Statement by H.E. Mr. Nobuyasu Abe
at the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force
of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

November 12, 2001 at the United Nations in New York

Mr. President,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

At the outset, I wish to express my deepest sorrow for the victims of the heinous terrorist attacks on September 11th, not only of the United States but of many other countries around the world. The bereaved families, as well as the Government and the people of the United States, have our sincere sympathy. Japan strongly condemns such brutal and barbaric acts of terrorism, and is determined to cooperate with the international community as fully as possible for the prevention and eradication of terrorism.

Mr. President,

The terrorist attacks have clearly demonstrated that science and technology, which should contribute to the development and prosperity of humankind, can also be abused by those who intend to destroy civilization. It is our responsibility to future generations to control the use of science and technology so that they do not cause mass destruction and suffering to humankind.

The international community established the existing nuclear non-proliferation regime to control technologies related to nuclear energy and to minimize the threat of nuclear weapons, that humankind has fatefully invented. When the threat of vicious terrorist groups is as real as today, it is more urgent than ever to strengthen the NPT regime. I would first like to stress the view, that is widely shared in the international community, that the CTBT underpins the international nuclear non-proliferation regime founded on the NPT, and that the CTBT is a practical and concrete measure for realizing a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Mr. President,

Unfortunatelly, there is no prospect at the moment for the early entry into force of the CTBT, due in part to the hesitation of some of the major States to ratify it. Because of this situation, some even claim that the CTBT is dead. I say this is a grave mistake. Rather, I believe that the CTBT should be recognized for the practical role it is already playing in the world.

First of all, the CTBT is the embodiment of the international community's strong desire for a treaty to ban all nuclear tests. Conducting nuclear tests in defiance of this Treaty would bring severe criticism from the international community. Thus, the CTBT has been already playing an important role by helping to make the prohibition of nuclear testing a universal norm of the international community.

Secondly, I would like to point out that the CTBT has been instrumental in achieving a moratorium on nuclear testing. All the states possessing nuclear weapons, including those that conducted the tests after the adoption of the CTBT at the UN General Assembly in 1996, have now declared a moratorium on nuclear testing. I welcome these moratoria wholeheartedly, and strongly urge those states not to change their policies pending the entry into force of the Treaty.

Thirdly, there is the verification regime. Thanks to the uncompromising efforts of the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, the International Monitoring System (IMS) for the detection of clandestine nuclear tests has been steadily developed. We can say that the possibility of a country conducting a nuclear test without being detected by the international community is becoming slimmer every year. Some may argue that nuclear tests can be conducted in a way that could deceive even this IMS. But such a sophisticated test can hardly be carried out by a country conducting its first test. I would like to point out that the IMS, with its strong verification capability, has almost come to serve as a concrete measure for deterring further nuclear tests. Japan will continue to render unstinting assistance to the efforts made by the PTS.

With these thoughts in mind, Japan presided the previous entry-into-force conference convened in Vienna in October 1999, and has been coordinating the efforts to promote the early entry into force of the Treaty. Japan has seized each and every occasion to urge the early signing and ratification of the CTBT. Japan's Foreign Minister appealed to her collegues at the G8 Summit Foreign Ministers meeting and at the Ministerial Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum for the early entry into force of the CTBT. In addition, Japan has sent a host of letters, signed by either the Prime Minister or the Foreign Minister, to various countries, emphasizing the significance of the early entry into force of the CTBT. In August this year, Japan's Foreign Minister Ms. Makiko Tanaka signed letters addressed to the Foreign Ministers of twelve States whose ratification is required for the CTBT to enter into force but have not yet signed or ratified it. So far, we have approached a total of sixty-six States and received many encouraging responses. The significance of the Treaty's early entry into force is reiterated in the resolution on nuclear disarmament, which was proposed by Japan and other countries and was adopted with an overwhelming support in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly on November 6th.

Mr. President,

As the only country that has suffered from nuclear bombs, Japan has a particularly strong hope for a nuclear test ban. Whenever a nuclear test has been conducted anywhere on earth, we could not but be reminded of the devastation caused by the atomic bombs. To the Japanese people, the CTBT is a significant cornerstone of nuclear disarmament: it puts an end to nuclear testing, and is the first step toward the elimination of nuclear weapons from this world. Backed by this strong desire of its people, Japan will continue to make every effort to achieve the early entry into force of the CTBT.

The twentieth century was a century of progress as well as of war. Arms race has been conducted aggressively, and there have been numerous nuclear tests to support that race. This suggests that we are living in a 'culture of arms,' which is premised on a distrust deep in the hearts of the people, resulting in a reliance on arms, including nuclear weapons, for our security. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, I feel strongly that the time has come to base our peace and security on new thinking. I believe that we should continue moving forward gradually and practically to build a 'culture of peace.' I would like to conclude my statement by affirming that the CTBT is an important and appropriate step toward this end.

Thank you for your attention.

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