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10 November 2003, Geneva

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished delegates,

At the outset, I would like to extend to you, Ambassador Toth, my warmest congratulations on your assumption of the Chairmanship of this Meeting of the States Parties to the BWC. I am confident that your diplomatic skill and rich experience, particularly in the field of the BWC, will guide us to a fruitful conclusion, and I assure you of my delegation's full support and co-operation. The Government of Japan greatly values the aims of this Meeting, and will make every possible effort to contribute to the strengthening of the BWC.

(Threat awareness and measures necessary for strengthening the BWC)

Mr. Chairman,

Not only has the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) become an imminent threat to international society, but more specifically, in today's environment overshadowed by the 2001 anthrax incidents, bio-terrorism poses a real threat to our daily lives. There is a pressing need for more co-operation and collaboration within the international community to combat such threats for the peace and security of all nations.

(BWC strengthening process and Japan's position)

Mr. Chairman,

Under these circumstances, the Government of Japan wholeheartedly welcomes the adoption by consensus of a three-year programme of work at the resumed meeting of the BWC Review Conference in November last year, representing a great leap forward in the continued efforts by States Parties toward the strengthening of the BWC.

Japan played its modest role in the process that led up to the adoption of the programme of work at the resumed meeting of the Review Conference, and is strongly committed to strengthening the BWC based on this agreement. Japan will continue to cooperate with all States Parties in order to promote the implementation of the programme of work.

The outcome of the resumed meeting of the Review Conference helped international efforts to address BW related threats. For example, in the Asia Pacific region, the APEC Leaders' Statement on Health Security was issued at the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in October this year, confirming that cooperative efforts would be undertaken in the areas targeted by this programme of work. These include action to ensure the physical security of pathogenic microorganisms, to establish a code of ethical and operational conduct for scientists, and to strengthen national laws and enforcement mechanisms.

(Evaluation of the BWC strengthening process)

Mr. Chairman,

In the midst of heightened concern over the use of WMD by non-state actors, the process of strengthening the BWC, based on last year's agreement on the programme of work, presents a new approach to arms control and non-proliferation. That is to say, prohibition and non-proliferation can be pursued through the responsibility of States Parties, even in cases where verification is difficult under existing frameworks. In these cases, States Parties are expected to take full responsibility to enact implementing measures set forth in WMD and non-proliferation-related conventions and regimes. I refer to this as the "Prohibition and Non-Proliferation Responsibility" of States Parties.

To encourage States Parties to realize prohibition and non-proliferation responsibilities, enhancement of a follow-up process is necessary. This process can be best implemented if all States Parties can share a strong sense of ownership and self-reliance towards such efforts.

Such motivation for States Parties to carry out this responsibility can be created, for example, through international conferences which provide a venue for information exchange and reporting. To post a detailed report containing practices of States Parties on a web site and to make it accessible to all States Parties is another effective method. It is also important to support capacity building of States in pursuing non-proliferation responsibilities.

(Objectives for this Meeting)

Mr. Chairman,

The Meeting of Experts held in August this year was the first meeting to take place under the framework of the agreed programme of work. Japan, for its part, submitted national papers to the Meeting and also shared expertise on measures to enhance bio-security, so as to provide material to stimulate discussion. Thanks to the valuable contribution of the Chairman, Ambassador Toth, and numerous participants, the two week Meeting resulted in much lively discussion, leading to a useful conclusion.

The outcome of the August Meeting shows that the said new approach on arms control and non-proliferation is in the making. Each country needs to cooperate closely in order to establish this new approach.

Mr. Chairman,

Outcomes from the Meeting of Experts could be used as a basis for developing discussion during this Meeting of States Parties. In the Meeting of Experts, several common themes surfaced which States Parties must address, despite differences in national legislation systems. The success of this Meeting of States Parties will be determined by the extent to which States Parties are willing to endorse the findings by experts in August and to make a political commitment towards addressing these common themes in the future.

(Japan's approach)

Mr. Chairman,

Japan is committed to making its utmost efforts towards cooperation in enhancing the BWC, including implementing and promoting the programme of work. We have made available a document which contains Japan's BWC Implementing Law and some background information. We hope that it will be useful for those States Parties which are in the process of establishing necessary national legislation to implement the obligations set forth in the BWC.

In order to strengthen the BWC regime, treaty universalization, as well as the enhancement of confidence building measures, are essential. Japan will continue to call for ratification by non-member states and renewed commitment from States Parties.

Mr. Chairman,

As a member of the Asia Pacific region, Japan is also dedicated to strengthening efforts within a regional framework. In September this year, Japan organized a seminar for countries in the Asia Pacific region with the aim of improving crisis management for biological and chemical terrorism. The seminar took up the themes of this year's work programme, namely national legislation and bio-security, and also introduced the outline of the Meeting of Experts. The resulting outcome was very productive, particularly in terms of human resources development and information sharing in this field. Japan plans to convene similar seminars in the next four years and we hope that they will prove useful in further strengthening the BWC process in the future.


Mr. Chairman,

Japan will make a positive contribution to this Meeting of the States Parties to the BWC in order to achieve concrete results. By working together towards a common goal, I am confident that we can succeed in furthering the international aim of a world free from the threat of biological weapons.

Thank you.

Related Information (The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC))

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