Signing of the Total Ban Treaty on Anti-Personnel Mines
December 4, 1997
- The signing of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction was done by Japanese Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi as the representative of Japan on December 3 (Japan Time: 4) in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.
- This Convention was drawn up through the "Ottawa Process", which started with the International Conference on Anti-Personnel Mines held in Ottawa under the auspices of the Canadian Government. Through a series of international meetings such as the Vienna Conference held in February this year and the Brussels Conference, in June this year, the draft Convention was adopted this September at the Diplomatic Conference with the official attendance of 89 countries, in Oslo, Norway.
- Anti-personnel mines which were laid during conflicts and remain buried in areas of the world not only create great humanitarian problems by maiming civilians indiscriminately, but also severely hinder the postwar rehabilitation in these areas. This Convention is considered very significant for the whole international society to solve these problems.
- Mr. Obuchi made a speech on Japan's position prior to signing the Convention. The gist of the speech is as follows:
(1) He appealed for a comprehensive approach to pursue the creation of a universal and effective treaty and to make further efforts in demising and helping victims, so that the generations who follow us in the 21st century will be able to live in a world free from the threats of landmines. (2) He expressed a hope that as many countries as possible will sign the Ottawa Treaty, and stressed that treaty negotiation should be started as early as possible at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. (3) He said Japan would continue to tackle actively the problem of small arms, which requires similar attention as paid to anti-personnel landmines. (4) He announced that by a contribution on the order of 10 billion yen over five years, Japan would provide equipment and technology for landmine clearance and extend support for a conference in Cambodia of countries suffering from landmines. He also referred to Japan's decision not to apply to equipment meant for assisting mine clearance any control based on the three principles concerning the export of arms. (5) He designated these efforts for solving the problem the "Zero Victim Program" and appealed to other countries for cooperation.
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