(As delivered)

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Kenzo Oshima
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Informal Thematic Consultation of the General Assembly
On Cluster II (Freedom from Fear)

22 April 2005
New York

Mr. Chairperson,

Issues grouped together under Cluster II - "freedom from fear" - relate to the concerns and interests of every state and individual since, as the Secretary-General's report makes plain, the various threats to humanity in today's globalized world are increasingly interrelated and indivisible. No one country therefore can completely shield itself from the impact of those threats, and the international collective security system of which the UN is the ultimate guarantor must be updated to address those contemporary challenges effectively. In my remarks today, I will touch on four issues that in our view should be adequately addressed in the run-up to the September summit.

Mr. Chairperson,

First, on terrorism, we highly appreciate the comprehensive strategy presented by the Secretary-General in his report and its five pillars, or the "five D's" (dissuade, deny, deter, develop and defend), and believe that the September summit should affirm them. Japan also welcomes that the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism was adopted at the plenary of the General Assembly last week. We further support the Secretary-General's call for the conclusion of a comprehensive convention on terrorism before the end of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly, and believe that, at the September summit, Member states should renew their political will to that end. We should continue efforts to join and implement the thirteen existing terrorism-related conventions as well.

Mr. Chairperson,

Secondly, the existing non-proliferation regime that is built around the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is faced with grave challenges today. On the one hand, we must ensure that the NPT will continue to serve as the foundation for the maintenance of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and to that end, we have to plug the treaty's loopholes and enhance its effectiveness. For example, the Secretary-General proposes universal adoption of the Additional Protocol. This is the most realistic and effective step for strengthening the non-proliferation regime, and for that reason, we have already been individually calling on other countries which have not done so to join the Additional Protocol. So far only 90 states have signed, including 65 ratifications. We hope to see these numbers grow through the enhanced commitment of all countries concerned.

At the same time, nuclear disarmament must also be vigorously pursued, since it is the other main obligation under the NPT. The Secretary-General has called for an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty as well as swift negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty. Japan has been supporting both of these undertakings, and hopes that they will materialize soon.

How to strike a balance between the right of peaceful use of nuclear energy and the need for nuclear non-proliferation is an important yet sensitive question. It is essential to examine whether the "multilateral nuclear approach" will not unduly affect the peaceful use of nuclear energy by those non-nuclear-weapon states that carry out nuclear activities in faithful and transparent compliance with their NPT obligations and therefore enjoy the full confidence of the international community.

The NPT Review Conference scheduled for May in New York will be a critically important moment for the further enhancement of the credibility of the NPT regime. In our work leading up to the September summit, we should reaffirm that the international community as a whole would benefit from a strengthened international framework for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation that enjoys enhanced authority and credibility. Combined with efforts in other areas, such as the counter-terrorism effort, this will make an important contribution toward promoting international peace and security.

Mr. Chairperson,

Thirdly, on the proposed Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), broad agreement appears to have emerged on the establishment of a PBC in the course of our debate at the General Assembly since January, and a decision on its establishment should be taken at the September summit. On the specifics, however, further examination is needed. Such matters as location, mandate, reporting line, membership, a standing fund, a support office and so on require further study. We therefore welcome the Secretary-General's recent explanatory note regarding the PBC, which will facilitate our discussions on these elements. As preliminary comments I would like to offer the following, hoping to be able to contribute more upon careful study of the note later on.

Concerning the issue of the location of the PBC, the Secretary-General has taken comments from Member states into account and given an appropriate role to ECOSOC, thus modifying the original High-level Panel proposal to establish the PBC as a subsidiary organ under the Security Council. Among the various options is one that would make the PBC a joint forum comprising members from both the Security Council and ECOSOC, instead of placing it wholly under a single organ, given that issues involved in peacebuilding normally relate to the respective mandates of the Security Council and ECOSOC as well as of other organs covering economic and social areas in a continuum.

Furthermore, we agree with the Secretary-General that the PBC should focus primarily on post-conflict situations. We are also of the view that the PBC should be constituted essentially as a consultative and advisory body. Concerning the reporting line, the Secretary-General recommends that the PBC should report sequentially to the Security Council and ECOSOC, depending on the state of recovery. It has also been suggested that the two Councils consult with each other to determine when the transfer should take place, but further discussion is needed on this specific aspect for greater clarity. To ensure the effective functioning of the PBC, it might be worth considering having top-level coordination by the Presidents of the Security Council and ECOSOC, and, as appropriate, the President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General or his representative.

With respect to the membership, we support the Secretary-General's idea to include as core members a subset of Security Council members, a similar number of ECOSOC members, leading troop contributors and major donors to a standing fund for peacebuilding. We also welcome the proposal in the explanatory note that the size of the PBC should be kept reasonably small.

On the establishment of a standing fund to support peacebuilding efforts, Japan will positively study the Secretary-General's proposal.

Finally, we welcome the Secretary-General's proposal for a small but high-quality Peacebuilding Support Office that would assist the PBC's activities effectively and efficiently. We also welcome and agree that the support office should work with the UN field presence, as coordination between the PBC and field activities will be critically important.

Mr. Chairperson,

Fourthly, with respect to the use of force, the Secretary-General presented an idea with five possible criteria, and recommended that they be adopted by a Security Council resolution. We attach importance to the matter of legitimacy of the use of force under Chapter 7 of the Charter, and commend the Secretary-General for offering this idea. We should, however, study fully how setting out such criteria would affect deliberations at the Security Council. We look forward to continued discussions on this matter with member states.

Mr. Chairperson,

In conclusion, I would like to stress that today's consultation marks only the beginning of our concrete discussions on the critical subject of freedom from fear. Japan will continue to be open to the views of other Member states, so that, through our dialogue, the September summit will produce the highest-quality end product.

Thank you.

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