Statement by Mr. Takeshi NAKANE
Deputy Director-General, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Representative of Japan to the NPT Review Conference in 2005
At the Subsidiary Body of Main Committee III

Delivered on 20 May 2005

Mr. Chairman,

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate you on your assumption of the chairmanship, and assure you of our delegation's fullest support for the work of this important subsidiary body.

Withdrawal from the NPT is extremely serious. The central obligations of the NPT are that non-nuclear States do not produce or acquire nuclear weapons and that nuclear-weapon States do not transfer nuclear weapons to non-nuclear States. Withdrawal from the NPT by a State Party literally means that that State is free to leave these obligations, thus such a State could cause a security concern to neighboring countries, the region and beyond.

The most serious case is a State's withdraws from the Treaty after having developed nuclear weapon capabilities under false pretenses while being a member to the Treaty and while enjoying its rights under the Treaty. We must find the best way to deal with this "loophole" in the Treaty.

I would also like to point out that withdrawal of any State from the Treaty would significantly undermine the universality of the NPT and the confidence of the State Parties in the international nuclear non-proliferation regime based on the NPT.

Therefore, I would like to stress that, although withdrawal from a treaty is a right of a sovereign state, we must approach this issue to deter any withdrawal from the NPT.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to present the basic position of Japan in addressing this issue.

First of all, proposed measures must not constitute a road map for legitimate withdrawal from the Treaty. Any measure, whether measures before or after withdrawal, must serve as an effective deterrence.

Second, the withdrawal issue needs expeditious response, and measures which require amendment to the NPT provisions would not be realistic.

From this basic position, Japan prefers an approach focused on raising the cost of withdrawal rather than elaborating procedural steps before the withdrawal, although one approach does not exclude the other and we are ready to consider any effective measures. Japan believes that the Review Conference should agree on measures to make withdrawal from the NPT by any Party more costly without amending Article X of the Treaty.

Let me present our proposal.

First of all, the Conference should reaffirm that a State Party who has withdrawn from the Treaty remains responsible for any violations it committed while A Party to the Treaty. This is based on well established international law.

Secondly, it is important that State Parties urge any supplier country of nuclear material, facilities and equipment, to make the necessary arrangements so that any nuclear material, facilities and equipment transferred prior to their withdrawal from NPT has to be returned or neutralized.

Japan believes these measures can be agreed in this Conference without much difficulty as immediate steps.

Mr. Chairman,

Japan appreciates the various contributions by a number of States, especially those by the EU and Australia/New Zealand. Actually, Japan's proposal is within the scope of both proposals. For example, EU proposal's 5.(a), (e) and (f) are along similar lines to our proposal. However, Japan would like to raise following points.

First, as for the proposal on the extraordinary meeting of State Parties in relation to the notification of withdrawal, we have some reservations. Gathering all States Parties would take time and entail logistical difficulties. Also, it could hinder the efforts made through arrangement by small number of countries concerned. Furthermore, there might be a case where not all the State Parties share the same view with regard to that specific case of withdrawal and the result of such Conference would not be able to respond to security concern of the neighboring countries of the Party intending to withdraw. We recognize benefit of having such a Conference; Such an extraordinary conference can show to the world that the NPT regards withdrawal seriously; collective response could have larger pressure, also forge a sense of inclusiveness. However, the aim of this exercise must place a priority on resolving the serious situation that could be caused by a withdrawal of a specific Party.

I noticed that EU proposed differs in this regard, namely proposing the Depository States consult with interested parties. Consultation among states concerned is a realistic measure, however, Depositary States may not always be relevant interested parties.

We do not categorically deny the possibility of an extraordinary conference by States Parties or involvement of Depositary states, however, these proposals need to be modified or reconsidered to satisfy aforementioned requirements.

I would like to reiterate that the best arrangement is case-specific and requires flexibility.

Second, concerning the Security Council's involvement, the Australia/New Zealand paper proposes automatic and immediate consideration by the Security Council. However, there could be cases in which the Security Council would be better saved as a diplomatic leverage for resolving the issue while initial solutions are sought at other arrangements, such as regional consultation.

Also, it would be legally difficult to include automatic consideration by the Security Council within the NPT framework, because such decisions can only be made by the Security Council. Therefore, we consider at this point that notification of a withdrawal to the Security Council is sufficient.

Mr. Chairman,

It is truly regrettable that the Conference has lost large part of its time to procedural matters, however, we must make the best use of the time remaining. I therefore strongly urge all States to make every effort to agree on effective measures to tackle this important issue. Japan's proposal on withdrawal is presented in working paper NPT/CONF.2005.WP.21 as the 20th measure. We believe that this proposal will serve as a good basis for formulating a consensus text to be included in the final product of the 2005 Review Conference.

Thank you.

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