Japan and the United Nations

26 September 2013, New York

September 26, 2013
Mr. President, 
Distinguished Delegates, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to begin by expressing my deep gratitude to His Excellency Ambassador Ashe and those who have devoted themselves to the convening of this high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament. It is a true honor for me to address all of you at such an occasion. 
I am from the city of Hiroshima where the first atomic bomb was dropped, and while growing up, I learned about the tragedies caused from the use of nuclear weapons.  Therefore, I possess an immensely strong conviction and determination to dedicate myself to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
This morning during the Opening Session, my Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, expressed his commitment to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. I now would like to elaborate upon that and refer to concrete nuclear disarmament policies of Japan. Japan also wishes to associate itself with the Joint Statement delivered by His Excellency Mr. Frans Timmermans, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, on behalf of the Non-proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI).
Mr. President,
Whenever we deal with nuclear disarmament issues, I believe we need to base our discussions on the following two fundamental beliefs.
First, we should have a clear understanding of the humanitarian consequences caused by the use of nuclear weapons. As the only country to have ever suffered from atomic bombings, it is my country’s mission to pass down the story of the tremendous sufferings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki across borders and throughout generations. Today, I have heard from many states stressing the humanitarian impact of the use of nuclear weapons. We also strongly support the notion that, in further advancing nuclear disarmament, it should be clearly understood that the use of such weapons would bring not only immediate destruction, but also carry long-term unbearable loss and pain to society as well as cause economic devastation for future generations. Japan intends to participate in discussions on the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and to spare no effort to advance such discussions on an inclusive and universal approach for the sake of all states. 
Second, we should recognize the reality of what today’s international community is facing with the increasingly diversifying nuclear risks, such as North Korea and Iran’s nuclear issues and the threat of nuclear terrorism. When advancing nuclear disarmament, Japan believes we should take a sufficiently practical approach to effectively deal with these impending risks.
Mr. President,
Based on these ideas and aiming for a world free of nuclear weapons, I would like to tackle nuclear disarmament by focusing on “three reduction” areas that serve as a realistic and concrete approach towards “a world free of nuclear weapons.” That is, (1) reduction of the number of nuclear weapons, (2) reduction of the role of nuclear weapons, and (3) reduction of the incentive for development and possession of the nuclear weapons. In order to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, it is necessary to begin by improving the transparency of the present state of nuclear arsenal and nuclear doctrine, and then to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in a national security policy. Moreover, since security concerns in a region and the international community generates incentives to develop and possess nuclear weapons, we need to reduce the motivation to develop and possess them through the improvement of such a security environment.
Mr. President,
  With regard to reducing the number of nuclear weapons, I thoroughly support the determination reinvigorated by President Barack Obama of the United States in Berlin in June this year. I expect the Russian Federation and the United States will quickly proceed in further nuclear disarmament negotiations and such a bilateral negotiation will swiftly develop into multilateral negotiations with the participation of other states holding nuclear weapons. Pending the commencement of such a multilateral negotiation, the other states possessing nuclear weapons should commit themselves to continuing their nuclear reduction or at least to not increasing the number of nuclear weapons.
Mr. President,
Japan has made practical proposals and efforts through the NPDI. For instance, concerning the transparency of nuclear arsenals, the NPDI has proposed a draft standard reporting form on nuclear disarmament measures to be issued by the nuclear-weapon states at the next Preparatory Committee of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  This draft standard reporting form was highly receptive from the international community. Japan believes this is an effective suggestion to prevent the increase of nuclear arsenals, particularly when expansions lack in transparency.
Upon these past efforts, I would like to continue to strive for building blocks with a vision to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. As co-chair, together with Australia, I held a Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the NPDI here in New York the day before yesterday and the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment at the political level to propel nuclear disarmament. The next NPDI Foreign Minister’s meeting is envisaged in April 2014 in Hiroshima just before the Third Session of the NPT Preparatory Committee. We will redouble our efforts to make meaningful proposals to the 2015 NPT Review Conference. 
Mr. President,
As Prime Minister Abe referred to this morning in his statement, I invite all of you to renew your will towards a world free of nuclear weapons by directly sensing the aftermath caused by the use of nuclear weapons by visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You can also begin by visiting the permanent exhibition on the atomic bombings in this United Nations building. I would like to conclude my statement by informing you that preparation is on-going, with cooperation from the UN and the City of Hiroshima, to convene an annual UN Disarmament Conference in Hiroshima in 2015 when we will commemorate the 70th year since the atomic bombing.
I thank you, Mr. President.

Back to Japan and the United Nations