Statement by H.E. Mr. Seiji Maehara
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

1st Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Co-hosted by Japan and Australia

22 September 2010, New York


Mr. Co-chair, Foreign Minister Rudd,
His Royal Highness , Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nuclear disarmament, like climate change, raises the question of whether mankind can feel the sense of responsibility across national borders and generations. Therefore, I stress that tireless efforts in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are the most certain way to minimize nuclear risks and strengthen international security. Today, I would like to share this way of thinking with you, and jointly take a practical and responsible step forward to a world without nuclear weapons.

Australia and Japan, as co-hosts of this foreign ministerial meeting, deepen mutual cooperation in this field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Foreign Minister Rudd, Co-chair of this meeting, took a strong initiative in setting up "International Committee on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND)" during his primeministership. Governments of Japan and Australia issued a Joint Statement by foreign ministers in February, then collaborated to submit a joint working paper on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation to the 2010 NPT Review Conference in May. Japan subsequently came to take the view that it would be a timely attempt to expand such scooperation to other countries which pursue the same direction as ours.

The agreed final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference salvaged the NPT regime in the face of its break-up. Nevertheless, it is also true that this agreement is stood upon extremely vulnerable foundations. I believe that it is significant at this juncture to form a cross-regional and moderate group and lead the international society, together with like-minded countries like yours. By deepening discussions and actively making concrete suggestions, I hope that this group will offer possible solutions which overcome confrontational structure between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states, or between developed countries and developing countries.

This new group will be able to not only steadily implement the agreement at the Review Conference, but also propose and realize creative policy. In the medium term, I would like to suggest that we pursue "a world of decreased nuclear risks" as transition strategy on the path to "a world without nuclear weapons", as reflected on our Political Declaration. For that goal, it is vital to tackle various issues such as reducing the number and role of nuclear weapons in the field of nuclear disarmament, and reducing proliferation risks by strengthening the IAEA in the field of nuclear non-proliferation.

It is particularly important to reduce the number and the role of nuclear weapons for decreasing nuclear risks. Even if nuclear-weapon states cannot immediately agree to abandon their own nuclear weapons, they can take practical measures to lower nuclear risks. These measures can include such as making the negative security assurance more effective and declaring "sole-purpose" of the possession of nuclear weapons, for instance, and I would like to deepen discussion about these ideas. I believe that the establishment and strengthening of nuclear-free-zones also contribute to the reduction of nuclear risks.

I would like to give an instruction to officials in order to deepen discussion and take concrete action by the time we hold the second foreign ministerial meeting next year. Meanwhile, I hope to continue to exchange views at our level on concrete ideas in pursuit of "a world of decreased nuclear risks when necessary. As a possible outcome of such discussion, I would like to propose that this group launch an "action plan", for example, indicating our future direction.

Thank you very much for your attention.


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