Address by Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Toshio Kojima At the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues in Ishikawa-Kanazawa
(Provisional translation)

28 August 2001

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I am Toshio Kojima, a parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs of Japan. It is my pleasure and great honor to deliver this address here today on behalf of the Government of Japan on the occasion of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues in Ishikawa-Kanazawa. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the persons concerned at the United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs and the United Nations Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, whose efforts were instrumental in holding this conference, and to the citizens of Ishikawa Prefecture and Kanazawa City who have endeavored assiduously to prepare for this conference. Furthermore, I warmly welcome all participants visiting from countries around the world.

This occasion marks the thirteenth time Japan has hosted the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues, and many results have been achieved thus far. It is particularly meaningful that such an established conference as this should be held in Kanazawa, a place able to impart distinctly Japanese culture and traditions. It is my understanding that a great many government officials and experts from countries around the world will participate in this conference, hold lively debate on the current status and outlook of disarmament and non-proliferation, and deepen discussions on what should be done in order to realize international peace and stability in the 21st century. I sincerely hope that these four days will serve as an excellent opportunity for the citizens of Ishikawa Prefecture and Kanazawa City, as well as for the people of Japan, to become more familiar with disarmament, non-proliferation and peace issues.

A new century has begun, however, it is regrettable that nuclear weapons, which were produced in the previous century and wrought suffering 56 years ago in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan that defies description, have been inherited by the 21st century as an "unfavorable legacy" of the previous century. The international proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and ballistic missiles as their means of delivery, is posing a considerable threat to international peace and stability. Furthermore, a great many lives are being lost day after day to small arms and lights weapons, anti-personnel land mines and other weapons in armed conflicts occurring frequently around the world. Although tenacious international efforts for disarmament and non-proliferation have been made to address these problems, the current pace of progress remains slow.

Despite such circumstances, Japan has made repeated sincere diplomatic efforts on the basis of a "practical and progressive approach," positioning the promotion of disarmament and non-proliferation as an important pillar of its foreign policy. Especially with regard to nuclear weapons, being the only country ever to have experienced nuclear devastation, Japan has consistently played an active role in the international community and made substantial contributions, aiming to realize a nuclear-weapon-free world as early as possible.

For instance, every year since 1994 Japan has submitted to the United Nations General Assembly a draft resolution on nuclear disarmament. Last year, Japan submitted a new draft resolution, "A Path to the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons," which elaborates concrete steps culminating in the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Japan believes that the CTBT supports the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, the cornerstone of which is the NPT and that the CTBT is extremely meaningful as a practical and concrete measure for realizing a nuclear-weapon-free world. Japan has been making positive diplomatic efforts towards its early entry into force. For instance, in 1999, Japan chaired the 1st Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT, and subsequently as a coordinating country has appealed at various levels for early ratification to countries whose ratifications are essential for the entry into force of the Treaty. As asserted by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Japan is determined to continue these diplomatic efforts, and in particular will concentrate its efforts towards the success of the 2nd Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT, due to be held in New York this September.

With regard to the NPT, the preparation process will be starting next spring for the next Review Conference of the Parties on the NPT in 2005. Prior to this, at the beginning of 2002, a workshop is to be held in Japan, aimed at the smooth commencement of the review process of the operation of the NPT, providing valuable materials for the future discussions.

Furthermore, as regards the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in June Japan hosted a symposium in Tokyo designed to promote broader acceptance in the Asia region of an additional protocol for enhancing the IAEA verification regime. In May in Geneva, Japan also hosted a workshop for improving the environment for starting negotiations regarding the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) that would ban the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.

As for ballistic missiles, there is no international treaty banning the production and possession of those missiles. Japan believes that the efforts of the international community are crucial to establishing a multilateral non-proliferation regime. At present, efforts have been made to create an international code of conduct primarily through the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which is a framework for coordinating international export controls. As a part of such efforts, Japan hosted a conference to exchange views and opinions with Asian countries regarding ballistic missile proliferation in March.

In the armed conflicts occurring frequently around the world, small arms and light weapons are readily used, causing more than 500,000 casualties every year. Small arms and light weapons, which also involve children as soldiers, have become "de facto weapons of mass destruction" that harm both victims and perpetrators and threaten human security.

At the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects held last month in New York, the Programme of Action was adopted unanimously containing measures to prevent and combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, international cooperation for their recovery and destruction, and follow-up on the outcome of the Conference. This should be highly evaluated as an extremely important first step toward future approaches by the international community. Japan, which has consistently taken initiatives in the international community since the emergence of this issue, also played an active role at this Conference, and is determined to approach this issue actively, including by promoting the project to collect small arms and light weapons. As a first step, Japan plans to hold a follow-up conference sometime early next year to discuss future methods of approach based on the results of this Conference.

I have given you a summary of Japan's current main approaches in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. In concluding, I hope that resources will be orchestrated towards realizing a peaceful world in the 21st century through lively discussions at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues in Ishikawa- Kanazawa which is held in the first year of the new millennium.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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