Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone's Speech on the Occasion of the Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference
December 3, 2008
Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great honor and pleasure to attend this Signing Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. My special gratitude goes to the Government of the Kingdom of Norway for their hospitality and their hard work in organizing this Conference.
(Development of the idea of weapons regulations)
Realizing a peaceful world free from conflicts has been one of the greatest challenges in human history. Sadly, we are yet to eradicate conflicts from this earth. However, the ideas to protect non-combatants and limit means of warfare started to take root with time. Humanitarian considerations have compelled the international community to regulate certain weapons, even if those weapons were possessed by a number of countries as effective means of war.
(Necessity to consider reconstruction after conflicts)
To realize peace in the international community, it is increasingly regarded as insufficient to understand armed conflicts just as collisions between weapons. We should keep in perspective a way of rebuilding countries after armed conflicts. This idea is embodied in the Anti-personnel Landmine Ban Convention, and further in this very Convention on Cluster Munitions that is signed today. This Convention is a manifestation of the fact that the attitude of the human-beings towards armed conflicts has entered into a new phase. In this sense, the Convention on Cluster Munitions is an epoch-making treaty. Attaching great importance to the international peace building after armed conflicts, Japan joined the adoption of the Convention, and I am here today to sign the Convention.
Reconstructing countries devastated by armed conflicts requires assistance from other countries. This Convention strengthens such international cooperation, including victim assistance. Aiming at contributing proactively to world peace and prosperity, Japan will continue assistance to prevent innocent children and civilians from falling victim to the harm caused by cluster munitions. Japan takes humanitarian concerns arising from landmines and other explosive remnants of war seriously, and has given assistance to 38 countries, amounting to about three hundred million US dollars, since 1998.
Japan contributes to the clearance of unexploded ordnance in those countries that are affected by cluster munitions, including Lebanon, Laos, Cambodia, and Afghanistan, paying close attention to cluster munition victims. This assistance is expected to amount to around seven million US dollars, including the projects which are on-going or decided recently.
Especially in Southeast Asia, many countries are still suffering from severe damage caused by landmines or cluster munitions. On the other hand, it is encouraging to see various forms of cooperation are under way, attempting to heal the agony of affected local people. I myself had been supporting a Japanese NGO engaged in demining in the Thai-Cambodian border region. I visited the site and witnessed activities of Japanese staff of the NGO collaborating with local people. The visit made me realize the importance of cooperation at the grassroots level. At the same time, I keenly felt that we must not allow the use of weapons which will revive hatred even after the end of an armed conflict.
On this occasion, by reaffirming the significance of this Convention, I wish to pay tribute to those countries, among others, Norway, and NGOs that promoted the Oslo Process. It is our sincere hope that international efforts to address the problems caused by cluster munitions will be further strengthened. For this purpose, Japan intends to actively contribute. Together with people here today, I stand ready to move forward towards the realization of a world free from conflicts.
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