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STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. SHINICHI KITAOKA
DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF JAPAN
AT THE OPEN DEBATE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
ON SMALL ARMS
20 MARCH 2006
At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to Ms. Hannelore Hoppe, Officer-in-charge of the Department for Disarmament Affairs for her comprehensive introduction of the Secretary-General's report (S/2006/109). This report, which effectively identified both the progress made in the area of small arms over a period of slightly more than a year and the challenges to be addressed in the future, will serve as a valuable guidepost for our future endeavors.
Since the last time the Council discussed this issue on 17 February 2005, there have been some remarkable achievements. Most notably, after long debate and painstaking efforts by the Open-Ended Working Group last June, was the adoption by consensus of the international instrument on marking and tracing. It is my pleasure to say that, despite some diverging views, in the end, the instrument was nevertheless adopted by consensus. I would like to commend Ambassador Anton Thalmann of Switzerland for his outstanding chairmanship. He showed enormous patience and perseverance in accommodating the different positions of Member States. Credit should also be given to the Member States, which showed the flexibility necessary to conclude the work of OEWG. Hereafter all states should be making efforts toward the steady and full implementation of the Instrument.
Another important development last year was the Second Biennial Meeting of States to Consider Implementation of the Programme of Action. The dynamic chairmanship of Ambassador Pasi Patokallio of Finland greatly contributed to the deliberations proceeding so smoothly.
This year is of particular significance for efforts to address the issue of small arms and light weapons. First and foremost, the first Review Conference is to be held toward the end of June. This important event will provide an opportunity for Member States to take a comprehensive look at the status of the implementation of the Programme of Action adopted in 2001 and set a course for future actions to be taken. Although we were fortunate enough to witness the developments I mentioned as well as others described in the Secretary-General's report, we all know that there remain a number of outstanding issues to be addressed. Recognizing how great the stakes are for the Review Conference, Japan will provide its full support to Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka and the president-designate of the Conference, both at the preparatory stage and at the Conference itself.
In an effort to make tangible progress in the field of small arms and light weapons, Japan is of the view that the international rule-making efforts and implementation of small arms-related projects on the ground should be promoted in parallel ("Two Pillar Approach"). Only through the balanced efforts in both areas will it be possible to make real headway on this issue.
With regard to the rule-making efforts, we look forward to the discussion that the group of governmental experts (GGE) on brokering will hold when it is established following the Review Conference. Japan is hoping that the GGE on brokering will produce a good report that will provide a comprehensive picture of the present situation surrounding this issue so that the international community can better address the problem it faces.
In addition, Japan, as a non-arms-exporter in principle, believes it is essential for Member States to strengthen arms transfer control with a view to curbing the unregulated trade in small arms and light weapons. On this front, my delegation is pleased that some encouraging initiatives have been taken, and Japan will continue to participate actively in related discussions.
Just as important as international rule-making efforts is to promote projects on the ground. For the issue of small arms and light weapons to be dealt with effectively, the national and public authorities of affected countries are required to implement and enforce those rules. We have been paying much attention to the state of affairs in this area. In this respect, what will be needed is assistance in the collection and destruction of weapons, and in the development of the capacity of the national and local authorities.
The execution of projects on the ground is of paramount importance. Japan considers that the expertise and experience gained by implementing projects in the field can and should be widely shared with other countries and regions. The idea of collecting best practices is based on this conviction. In this regard, since a number of projects have been carried out by members of civil society, the participation of the NGOs that have been engaged in those activities is indispensable and should be encouraged. Japan welcomes the inclusion of this topic as part of the provisional work programme of the forthcoming Review Conference and hopes that the exercise will serve to enhance understanding of the importance of lessons learned.
We very much hope that the Security Council will continue to pay attention to this cross-cutting issue in the area of international peace and security. We would like to request that the Secretary-General continue to update us with progress reports as he deems necessary.
Finally, I appreciate the efforts you and your team have made, Mr. President, to arrive at a text that Japan believes the Council will be able to adopt soon. My delegation will continue to work constructively with other delegations to sort out outstanding issues.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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