Statement by Mr. MATSUDA Iwao,
Special Envoy of the Government of Japan
at the 52nd General Conference of the IAEA

29 September 2008

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 52nd General Conference. I would also like to welcome the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Sultanate of Oman, and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, as new members.

2. Japan's Contribution to the IAEA

Mr. President,

The IAEA is one of the most pivotal international organizations in the maintenance of peace and prosperity for humanity. Japan has been making significant contributions to the Agency's activities as a member of the Board of Governors since the foundation of the Agency, and can be considered a model country in terms of the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The knowledge acquired by Japan in this field has been shared widely and constructively with many developing nations by means of IAEA Technical Cooperation. Adhering to the "Three Non-Nuclear Principles", Japan has also been contributing to the strengthening of the IAEA safeguards system, by sharing its advanced safeguards technology with the IAEA.

Mr. President,

Under the leadership of Director General, Dr. ElBaradei, the Agency has gained an increased level of confidence from - and wider recognition by - the international community. I would like to take this opportunity to express Japan's sincere appreciation to Director General Dr. ElBaradei for his tireless work. As we wish to make further contributions to the enhancement and development of the Agency, the Government of Japan has taken the decision to nominate Mr. Yukiya Amano, Permanent Representative of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna, as a candidate to succeed Dr. ElBaradei as Director General of the IAEA. I truly believe that Ambassador Amano is best suited to take on the role and responsibilities of the Director General, as he has accomplished remarkable achievements and proven his esteemed competence in the areas of the peaceful use of nuclear energy and non-proliferation, including the chairmanships of the 2005-2006 session of the IAEA Board of Governors, and the first session of the NPT Preparatory Committee in 2007 when he contributed to a successful start of the process towards the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Expressing our firm conviction that Ambassador Amano will bring further development to the Agency, I would like to ask all the Member States of the IAEA to support Ambassador Yukiya Amano.

3. Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

Mr. President,

Nuclear energy is one of the most effective means to both ensure a steady energy supply and combat global warming. In the recent years of "Nuclear Renaissance", a growing number of countries have expressed their interest in introducing or expanding nuclear power programmes.

In order to introduce or expand nuclear power programmes in an appropriate manner, it is necessary to ensure 3S, namely non-proliferation/safeguards, nuclear safety and nuclear security. The role of the IAEA in this regard is becoming ever more important. Aiming to raise awareness of the importance of 3S worldwide and assist in the development of 3S and the associated infrastructure, Japan proposed an international initiative on 3S-based nuclear energy infrastructure and launched it at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit July this year. As a follow-up activity to this initiative, Japan, together with the Agency, successfully held a regional seminar on 3S last month in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Furthermore, Japan continues to expand its assistance to those countries planning to introduce nuclear power generation. Japan has, for example, taken the decision to make an additional extra-budgetary contribution to the Agency since this fiscal year, in a bid to support the 3S-related infrastructure development, capacity building and the establishment of a legal framework, through the dispatch of international experts to those countries planning to introduce nuclear power generation.

In light of the need to strengthen the efforts to combat global warming, Japan believes that nuclear power should be eligible for the Clean Development Mechanism. With that in mind, Japan conducts its activities in this field, including the formulation of concrete proposals at the UN Ad Hoc Working Group.

Japan will also continue to participate actively in international initiatives, such as the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), GNEP (Global Nuclear Energy Partnership), INPRO (the IAEA International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles) and ITER (the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactors). Japan will also promote international cooperation in the development of generation IV reactors and medium and small reactors which will contribute to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and nuclear non-proliferation. We also continue to develop the Monju Fast Breeder Reactor, as a basis for research and development of fast breeder reactors.

On the assurance of nuclear fuel supply initiatives, views have been expressed that these may infringe upon the right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We believe that further discussions are needed. Fully taking into account the various views on this matter, Japan announced its proposal on the "IAEA Standby Arrangements System for the Assurance of Nuclear Fuel Supply" at the 50th IAEA General Conference, with a view to establishing an effective framework that would be acceptable to the widest possible range of States. Our aim was to establish a system within the Agency, which would contribute to dispel uncertainties on fuel supply and prevent market disturbance, by registering the supply capacities of Member States in all phases of the whole front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. I believe that Japan's proposal, which I announced here two years ago, is useful for all Member States wishing to enjoy the benefits of nuclear energy, as it contributes to the enhancement of nuclear fuel market transparency. To further deepen this proposal, Japan plans to hold a seminar on fuel market transparency over the course of this fiscal year.

4. Technical Cooperation

Mr. President,

Japan attaches great importance to the IAEA technical cooperation activities. We have continuously contributed 100% of our share to the Technical Cooperation Fund, and have made significant contributions in terms of financial and human resource assistance in the field of the utilization of isotopes in medicine and industry among other areas.

As a member of the RCA (Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training), Japan also contributes to joint research, development and training on nuclear science and technology for developing countries in the Asia - Pacific region. As the chairing country of the RCA, Japan will host a National RCA Representative meeting in Tokyo next April.

Japan has also played an important role in promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in Asia through the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA).

5. Strengthening of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime

Mr. President,

Japan, as the only country that has suffered atomic bombings, is determined to continuously and strenuously appeal to the world for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. The 2010 NPT Review Conference represents an extremely important milestone. The International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, established by Japan and Australia July this year, will commence its activity by holding its first meeting next month. I hope it will present a meaningful and practical recommendation to the Review Conference and contribute to its successful outcome.

Since Japan began utilizing nuclear energy exclusively for peaceful purposes, Japan has ensured international confidence in its activities by maintaining a high level of transparency. As a result, the integrated safeguards system has now been implemented in Japan. And the world's first Site-Level Integrated Safeguards approach was introduced in Japan last month for facilities including a reprocessing plant in the most efficient manner.

The universalization of the Additional Protocol is the most realistic and effective way to strengthen IAEA safeguards. Japan will continue to promote this universalization where possible, and to this end, will continue to host ASTOP (the Asian Senior-level Talks on Non-Proliferation) meetings and IAEA seminars.

Japan attaches great importance to ensuring and improving the independent analytical capabilities of the Agency. With this in mind, Japan made an extra-budgetary contribution to help strengthen the function of the IAEA Safeguards Analytical Laboratory.

The decision taken by Libya to abandon its weapons of mass destruction sets a good and highly-valued precedent. Through these actions, Libya has contributed to international peace and security. As described in the recent Director General's report on Libya and in the first resolution on the implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement of Libya since March 2004, Japan welcomes Libya's active cooperation with the Agency. We should do our utmost to extend our cooperation to Libya so that Libya can become a role model for others to follow.

The international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime must not be weakened by civil nuclear cooperation to India. Japan, as the only country to have suffered the devastation caused by the use of atomic bombings, urges India to take further actions in order to maintain and strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. Japan also continues to urge India to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State, and to sign and ratify the CTBT at the earliest possible date.

The nuclear development undertaken by the DPRK is a threat to the peace and security of not only Japan, but also of East Asia and the entire international community, and represents a serious challenge to the NPT regime. Regarding the Six-Party Talks, the DPRK has not yet agreed to a concrete framework of verifications. Furthermore, the DPRK has halted the disablement and is now carrying out restoration activities at the Yongbyon nuclear facility, including having IAEA's inspectors remove seals and surveillance equipment. We are concerned about the current status. Japan's policy is to comprehensively resolve the outstanding issues concerning the DPRK, including abductions, nuclear and missile issues, and to realize the normalization of relations with the DPRK, through the settlement of unfortunate past. Japan continues to actively work towards a peaceful resolution of nuclear issues within the framework of the Six-Party Talks.

Iran has regrettably continued, and even expanded, its uranium enrichment-related activities in defiance of calls by the international community. In order to remove the concerns of the international community and to gain its confidence, Iran has to fully cooperate with the IAEA and respond sincerely to the requirements set forth by the relevant IAEA Board resolutions and UN Security Council resolutions. Japan continues to work towards a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the issues in concert with the international community.

6. Nuclear Safety and Security

Mr. President,

Ensuring safety is a prerequisite for promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Regarding the effects that last year's earthquake in the Niigata Prefecture had on the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, the fundamental safety functions were ensured following the earthquake. Nevertheless, we are making rigorous efforts to confirm the safety of the reactors, through consultations with the committees composed of relevant experts. In June, Japan hosted an IAEA workshop in the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa region in order to share the lessons learned from this experience. Japan has taken the decision to make a new extra-budgetary contribution in this field, and will actively support the newly established IAEA International Seismic Safety Center.

The safe transport of radioactive material is an essential aspect of the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Based on the right of freedom of navigation under international law, Japan will continue to conduct transport of nuclear materials, while employing the most stringent safety measures in accordance with international standards. Japan will also engage in dialogue with shipping and coastal States, building confidence and enhancing mutual understanding.

Japan has initiated projects to help bolster nuclear security, mainly in the Asian region, with its contribution to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. Japan has also actively been participating in the drafting of IAEA guidelines on nuclear security.

7. Closing Remarks

Mr. President,

The core missions of the IAEA, aimed at enhancing the wellbeing of the global population, continue to grow. I assure you that Japan will play a leading role to further contribute to the IAEA with its knowledge and experience, so that the Agency can fulfill its important missions. In this regard, I would like to ask you again to support Ambassador Yukiya Amano for the post of the next Director General of the Agency.

Thank you for your attention.

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