Statement by Mr. NAKAGAWA Yoshio
Senior Vice-Minister for Cabinet Office
at the 51st General Conference of the IAEA

17 September, 2007

1. Opening Address

Mr. President, Mr. Director General, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to congratulate you, Mr. President, on your election as President of the 51st General Conference. I would also like to welcome the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of Cape Verde, the Republic of Congo, and Nepal, who are expected to become members of the IAEA.

As the IAEA just celebrated its 50th Anniversary last July, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to Director General, Dr. ElBaradei, and the IAEA staff whose work has greatly contributed to the development of the Agency.

Mr. President,
On July 16, a powerful earthquake hit the Chuetsu Region in Niigata Prefecture. It was named the Niigata Chuetsu-Oki Earthquake. The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, located very near to the epicenter, experienced a violent shake. All the operating nuclear reactors had been shut down safely as designed and there was no effect on the surrounding environment. However, some of the plant's non-safety related constructions, systems, and components were largely affected. More detailed inspections by the Japanese authorities are ongoing and the re-evaluation of the seismic safety for every nuclear power plant unit is being performed.

I believe that it is our duty as one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries to share the lessons learned from this experience internationally and to contribute to the further enhancement of safety measures. This is why Japan decided to receive the IAEA Expert Mission last month. We are most grateful for the prompt report we received based on the detailed observations it performed.

Japan will provide relevant information and share lessons learned at the upcoming Senior Regulators Meeting. We also plan to hold an international experts workshop. Japan is determined to continue to do its utmost to enhance international nuclear safety.

2. The Role of the IAEA and Japan's Contribution in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

Mr. President,
In recent years, in view of increasing energy demand and global warming, the introduction of nuclear power generation is expected to expand worldwide as a pivotal means to ensure steady energy supply and to combat global warming.

In May this year, Japanese Prime Minister Abe introduced his new proposal called "Cool Earth 50" to address global warming. It is mentioned in the proposal that Japan will promote international efforts to expand safe and peaceful uses of nuclear power, and to provide assistance such as infrastructure development for introduction of nuclear power to developing countries, with a view to establishing an effective post-2012 international framework.

In introducing or expanding the use of nuclear energy, it is essential to fully ensure nuclear non-proliferation, safety and security. From this perspective, the role of the IAEA has become even more important. The IAEA is currently preparing a document, entitled "Milestones in the Development of a National Nuclear Power Infrastructure," which provides guidelines for infrastructure development when introducing nuclear power generation. Japan highly appreciates this timely work of the IAEA.

International cooperation, through bilateral or multilateral information exchange and experience sharing, or through the relevant international organization, needs to be promoted in order to make effective use of the knowledge and results gained through nuclear science technology. I feel confident that the technology and experiences Japan has acquired over the years in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy can be usefully shared in order to maintain and strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation, safety, and security.

Next year, Japan will start to develop safe, reliable and cost-effective next generation light-water reactors in earnest. Japan will also continue to participate actively in international frameworks such as Generation IV International Forum (GIF), Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), the IAEA International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO), and to promote international cooperation in developing generation IV reactors and medium and small reactors which contribute to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and nuclear non-proliferation. Yesterday, the GNEP Statement of Principle was signed at GNEP Ministerial Meeting, attended by a number of new partners. Now, cooperation under this new framework is about to start.

Japan, in cooperation with the IAEA, provides assistance for infrastructure development necessary to secure nuclear non-proliferation, safety, and security, to those countries planning to introduce nuclear power generation, such as Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Vietnam.

Japan makes a considerable contribution to the Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training (RCA) and also supports the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA), in light of the important role which they perform. The FNCA is a framework to facilitate voluntary cooperation among the countries in the region through the equal partnership. It plays an important role in promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in the Asian region. Japan actively supports cooperation through such regional frameworks.

As a citizen of the only country that has suffered atomic bombings, I hold the firm belief that nuclear weapons should never be used again. Nuclear energy, if used with caution and reason, can bring us the blessings of more comfortable, affluent living. Japan has strictly limited the use of nuclear energy to peaceful purposes since the enactment of the Atomic Energy Basic Law in 1955 upon the introduction of nuclear power. Since then, we have come a long way to gain international confidence through, among others, faithful implementation of the IAEA safeguards agreement concluded in 1977, the early conclusion of the Additional Protocol, and implementation of integrated safeguards. In Japan, further utilization of nuclear energy is expected, as seen in the progress for starting the industrial operation of the Rokkasho large-scale commercial reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture. Japan continues to uphold its established policy on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy through the strict application of safeguards.

3. Strengthening of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime

Mr. President,
The international community currently faces a number of serious challenges, such as the nuclear issues concerning the DPRK and Iran, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, and the threat of nuclear terrorism. Nuclear proliferation is a threat to international peace and security and there is a pressing need to strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.

The First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference was held here in Vienna from April to May this year, under the chairmanship of the Resident Representative of Japan, Ambassador Amano. Despite some difficulties, we reached common recognition of the need to promote all three pillars of the NPT, namely nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The Committee thus made a good start toward the success of the 2010 Review Conference. It was an important step in reinforcing the NPT regime.

The strengthening of the IAEA safeguards system is vital to reinforcing the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Japan believes that universalization of the Additional Protocol is the most realistic and effective way to achieve this objective. We have been conducting various activities to this end, focusing on the Asian region. Recent examples include the IAEA safeguards regional seminar held in Sydney in July last year and the National Seminar on Additional Protocol held in Hanoi, Vietnam, last month in cooperation with Australia and the IAEA. I am pleased to learn that the Government of Vietnam signed the Additional Protocol last month. Progress has been made in universalization, with the number of the countries who have concluded the Additional Protocol increasing from 39 to 83 over the last three years. I would like to take this opportunity to call upon those States that have not yet concluded an Additional Protocol to do so as soon as possible.

Mr. President,
The nuclear test proclaimed by the DPRK in October last year, combined with its buildup of ballistic missiles capabilities, is a threat to the peace and security of not only Japan but also East Asia and the entire international community, and represents a serious challenge to the NPT regime. In this respect, it is important that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718 is steadily implemented. The Initial Actions agreed at the Six-Party Talks, including the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facility, have been implemented. We are currently discussing the "next phase." Japan continues to actively work towards a peaceful resolution of nuclear issues within the framework of the Six-Party Talks, with a view to resolving outstanding issues concerned with the DPRK, including abductions, nuclear and missile issues, and realizing the normalization of relations with the DPRK. Japan has made a positive contribution to the Agency's monitoring and verification activities in the DPRK.

Mr. President,
Iran's continuation and expansion of uranium enrichment-related activities in defiance of calls from the international community has been much regretted. Japan hopes that Iran will sincerely cooperate with the IAEA in order to resolve the "outstanding issues." It should be noted, however, that resolving these outstanding issues alone will not remove all concern held by the international community regarding Iran's nuclear program. Iran has to make further efforts to restore the confidence of the international community by responding sincerely to the requirements set forth by the relevant IAEA Board resolutions and UN Security Council Resolutions, including the suspension of uranium enrichment-related activities and heavy-water related program, as well as the ratification and implementation of the Additional Protocol. Japan continues to work for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the issue in concert with the international community.

Mr. President,
A number of proposals have been presented regarding the assurance of nuclear fuel supply, which aims to promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy while ensuring non-proliferation requirements. Japan also presented its proposal with a view to contributing to the development of a possible new framework which is effective and widely acceptable to Member States. Japan appreciates the submission of a report by Director General last June, which was prepared based on these proposals. Japan looks forward to substantive discussions at the IAEA, and will continue to take active part in such discussions.

4. Measures against Nuclear Terrorism

Mr. President,
It is imperative that the international community collectively address the issue of nuclear security in order to counter the threat of nuclear terrorism. From this viewpoint, Japan welcomes the entry into force of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. I am pleased to inform you that in August this year Japan became a state party to this Convention. We are also conducting internal consultations for an early conclusion of the Amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. In November last year, Japan hosted an IAEA seminar on strengthening nuclear security in the Asian region, utilizing its contribution to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. Japan will continue to actively participate in the Agency's activities in this field.

The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GI) announced by U.S. and Russian Presidents in July last year acknowledges the importance of the Agency's role and activities in the field of nuclear security. Since its inception, Japan has supported this Initiative and has participated actively as an initial partner. Japan will continue to work together with the international community regarding measures against nuclear terrorism, including the Global Initiative, taking into account the important role of the IAEA in this area.

5. Nuclear Safety

Mr. President,
Ensuring safety is the fundamental precondition for promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. High-level policy dialogue and a peer review among the regulatory authorities of the countries with advanced nuclear safety regulations are useful in this respect. Japan received an IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team last June. We are pleased to share the result of the review with nuclear power user countries and contribute to enhancing nuclear safety internationally.

Last year, the evaluation of comprehensive checks on power generation facilities was conducted in Japan and its results and responses were compiled last April. It was part of our continuing effort since 2003 to strengthen safety regulations in order to prevent a recurrence of data falsification at power generation facilities of utilities. We will continue to do our utmost to ensure nuclear safety.

Mr. President,
The safe transport of radioactive material is essential for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Based on the right of freedom of navigation under the international law, Japan has conducted such transport, while employing the most stringent safety measures in accordance with the international standards, and will continue to do so. Japan also engages in dialogue with shipping and coastal states, building confidence and enhancing mutual understanding. We hope that the usefulness of such constructive dialogue as well as the Agency's valuable activities in this area will be further recognized in other international organizations such as the United Nations.

6. IAEA Budget

Mr. President,
The role of the IAEA in ensuring international peace and security is increasing more than ever. Thus, it is an important task to consider various ways and means of ensuring continuing support for the Agency's activities against the background of the serious budgetary constraint of donor countries. Japan will follow closely the study of the next 10 year-budgetary requirements and the work of a high-level panel of experts proposed by Director General. We urge the Secretariat to make efficient use of the budget through project prioritization and cost reduction, making full use of its management know-how.

7. Closing Remarks

Mr. President,
With many difficult issues accumulating, the importance of the IAEA can only grow. I assure you of Japan's continued support for the IAEA in fulfilling its important mission.

Thank you for your attention.

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