Remarks by Mr. Hitoshi KIMURA,
Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan,
at the Reception on the occasion of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Maritime Interdiction Exercise
"Pacific Shield 07"

October 12th, 2007, YOKOSUKA

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to express my gratitude to all of you for attending this reception. In particular, I would like to welcome participants who have traveled a long way to the PSI Maritime Interdiction Exercise "Pacific Shield 07" hosted by Japan. My special welcome also goes to many observers who agreed to come.

The fact that so many of you have gathered here today shows the keen interest of the international community in countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

I also wish to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the local authorities and people of YOKOSUKA City and YOKOHAMA City. I would also like to thank Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology for the kind offer of their vessel for the Exercise. The hard work of the related ministries and agencies are of course essential in making this Exercise a success. This Exercise would not have been possible without the work and support of the all I just mentioned, and many more others.

Distinguished guests,

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, missiles and their related materials poses a serious threat to the peace and stability of the international community. PSI is an international effort to halt the proliferation. Japan has been actively participating in the PSI since it started in 2003.

In October 2004, Japan hosted its first PSI Maritime Interdiction Exercise "Team Samurai 04". And today marks the start of our second PSI Exercise "Pacific Shield 07".

In this Exercise, we have larger participants and wider range of activities compared to our Exercise in 2004. Australia, France, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States are participating in the Exercise and we have observers from 40 countries.

Also, a public Navy Ships Tours will be held on Sunday. This event will promote international exchange and understanding of the PSI by general public.

Distinguished guests,

It is my firm belief that by holding this Exercise together, we can demonstrate the strong will and determination of the international community to tackle proliferation.

I also believe that this Exercise will be an excellent opportunity for all the participants and observers to deepen the understanding about the goal and activities of the PSI.

We can also promote cooperation among countries and related agencies through the Exercise. Japan will continue its utmost efforts and work with all of you to contribute to further development of the PSI.

Distinguished guests,

Now let me conclude my remarks by proposing a toast to the great success of this Exercise.
So, to the success of this Exercise, kanpai!

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