Statement by H.E. Mr. Yasuhide Nakayama
Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

Conference on Disarmament
Geneva, 4 March 2008

Mr. President, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of Japan, it's my great pleasure to address the Conference on Disarmament. I am convinced that it befits my country to speak for peace, as Japan has suffered the devastation of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, and has not engaged in any battle with a single country ever since the end of World War II. Japan knows the meaning of peace through the lessons of its own history. The Fukuda cabinet has expressed both at home and abroad its will that Japan is going to contribute to the international community as a "Peace Fostering Nation".

Mr. President,

The CD is the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum; nonetheless, the CD has been in deadlock for over a decade. Japan considers this an extremely regrettable situation. Last year, the CD conducted important substantive discussions on all its agenda items, in particular the four core issues, and then the six presidents of 2007 produced proposal L.1. We believe L.1, along with the complementary documents, constitutes a pragmatic compromise. This package objectively reflects the current conditions within the CD. Japan calls on all the Members States to reach agreement on L.1 in order to break the ongoing impasse in the CD and thereby contribute to the improvement of the international security environment. In this regard, I would like to express my appreciation to the UN Secretary General for his strong words of encouragement in this year's opening Plenary. The Secretary General renewed his call for the CD to move forward in the spirit of compromise to seize the historic opportunity, emanating from the draft presidential decision.

Mr. President,

As the only country to have experienced the destructive effects of atomic bombings, Japan seeks a peaceful world free from nuclear weapons to enhance international security. To this end, it is vital for the whole world to share the vision of "a world free of nuclear weapons", by overcoming the differences in position of the nuclear-weapon States and the non-nuclear-weapon States. With such a vision, our annual UN General Assembly resolution entitled "Renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons" is consistently adopted by an overwhelming majority. This resolution demonstrates my country's belief that we should build upon practical and concrete measures for nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. Japan appreciates there has recently been a surge in debate on practical measures toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

In this context, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the international community collectively tackling challenges the NPT regime is facing. A grave challenge is the danger of NPT non-nuclear-weapon States secretly developing nuclear weapons under the cover of the right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Similarly, the universalization of the NPT is also a challenge. For the success of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, Japan greatly hopes that further meaningful and substantive discussions will be conducted at the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee. These discussions should be based on the outcomes of the First Preparatory Committee, chaired by Ambassador Amano of Japan.

Mr. President,

I should emphasize the necessity of all the nuclear-weapon States fulfilling their strong commitment to Article VI nuclear disarmament. While welcoming the nuclear disarmament efforts of the United States and the Russian Federation, including the significant reduction in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, Japan hopes for a successor arrangement to START. We also call for greater transparency by all the nuclear-weapon States in their nuclear disarmament efforts. In this connection, we welcome the recent high-level presentations by some of the nuclear-weapon States on their efforts. Furthermore, we believe it is important for the nuclear-weapon States to apply the principles of irreversibility and verifiability to their nuclear disarmament measures.

The early entry into force of the CTBT is also crucial. The ratification of the CTBT by Columbia in particular was encouraging, as the number of Annex 2 countries that have yet to ratify the CTBT has now entered single digits. Japan will continue to call for the ratification of the CTBT by all countries, and expects that the moratorium on nuclear test explosions will be maintained pending the Treaty's entry into force. Japan will also continue to assist the preparation of the verification regime.

Moreover, the early start of negotiations in the CD on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices (FMCT) is vital. An FMCT would be a significant nuclear disarmament measure, since it would cap the amount of nuclear weapons. The Final Documents of the 1995 and 2000 NPT Review Conferences affirmed the necessity of an FMCT. In the work of the CD in 2006 and 2007, it became even more apparent that an FMCT was sufficiently ripe for the commencement of negotiations. Japan strongly appeals to all countries that negotiations on an FMCT should commence without delay. Furthermore, we urge all the nuclear-weapon States and non-NPT State Parties to declare a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices pending the entry into force of a treaty.

Mr. President,

Japan is making active efforts towards the peaceful use of outer space. With a view that an arms race in outer space should be prevented, Japan has been engaged in the discussions on this issue within the CD, and other international fora. On 12 February this year, H. E. Mr. Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation presented to the CD a joint Russian-Chinese draft "Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space" (PPWT). Japan is ready to examine and discuss all the various issues surrounding the prevention of an arms race in outer space, including the draft PPWT.

Japan supports the basic concept of negative security assurances. Since it is the nuclear-weapon States that grant NSAs, it is necessary for us to build common understanding among the nuclear and the non-nuclear-weapon States to advance discussions on this issue. Last year's discussions on NSAs showed significant differences in position regarding how to address this issue. Therefore, further discussions to narrow those differences are meaningful.

Mr. President,

This year Japan holds the presidency of the G8, and will host the G8 Summit in Hokkaido Toyako in July. The Summit will raise the issue of the non-proliferation of WMDs. Japan looks forward to a strong G8 message toward strengthening the international non-proliferation regime.

Additionally, Japan will be hosting the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) this year. As peace is a fundamental basis for development, Japan has consistently focused on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of countries. Disarmament is important to establishing peace. As the UN Secretary General pointed out, resources can be freed up from spending on armaments and instead be used for economic development, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Japan is energetically cooperating for the maintenance, rehabilitation and construction of a peaceful world, and aims to be a "Peace Fostering Nation".

I thank you for your kind attention.

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