Statement by H.E. Mr. Seiji Maehara
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
At the High-level Meeting on Revitalizing the Work of the Conference on Disarmament and Taking Forward Multilateral Disarmament Negotiations
24 September 2010, New York
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to welcome the Secretary-General's initiative to convene the High-level Meeting on "Revitalizing the Work of the Conference on Disarmament and Taking Forward Multilateral Disarmament Negotiations".
In realizing "a world without nuclear weapons", multilateral disarmament by all nuclear weapon possessor states is of vital importance as well as concerted actions of international community. From this standpoint, the role of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) is highly critical as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum which brings all nuclear-weapon states and states not parties to the NPT together.
It is extremely regrettable that the behaviour of one country has prevented the CD from commencing its work, causing paralysis of its function despite the agreement reached on its programme of work.
Amidst the increasing momentum towards nuclear disarmament, the CD should not remain as a "dormant conference". We must immediately begin the CD's work and advance its core agenda items of nuclear disarmament, a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), negative security assurances (NSAs) and the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
An FMCT, in particular, is one of the practical steps that will contribute to both nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Japan strongly calls for the immediate commencement of negotiations on such a treaty and the declaration and maintenance of a moratorium on the production of fissile materials for weapon purposes pending its entry into force.
As a first concrete step towards realizing "a world without nuclear weapons", Japan attaches importance to reducing the role of nuclear weapons. Deepening substantive discussions on ways to increase the effectiveness of NSAs is essential, and we call on the nuclear-weapon states to take, as soon as possible, such measures as providing stronger NSAs.
By no means can we allow the CD to be in the same situation when we reconvene here next year. We must set a certain deadline for our discussions in the CD. Any failure in making progress would force us to explore alternative paths. We cannot accept the situation, in which the interests of the entire international community are obstructed by actions based on the individual interests of just one country. All must share this sense of urgency. If there is no emerging prospect of launching negotiations on an FMCT within the CD, Japan, together with like-minded countries, is ready to take the initiative to provide a venue for the negotiations.
Two days ago, Japan and Australia, along with eight other countries, launched a new group that aims for "a world of decreased nuclear risks" as a transitional strategic stage on a path towards "a world without nuclear weapons". Japan, together with the member states of this group is determined to lead discussions to achieve concrete progress on an FMCT and other nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation measures.
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