Chapter II.
Sectoral Analysis of the International Situation and Japan's Foreign Policy

Section 1.
Ensuring peace and stability

B. Strengthening arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation

The danger of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, including missiles as their delivery means, still remains after the end of the Cold War, and arms control and disarmament in these areas, as well as the strengthening of non-proliferation regimes, require the attention of the international community as a whole. In 1998, incidents such as the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan and the North Korean missile launch strongly impressed the international community with the need to strengthen efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles. At the same time, conventional weapons such as anti-personnel landmines and small arms have become the main weapons used in the regional conflicts which have mushroomed in the post-Cold War period, and are also obstructing post-conflict reconstruction. Based on this situation, international efforts are also being enhanced in the area of conventional weapons.

1. Weapons of mass destruction

a) Nuclear weapons

  • Response to the threat of nuclear proliferation in South Asia

    The nuclear tests conducted by India and then Pakistan in May were seen as a serious challenge to efforts by the international community toward nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Japan coordinated with the G8 members and other parties to respond to these nuclear tests, demonstrating international initiative in, for example, submitting a joint resolution to the UN Security Council aimed at maintaining and strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime (adopted as Security Council Resolution 1172), proposing the establishment of a task force at the G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting, and calling for the convention of the Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (Chapter I, B.1).

  • Toward maintaining and strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

    With the accession of Brazil in September, the number of countries party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty reached 187, with the NPT remaining the central pillar in international efforts toward nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and efforts must be made to maintain and further enhance this regime. Efforts also continue to strengthen and improve the efficiency of IAEA safeguards, concrete means of preventing nuclear proliferation (Chapter II, Section 3. F).

  • Toward early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

    Of the 44 countries whose ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is conditional on its entry into force, India, Pakistan and North Korea have yet to sign, but India and Pakistan have indicated a positive attitude in, for example, addresses by both leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, with ratification expected by September 1999. Japan has implemented the "CTBT Ratification Promotion Initiative" toward early CTBT ratification, including issuance by Foreign Minister Koumura of official letters urging the relevant countries to ratify the treaty. The Article XIV conference to promote the ratification process may be held in autumn 1999, and it will be important to continue to work to increase the number of ratifiers and ensure the treaty's early entry into force.

  • Launching of Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty Negotiations

    Next in line to the CTBT as a measure toward multilateral nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament is the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (a treaty prohibiting the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons). While differences in views among the various countries in regard to nuclear disarmament have prevented the launching of negotiations, a change in the previously negative stances of India and Pakistan led the Geneva Disarmament Conference to decide in August to establish a special committee for negotiation of this treaty. As a country which has continued to work toward the initiation of treaty negotiations, Japan will continue to contribute positively toward the smooth progress of negotiations and their early conclusion.

  • UN General Assembly Resolution: Laying out a course to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation

    At the Fifty-Third General Assembly of the United Nations, Japan presented a draft resolution on "Nuclear Disarmament with a view to the Ultimate Elimination of Nuclear Weapons," seeking further nuclear disarmament by nuclear weapon states and laying out a course for future nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. This proposal included early entry into force of the CTBT, early conclusion of the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty negotiations, early entry into force of Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) II and early launching and conclusion of START III negotiations; it also called for multilateral discussion on future nuclear disarmament-related measures and negotiations among the five nuclear weapon states toward the reduction of nuclear capabilities. While it was not easy to win the cooperation of the nuclear weapon states, the consequent adoption of this resolution with the support of 160 countries (0 opposed, 11 abstaining, including India, Pakistan and North Korea), all nuclear weapon states included, was extremely significant in indicating the united position of the international community in regard to the course toward nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

  • Cooperation toward the implementation of nuclear disarmament

    With weapons of mass destruction being reduced through, for example, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) process, the following tasks are taking on a growing importance in terms of promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation: the dismantling of nuclear weapons, the management and disposal of fissile materials produced by this dismantling, prevention of fissile material smuggling, and prevention of the outflow of scientists who were involved in the development of weapons of mass destruction during the Cold War era. Japan is also advancing concrete cooperation with Russia and other countries in these areas.

  • Nuclear-related export management regimes

    The Nuclear Suppliers Group, which was founded in response to India's nuclear tests in 1974, launched its activities by adopting the guidelines on export control of nuclear materials and facilities and related technologies, but the scope of control was later expanded to include dual-use items and technologies. The regime's activities have been enhanced through, for example, expansion of the number of participating countries to 35. Japan has taken on the function of the NSG secretariat.

b) Biological weapons

The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) comprehensively prohibits activities such as development, production, stockpiling, and transfer of biological and toxic weapons, but unlike the Chemical Weapons Convention, it has no verification system. Since January 1995, therefore, work has been underway on the creation of a new legally binding instrument which includes verification measures. An informal Ministerial Meeting was held in New York in September, adopting a declaration expressing countries' determination to conclude the negotiation as soon as possible. Deliberations are currently underway toward conclusion of work at the earliest possible date before 2001, the crucial point being the extent to which countries can converge toward an effective verification regime. In addition, the Australia Group (AG), launched in 1985 when it emerged that Iraq had used chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war, is an export control regime aimed at the non-proliferation of chemical and biological weapons, and continues to play an important role in complementing the BWC and the CWC (see following paragraph).

c) Chemical weapons

While North Korea and some Middle East countries have not yet adhered to the CWC, which entered into force in April 1997, the Convention now has 125 States Parties, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) conducted around 280 inspections in total 1998. The Chemical Weapons Production Facility in Japan, known as Satian No. 7, originally owned by a religious group, the Aum-Shinrikyo, was destroyed, and an OPCW inspection was conducted to confirm it in December 1998. Japan has been extending support for the operation of OPCW by dispatching Japanese staff to take up such important posts as Director of the Inspectorate Division in the Technical Secretariat, and will continue to work together with other countries to boost the universality and effectiveness of the Convention. (See previous paragraph on chemical weapon-related export management regimes.)

d) Missiles as delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction

A series of missile launches conducted in 1998 by Pakistan, Iran and North Korea posed a serious threat not only to the stability of the region but also to the peace of the international community as a whole. Japan communicated its concern to these countries and took various opportunities to appeal for self-restraint with regard to missile-related activities. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), in which 32 countries participate, is also playing an important role in responding to missile proliferation problems in Northeast and South Asia and the Middle East as the only multilateral framework with the objective of preventing the proliferation of missiles as delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction. Japan was the Chair of the MTCR for the year from October 1997 to September 1998.

2. Conventional weapons

a) Conventional weapons in general

  • United Nations Register of Conventional Arms

    As a result of the initiative taken by Japan and the EC, the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms was established in January 1992 for the purpose of enhancing the transparency and openness of armaments. Every year, Japan and more than 90 other states report on exports and imports of conventional weapons in seven categories, such as battle tanks and combat aircraft. Japan is playing a major role in the operation of the Register by, for example, urging those countries not yet participating to do so.

  • Wassenaar Arrangement (WA)

    The end of the Cold War brought the termination of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), designed to control the outflow of strategic goods and technologies to communist countries. However, strong awareness of the need for an international export control regime on conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies, from the perspective of preventing regional instability, resulted in the establishment of the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) in July 1996. Under the WA, information exchanges on the transfer of conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies and on regions of concern have been strengthened, along with policy coordination among member countries, such as on restraint of arms exports to regions in conflict.

b) Anti-personnel landmines

Regarding anti-personnel landmines, Japan announced the "Zero Victims Program," recognizing that it is essential to take a comprehensive approach which includes realization of a universal and effective ban on anti-personnel landmines and the strengthening of demining and victim assistance, and has been actively making efforts to achieve the goal of zero victims.

In terms of a landmine ban, the Ottawa Convention, which bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines and makes their destruction obligatory, was concluded by Japan in September 1998 with Diet approval. The treaty went into force on 1 March 1999, and Japan intends to work toward ensuring treaty universality and effectiveness. In addition, Japan will work with the relevant countries at the Geneva Disarmament Conference toward the early initiation of negotiations on a treaty banning the transfer of anti-personnel landmines, which could well garner the participation of countries unlikely to conclude the Ottawa Treaty in the near future.

With regard to demining and victim assistance, Japan put the "Zero Victims Program" into practice by extending financial cooperation for demining activities in countries such as Cambodia, Mozambique and Croatia, and also supporting the setting up of the Mine Action Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Japan also contributed assistance through NGOs in the areas of mine awareness and victim assistance, while it sent a project formulation study mission to Cambodia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to explore the possibility of further cooperation with these countries. Further, in October 1998, the Phnom Penh International Forum on Demining and Victim Assistance was hosted by the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), with Japan's across-the-board assistance, including financial and organizational aspects. In the forum, participants showed the principles of "ownership" (mine affected countries should play a key role in regard to landmine issues) and "partnership" (donor countries, international organizations and NGOs should extend cooperation to mine affected countries, tackling these issues in the spirit of partnership), as advocated at the Tokyo Conference on Anti-Personnel Landmines, and also recognized the importance of sharing experiences on demining and victim assistance among mine affected countries (South-South cooperation).

c) Small arms

Small arms, such as pistols, machine guns, portable launchers of anti-tank missiles and other comparatively light weapons have become the main weapons used in the conflicts of recent years. Japan has been taking various initiatives to address the issue of small arms. For example, as in 1995 and 1997, in 1998, Japan again submitted to the UN General Assembly a draft resolution promoting efforts on the small arms issue, and has been acting as the Chair of the UN Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms. In 1998, the UN General Assembly decided to convene an international conference no later than 2001, and preparations for the conference are expected to go ahead, with the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Small Arms as a focal point.

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