. Japan believes it is critically important that this resolution is adopted through majority support in order to intensify momentum towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, which was created by the successful commencement of the 2010 NPT review process at the First Preparatory Committee this year.

Mr. Chairman,

At this stage, I would like to provide a few examples of the practical and effective measures put forward by Japan's resolution. Firstly, Japan welcomes the steady progress made by the nuclear-weapon States, especially the United States and the Russian Federation, in reducing their nuclear arsenals. Nevertheless, while an estimated 27,000 nuclear weapons still remain in existence, it is patently clear that further concrete efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals are required. Japan strongly encourages the United States and Russian Federation to implement fully the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions (SORT), and to undertake nuclear arms reductions beyond those provided for in the Treaty in an irreversible and verifiable manner. From this perspective, Japan is paying close attention to the talks between the U.S. and Russia concerning arrangements after the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) expires in 2009, and we welcome the positive position shown by both countries in the joint statement released on 3 July 2007. Furthermore, it is vital that these efforts to reduce nuclear weapons progress with transparency. For instance, we commend the recent announcement by the U.S. on the increase in their rate of nuclear weapons dismantlement. We welcome the presentations based on actual figures made in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) and during the First Committee by some nuclear-weapon States on their nuclear disarmament measures. Japan strongly encourages all the nuclear-weapon States to give due attention to greater transparency in nuclear disarmament.

As a transitional measure to avoid accidental nuclear war until the total elimination of nuclear weapons is realized, the nuclear-weapon States should further lower the operational status of nuclear weapons systems in ways that promote international stability and security.

Mr. Chairman,

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a very high priority as a practical measure for nuclear disarmament. The fact that currently 177 countries have signed and 140 have ratified the CTBT is an indication that it is fulfilling its role as the widely accepted international norm banning nuclear testing. For this important nuclear disarmament treaty, which was adopted 11 years ago, to enter into force, we again strongly urge the countries that have yet to sign and/or ratify the CTBT, especially the ten Annex 2 states, to do so without further delay. In addition, pending the entry into force of the Treaty, it is important for the nuclear-weapon States and States that are not party to the NPT to respect the moratorium on nuclear test explosions.

A fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT), which will serve as the quantitative cap to nuclear weapons, is an important nuclear disarmament measure and one which the international community should be tackling now. We would like to point out that given the focused discussions in the first session of this year's Conference on Disarmament (CD), there is nothing preventing the commencement of FMCT negotiations without preconditions. This year, the CD successfully formulated a package centered on document L.1 and a draft presidential statement and decision (CRP.5 and CRP.6), which would provide an appropriate mandate for each of the four core agenda items, and came extremely close to reaching consensus based on this package. This package is currently the most realistic proposal before the CD reflecting the best possible compromise. We would like to re-emphasize the tremendous importance of forging a consensus on the programme of work next year based on the package proposal, and commencing FMCT negotiations.

Mr. Chairman,

It is also within the purview of the First Committee to cover the pursuit of nuclear non-proliferation, which is the other critical pillar for the realization of a peaceful and secure world free from nuclear weapons. It goes without saying that nuclear non-proliferation is also crucial for the development of a favorable climate to advance nuclear disarmament.

With regard to the nuclear test proclaimed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in October last year, we strongly urge the DPRK to comply promptly with the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1718. In this connection, Japan emphasizes the significance of the adoption of "Second-Phase Actions for the Implementation of the Joint Statement", in which the DPRK has agreed to disable all existing nuclear facilities subject to abandonment under the September 2005 Joint Statement and the February 13 agreement. As a part of these Actions, the DPRK has also agreed to disable its three facilities at Yongbyon and provide a complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear programs in accordance with the February 13 agreement by 31 December. However, the adoption of the "Second-Phase Actions" is only a step towards the full implementation of the "Joint Statement" of the September 2005 Six-Party Talks. Japan believes that further work at the Six-Party Talks is needed in order to realize the "abandoning" of "all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs". Japan will continue to work together with other partners at the Six-Party Talks towards the full implementation of the Joint Statement as a whole.

As for Iran, Japan considers the work plan agreed between Iran and the IAEA Secretariat in August to be a forward-looking step to resolving the nuclear issues. Japan hopes that Iran will sincerely cooperate with the IAEA according to this work plan in order to resolve the outstanding issues. Furthermore, Iran has to make additional efforts to restore the confidence of the international community, by fully complying with all the relevant IAEA Board and UN Security Council resolutions without further delay.

Mr. Chairman,

Lastly, since disarmament and non-proliferation are issues intimately linked to national security, Japan recognizes that sustained efforts over a number of generations are necessary for their achievement. It is important therefore to pass on our knowledge, experiences and aspirations concerning these issues to future generations. From this perspective, Japan places great importance on disarmament and non-proliferation education and is making active efforts at various levels. We intend to continue implementing new initiatives in support of the education of the next generation, which will be the bearers of our future.

On Monday, 15 October, a documentary film, "White Light/Black Rain", directed by Mr. Steven Okazaki was shown by the United Nations Office for Disaramament Affairs and Home Box Office (HBO) in this Conference Room. I believe the many people who watched this documentary directly felt the devastation caused by the atomic bombs and the agony of the Hibakusha, the victims of those bombs. Japan will continue to work tirelessly to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons with the conviction that the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should never be repeated,

Thank you.

Related Information (Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation)
Delegation of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament Official Web Site other site

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