Statement by H.E. Ikuo Yamahana
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
Conference on Disarmament
Geneva, March 1, 2011
I am greatly honored to be given the opportunity to address the Conference on Disarmament, which has negotiated and produced numerous treaties that have become the cornerstones of arms control and disarmament. I strongly support your efforts, Mr. President, to revitalize the CD after the long years of paralysis.
(Contribution to the maintenance and enhancement of the momentum for nuclear disarmament)
Since last year, we have seen significant progress in the area of nuclear disarmament based on multilateral cooperation. At the 2010 NPT Review Conference, we agreed on a concrete Action Plan which includes the advancement of the substantive work of the CD. At the High-level Meeting on the CD convened by the UN-Secretary General, a large number of the ministerial level participants, including the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Maehara, called for the revitalization of the CD. Furthermore, Japan welcomes the entry into force of the New START Treaty between the United States and Russia, as it represents important progress in nuclear disarmament. We must maintain and intensify this momentum for nuclear disarmament by doubling such endeavors by the international community.
We emphasize that the CD is significant for the very reason that it is the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum which brings together all nuclear-weapon states and states not parties to the NPT. It is extremely regrettable that no progress has been made in this body, despite the historic agreement reached on a programme of work in 2009. Given the heightened expectations of the international community, including those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, further continuation of the same dysfunctional pattern within this forum is unacceptable. Japan requests all CD members to show the spirit of flexibility and cooperation, and immediately commence substantive work in this conference.
A Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), which we agreed in 2009 to commence negotiations on, is an important measure for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in realizing our goal of "a world without nuclear weapons." With an FMCT, we aim, amongst other things, to prohibit the production of fissile material for nuclear weapon purposes and to ensure fissile material for non-nuclear-weapon purposes is not diverted to nuclear-weapon purposes. It is also expected that, by establishing a verification system, transparency will be enhanced and nuclear security strengthened.
An FMCT is a concrete and immediate step which we must take in order to push forward international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Japan calls for an immediate commencement of negotiations on an FMCT within the CD as a matter of highest priority. Moreover, pending the entry into force of an FMCT, Japan urges all relevant states to declare and maintain a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear-weapon purposes.
Last month, the governments of Japan and Australia co-hosted the "Expert Side-Event on FMCT definitions," which was open to all CD members and observer states, for the purpose of advancing substantive discussions on the treaty. We strongly wish to contribute to the future negotiations in the CD by further deepening technical discussions and reporting to the CD in the capacity of the chairperson on the discussions that took place at the event. Additionally, we will also work for the immediate commencement of FMCT negotiations as a top priority in the framework of the Foreign Ministers' meeting on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, which Japan launched together with Australia and other countries last September.
It is also necessary to make progress on discussions on the other core issues in the CD. I would like to emphasize Japan's conviction that a practical and concrete approach which engages all states holding nuclear weapons is the fastest way to reach the goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons. We must not stop taking steps toward nuclear disarmament. We strongly hope that the endeavors by the United States and Russia, as mentioned before, will now lead to the advancement of global nuclear disarmament involving other states that possess nuclear weapons. We also anticipate that the United States and Russia will continue to make efforts toward further reductions in their nuclear arsenals. It is crucial that efforts toward nuclear disarmament by all states possessing nuclear weapons be carried out in a transparent manner and based on the principles of irreversibility and verifiability. Japan will be prepared to discuss ways forward in multilateral nuclear disarmament.
(Negative security assurances)
As a first concrete step toward realizing "a world without nuclear weapons," Japan attaches importance to the reduction of the role of nuclear weapons. It is also essential to deepen substantive discussions on ways to increase the effectiveness of NSAs. We call on the nuclear-weapon states to provide stronger NSAs to non-nuclear weapon states as soon as possible.
(Prevention of an arms race in outer space)
Japan upholds the basic idea that an arms race in outer space must be prevented. Against the backdrop of expanding space activities in recent years, we consider it necessary to discuss in the CD various issues regarding an arms race in outer space, including promoting confidence-building measures on space activities from a comprehensive perspective.
(Disarmament and non-proliferation education)
Japan has devoted itself to disarmament and non-proliferation education, believing that Japan owes it to itself to pass on the realities of the catastrophes caused by nuclear weapons to future generations. We can say that it was these efforts which resulted in the reference for the first time to disarmament and non-proliferation education in the final document of last year's NPT Review Conference.
As an effort in this area, we established "Special Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons" last September by an initiative of Prime Minister Kan. Through this initiative "Hibakushas" are asked to broadly communicate their actual experiences related to the tragic results of the use of nuclear weapons to the international community. So far, a total of twenty-seven Special Communicators have been active in twelve events worldwide. On March 14th nine Special Communicators are visiting Geneva on the occasion of an event related to nuclear disarmament education. I hope that as many colleagues as possible of the Geneva community interested in disarmament and humanitarian affairs will join us for this event.
I am also pleased to announce that Japan and the United Nations University will jointly hold the Global Forum on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education in Nagasaki City on March 17th and 18th. With a wide participation from governments, international organizations and civil society, the Forum aims to contribute to the sharing of understanding on the importance of disarmament and non-proliferation education, promotion of cooperation, and to the development of further efforts in this area.
Amidst the increasing momentum toward nuclear disarmament, the CD should not remain as a "dormant conference." We must revitalize the CD so that it can fulfill its primary role. We must make tangible and continuous efforts, step by step, toward "a world without nuclear weapons." In this regard, we call on all CD members to cooperate in order to agree on a programme of work which will enable immediate start of substantive work. Japan is determined to take the lead in such effort together with other countries.
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