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The Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World: the Second Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction

Statement by H.E. Mr. Akio Suda
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Japan
To the Conference on Disarmament

Cartagena, 4 December 2009

Madame President,
Distinguished state representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my honor to address, on behalf of the Government of Japan, the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Convention. I would like to express the heartfelt gratitude of my Government to the Government of Colombia for its warmest hospitality. I should like, also, to pay tribute to the President of the Review Conference, Ambassador Susan Eckey of Norway, and her team as well as the Implementation Support Unit for the very intensive preparatory work and excellent conduct of this Conference.

Madame President,

Over the past ten years since its entry into force, the real success of the Mine Ban Convention can be found in its immense achievements on the ground. It has served the international community, including States Parties, non-States Parties, international organizations and civil societies, as a framework for pursuing solutions in a cooperative spirit to the threat, suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel mines. We should commend all for their dedications for a safer world from anti-personnel mines. Let us, today here in Cartagena, reaffirm our commitment to the mine ban and to humanitarian mine action.

Japan has been urging the governments of non-States Parties to accede to the Convention in the interest of universalizing its norms for the last ten years. Japan has also been playing an active role in mine action assistance through international cooperation. We have been contributing to a wide range of areas including mine clearance, victim assistance and mine risk education, while giving due consideration to the differing needs and conditions of each affected country. For the period up to the First Review Conference, Japan's assistance amounted to 150 million US dollars. Today, that figure has doubled to more than 400 million. Over the next five years, we shall continue to make such steady contributions to assist mine action on the ground.

Madame President,

From our past assistance activities, Japan has learned three valuable lessons. They are partnership, participation and comprehensive approach.

First, partnership. In order to make an effective contribution, strong partnership with affected countries as well as mine victims is an essential factor on designing and implementing valuable assistances. For instance, Japanese experts were dispatched to the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC). They have built very close working relationship with CMAC staff to make it sure that Japan's assistance well accords with the National Mine Action Strategic Plan developed by the Government of Cambodia itself. In assisting Colombia's efforts to tackle their problems concerning mines, Japan has taken an initiative to coordinate international support with the Presidential Program for Comprehensive Action against Antipersonnel Mines (PAICMA). Our aid project for UXOs affected community in Lebanon is another example of our efforts to forge partnerships on the ground. We have established dialogue with affected communities, through which a variety of community-led workshops and vocational training courses were undertaken, thereby contributing to sustainable peace and stability in the post-clearance areas. Furthermore, Japan is also promoting South-South or triangle cooperation scheme in our mine assistance. As a good example, in 2009 Japan extended financial and technical assistance to PAICMA of Colombia for its project to strengthen its organizational structure. This project was conducted through South-South cooperation by receiving actual help from CMAC of Cambodia, which has extensive experience and knowledge in management and policy implementation.

Second, participation. Sustainable assistance is only possible with the participation of a wide range of actors, such as civil society, the media and private corporations. This is not only the case for activities in affected countries, but also for countries in a position to provide assistance. In Japan, a number of private corporations undertake various events for raising awareness of landmine issues and raising funds. Some corporations contribute the same amount that is raised in these events from their own profits, and donate these funds to mine action activities in affected countries. As a notable effort by an individual person, a first class marathon runner of Japan has long been engaged in fund-raising. She is carrying on an annual charity marathon since 1998, and contributes its proceeds to projects in mine-affected countries.

Third, comprehensive approach. The maximum effect of assistance can be realized by placing mutually relevant projects of mine clearance, victim assistance and development works all into one strategy. Such a comprehensive approach enables it possible effectively to promote sustainable development of communities, the protection of human security, and the peace-building. For example, the Government of Japan assisted Bosnia Herzegovina in its mine clearance work. But additionally, we supported also the launching of small-scale enterprises through micro-finance to help create a sustainable community in a region.

Some heavy engineering companies of Japan are doing the same in affected countries. They combine their demining activities carried out with machines they manufactured and donated with community development projects. In addition to heir assistance to demining in Angola, roads were constructed to link affected villages. In Cambodia, schools were built, farm land was developed and chicken farm was set up.

Madame President,

It is Japan's intention to advance its mine action activities, having those lessons learned in mind.

With tens of millions of landmines still buried around the world and thousands of people being either killed or maimed every year, we must recognize that our common endeavor of realizing "zero new victims" has only just begun. Thus, now is not the time to succumb to "assistance fatigue" or slip into a "support rut". Let us recall the words of the Cartagena Declaration, "As long as people remain at risk, we are compelled to do more to achieve our goal." In this connection, Japan once again calls upon all States not parties, especially the countries that maintain large stockpiles of anti-personnel mine, to accede to the Convention. We also appeal to all the States to take full and steady measures to strengthen their implementation of their commitments toward the mine ban.

I thank you.

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