Tokyo Seminar on Missile Non-proliferation
Welcoming Speech by the Parliamentary Secretary Ken-ichi Mizuno

Distinguished delegates, and guest speakers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to say a few words on behalf of the Host Government at the outset of the Tokyo Seminar on Missile Non-proliferation, as Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs overseeing disarmament and non-proliferation. Let me first extend my heartfelt welcome to you all who have gathered here today to participate in this seminar.

Half a year has passed since the terrorists attacks in the US on September 11 last year. And as yet we have not fully dispersed all the terrifying consequences of those events. But at the same time, this tragedy has awakened in us a common ground for strengthening co-operation. We were all reminded of the eminent threat of terrorism and the risk that terrorists might even resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction and effective means of delivery. Many countries have reacted in concert in their efforts to counter terrorism since then, and are acting more rigorously than at any other time in the past to this end. During the Asian Export Control Seminar that the Japanese Government hosted last month, in which all countries that are represented today participated, we were very much encouraged to see countries like Thailand and Singapore having invested a great deal on upgrading their national endeavours to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by improving their export control systems.

Today, countries in Asia responded to our call positively to consider the issue of proliferation of ballistic missiles, for which we are also truly grateful. As part of our strong commitment to international and regional peace and security, we decided to organize this seminar, partly as a follow-up to the discussion we held last year to cope with ballistic missile proliferation, and also in an attempt to further intensify dialogue of this kind among Asian countries. In this context, I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the contribution today of the three missile experts, with whose help we expect to highlight some of the most complicated aspects of the issue of missiles and of the proliferation of ballistic missiles. I am very much hopeful that in the course of the exchange of views during this one-day seminar participants will be able to deepen their understanding of this truly complicated issue, and be motivated to devote more attention to it.

In this era of globalization, no single country can ensure its security alone. The efforts to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and means of their delivery also require broad international co-operation world-wide. Nobody can be assured of its security as long as the weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means continue to spread, particularly when we realize the possibility that terrorist activities may involve the use of those dangerous weapons. It is therefore the responsibility of us all to recognize the nature of the issue and consider seriously ways for finding solutions to it.

If, at the end of the day, we can create a better sense of understanding among ourselves, our modest contribution will have proven meaningful and personally I would be most delighted. And, in this spirit, I wish us all the best for the successful turnout of today's seminar. Let us all hope also that the seminar will provide a good opportunity for opening a new dimension in the co-operation among the Asian countries in the field of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, which will be of great importance to ensure peace and security in Asia and the entire world.

Thank you very much.

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