Second Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects
NY, 11 July 2005
Ambassador Yoshiki Mine
Delegation of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament
At the outset, let me extend my congratulations to you, Mr. Chairman, on your assumption of this very important post. My delegation assures you of its wholehearted support as you undertake the task ahead. I believe this second Biennial Meeting of States is an important step in the lead up to the Review Conference planned for next year, building on the result of steady progress made in the field of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the two years since the 2003 Meeting.
Japan has actively and steadily implemented the SALW Programme of Action (PoA) since its adoption by consensus in 2001. The PoA provides an essential guide for comprehensive efforts to address the multifaceted SALW issue. All states should be making efforts toward the effective implementation of the PoA, and Japan has been playing an active role in this regard within the context of the UN. Since the issue of SALW was first raised in 1995, Ambassador Donowaki acted as the chairman of the "UN Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms" and the "UN Group of Governmental Experts on Small Arms", and Ambassador Inoguchi served as the chairperson of the first UN Biennial Meeting of States on Small Arms and Light Weapons. Furthermore, Japan, together with Colombia and South Africa, has sponsored General Assembly resolutions entitled "The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects", which indicated the steps to be taken in promoting global efforts in this area. We are going to submit the resolution again this year and look forward to consensual support from the member countries. In addition, Japan has contributed to regional and sub-regional efforts to implement the PoA by holding seminars in Almaty, Fiji, Beijing, and other Asian cities, in cooperation with the UN.
One of the measures to gauge the current status of implementation is the submission of reports from member states. In this respect, we would like to point out that we may need to reconsider appropriate contents of the reports, frequency of their submission and other relevant issues, taking into consideration administrative cost and availability of human resources necessary to produce the reports. The upcoming Review Conference will be a good opportunity to examine, among other things, how we can make the best use of the national reports.
In order to tackle the problem of SALW in an efficient and effective manner, Japan would like to emphasize the importance of "two-pillar approach", namely promoting both the projects on the ground and the international rule making efforts, in parallel.
With regard to the first pillar, we will continue to provide assistances to projects for collecting and destroying surplus SALW in affected countries and for capacity building in areas of law enforcement and import/export control. We will also strengthen our efforts to provide aid in the field of conflict prevention and post-conflict recovery processes, which constitute an important element of "peace building", a major focus of Japan's mid-term ODA policy. In this regard, we hope that the international community will render wider support and cooperation to the CASA database project, which is expected to work as a comprehensive database on a variety of aspects of SALW and to provide basic data necessary for the formation and implementation of relevant projects.
Japan intends to promote further cooperation with SALW-affected countries, in particular with African states, through, for example, the UN SALW fund. In this context, Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, has recently announced that Japan will enhance its support to "Consolidation of Peace" in Africa, focusing on human security.
As for the second pillar of promoting international rule making, I would first like to welcome the consensus reached on the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons. Henceforth, it is essential that each state promote international cooperation in tracing and steadily implement this document. By gathering the momentum created by the OEWG on tracing, the Group of Governmental Experts on brokering, which will be established after the Review Conference next year, is also expected to produce a positive outcome. In addition to the international cooperation on tracing and illicit brokering, further actions are needed to strengthen controls over transfer of SALW. Japan does not, in principle, export arms to the other countries in accordance with the relevant laws as well as the Three Principles on Arms Export, and we believe that the international community will make additional efforts to tighten SALW transfers.
I am convinced that the achievement of concrete results on the issue of SALW, along with a show of unity by the international community, will make good progress in multilateralism in the field of disarmament. Japan, for its part, is determined to make even more constructive and active contributions to efforts to curb the problem of SALW in the lead up to the first Review Conference.
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