1-3 December 2005
The Fourth United Nations-Republic of Korea
Joint Conference on Disarmament and non-proliferation Issues
"Strengthening the NPT and non-proliferation measures"

Looking towards the 2010 Review Conference: Challenges for the next five years

Takeshi Nakane
Director-General for Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Affairs
MOFA Japan

First of all, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Korea and the United Nations for holding this valuable joint conference. It is a great opportunity for me to address this conference about my perspective on strengthening the NPT regime.

1. The challenging circumstances of disarmament and non-proliferation regime

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As the only country to have experienced devastation from nuclear bombings, Japan makes its utmost efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, with the aim of realizing a peaceful and safe world free of nuclear weapons as soon as possible.

For over the past three decades, the NPT has been the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime; yet, the NPT regime is now facing the great challenges. It was extremely regrettable that the 2005 NPT Review Conference concluded without adopting a consensus document on substantive issues, and that the Outcome Document of the 2005 World Summit found no consensus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

2. Is the NPT regime weakening?

In the concluding statements of the 2005 NPT Review Conference, no State Party rejected the importance of the NPT in ensuring international peace and security as well as the necessity of compliance with it. The objective of strengthening the NPT regime is widely shared among the international community. Therefore, the relevance of the NPT has not ever diminished. As the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, the NPT provides fundamental grounds to deal with the serious challenges such as the regional nuclear issues including the DPRK and Iran, the threat of nuclear terrorism, and the underground proliferation network.

So why, as UNSG Mr. Kofi Annan deplored, did the world fail to produce substantive documents twice this year, at the Review Conference and at the UN World Summit, in spite of our shared recognition of the importance of the NPT as well as the challenges we are facing?

The main reason, I suspect, would be the lack of political consensus regarding the three pillars of the NPT, namely disarmament, non-proliferation, and the peaceful uses of the nuclear energy. Though every State Party attaches great importance to the NPT regime, there are varying views on those three pillars. That is to say, some countries regard nuclear disarmament the most important among those pillars, and other countries regard non-proliferation the most. Under these circumstances, the misapplication of consensus rule prevented the participants from producing a document on substantive issues at this year's NPT Review Conference, and so did the exploitation of negative linkages at the UN World Summit in September.

3. What do we have to do in order to strengthen the NPT regime?

(1) Looking towards the 2010 Review Conference

As this Joint Conference gives us an excellent occasion, we have to carefully examine what we have to do in order to achieve a fruitful 2010 NPT Review Conference. As you all may well know, the 2005 Review Conference spent two thirds of the entire session on adopting the procedural issues because there were differences of views among states parties as I have mentioned. It goes without saying that it is necessary for all states parties to cooperate towards the success of the next NPT Review Conference in 2010 through overcoming their different positions. However, we should not mobilize too much of our limited resource for the reform of the procedural issues of the NPT Review process. Without determined will of each State Party, it would remain extremely difficult to break the deadlock even with improved procedures. I would like to emphasize that it is of primary importance for the international community to faithfully implement the obligations under the NPT. In concrete terms, the international community is required to take the following measures under the NPT, to squarely tackle and resolve the regional nuclear issues such as the DPRK and Iran, and to actively pursue the measures to ensure non-proliferation.

(2) Implementation of the obligations under the NPT

As for the political will which I mentioned for the reinforcement of the NPT, I would like to point out that there already exists a common ground for the international community: the resolution titled "Renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons" which Japan submitted this year to the First Committee of the UN General Assembly. The resolution was adopted by 166 countries' support, which number is the largest since 1994 when Japan began submitting this resolution on nuclear disarmament to the UNGA. Based on this resolution which gives us a specific guidance, every country should make its utmost efforts to strengthen the NPT regime by means of determined political will and specific actions. Let me highlight four concrete elements in the resolution.

First, States not parties to the NPT should accede to it as non-nuclear-weapon States without delay and without conditions, and pending their accession they should refrain from acts that would defeat the objective of the NPT as well as to take practical steps in support of the NPT. If the international community gives up pressing non-NPT member States to accede to the NPT, it could lead to recognizing them as the de-facto nuclear weapon states, which will lead to undermine the NPT regime.

Second, states are encouraged to take further steps leading to nuclear disarmament, to which all States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons are committed under article VI of the Treaty, including deeper reductions in all types of nuclear weapons. In the process of working towards the elimination of nuclear weapons it is important to apply irreversibility, verifiability, and increased transparency. The U.S. and Russia should implement fully the Moscow Treaty, and should undertake nuclear arms reductions beyond those provided for by the Treaty. Nuclear disarmament by the nuclear weapon states provides a great momentum in strengthening the NPT regime. The year 2010 is two years before the deadline of the implementation of the obligations under the Moscow Treaty. Therefore, it would be a good opportunity for the State Parties to review the progress of nuclear disarmament under the Moscow Treaty by those two countries as well as of respective nuclear disarmament measures by the other nuclear weapons states. Furthermore, the international community would like to see the U.S. and Russia conclude by that time a new agreement which prescribes nuclear disarmament beyond the Moscow Treaty.

Third, all States that have not yet done so should sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty at the earliest opportunity with a view to its early entry into force, and it is important to maintain existing moratoriums on nuclear-weapon test explosions pending the entry into force of the Treaty. Japan has been repeatedly urging relevant countries to sign and ratify the CTBT and it is important for the international community to consolidate their diplomatic efforts.

Fourth, it is important to make an immediate commencement of negotiations on an FMCT and its early conclusion, and for all nuclear-weapon States and States not parties to the NPT to declare moratoriums on the production of fissile material for any nuclear weapons pending the entry into force of the Treaty. If we could break the deadlock at the CD and achieve the early conclusion of an FMCT, that would greatly contribute to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In this regard, I strongly expect that the six countries including the ROK which will chair the sessions of the CD next year will come up with an effective work plan. The member states of the CD must support their efforts to garner the consensus, keeping in mind that a tenth consecutive failure to embark on the substantive works in CD might undermine seriously the raison d'être of the CD which is considered as the single meaningful disarmament negotiating forum of the international community.

(3) Efforts towards the regional issues

It is of paramount importance to deal with regional issues in a way that would strengthen the NPT regime. Peaceful and early resolutions of nuclear issues in the DPRK and Iran are urgent security matters for the international community. Japan continues to strongly urge the DPRK to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs as it committed at the fourth round of the Six-Party talks. Japan also strongly urges Iran to sincerely implement all the requirements of the relevant IAEA Board of Governors resolutions, including the suspension of all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities without exception, and calls on Iran to return to the negotiation process with the EU3. As for the region of the Middle East, Japan sincerely hopes that practical and urgent steps will be taken as soon as possible towards the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly.

(4) Strengthening the non-proliferation regime

In addition, Japan places great importance to the measures to strengthen nuclear non-proliferation regime. Japan strongly believes that the universalization of the IAEA Additional Protocol is one of the most realistic and effective means and has been actively promoting the process towards this goal. Japan also welcomes that the Advisory Committee on Safeguards and Verification started to work. The Japanese Government has also been working and will work actively in the framework of international export controls for non-proliferation of equipment and technology that can be used in the development of WMDs and their delivery systems, while actively participating in the PSI and calling upon all states to sincerely implement UN Security Council resolution 1540. The international community has recently raised its awareness the importance of nuclear security to prevent nuclear terrorism, and Japan also attaches great importance to nuclear security and tightened measures for that purpose. We will make our utmost efforts for early conclusion of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

4. Conclusion

I wish to reiterate that, in order to make the next Review Conference successful and fruitful, it is essential that all States Party makes every effort to take practical measures with political will in the NPT Review process. As the EU proposed in its concluding statement at this year's NPT Review Conference, rotating the venues of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference among Vienna, Geneva, and NY, I believe, would provide us with good opportunities for fresh inputs from each disarmament and non-proliferation communities placed in each cities. In the forthcoming process, Japan is prepared and willing to play a leading role to guide the process towards success both on the country level and on the individual level.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

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