The First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference
(Overview and Evaluation)
15 May 2007
From 30 April to 11 May 2007 the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT (Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) Review Conference was held at the Austria Center in Vienna. Ambassador Yukiya Amano of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna served as the Chairman of the meeting. The delegation from Japan included the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Masakazu Sekiguchi (Head of Delegation); the Permanent Representative of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament, Ambassador Sumio Tarui; and the Director-General of the Disarmament, Non-proliferation and Science Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Takeshi Nakane.
1. Importance of the First Session of the Preparatory Committee
The First Session of the Preparatory Committee was to be an important meeting, because it served as a launching point for the process that will lead to the 2010 NPT Review Conference at a time when the NPT regime is facing grave challenges including the nuclear issues of North Korea and Iran. If the First Preparatory Committee spent a significant amount of time addressing procedural issues, as was the case at the 2005 Review Conference, and was unable to conduct substantive discussions, it would potentially lead to a significant loss of trust in the NPT. Therefore, the key task of the First Preparatory Committee was to start the review process smoothly, including addressing procedural issues, and to hold substantive discussions that would contribute to maintaining and strengthening the NPT regime. All this would contribute to maintaining the trust of the international community in the NPT.
2. Results of the First Session of the Preparatory Committee
(1) The General Debate
At the outset of the meeting, in line with a proposal by Chairman Amano, a moment of silence was observed in respect for the late former Mayor of Nagasaki Itcho Ito. Furthermore, in addition to 47 other States Parties giving statements during the general debate, Vice-Minister Masakazu Sekiguchi, acting as the representative of Japan, expressed Japan's basic view towards the First Preparatory Committee.
(2) Adoption of the Draft Agenda
According to the original indicative timetable, the draft agenda was to be adopted on the first day of the session and substantive discussions were to commence after two days of general debate by the representatives of each state. However, due to the continued opposition to the adoption of Chairman Amano's proposed draft agenda by one State Party (decision making in the NPT Review process is in principle based on the rule of consensus), efforts to build consensus were blocked. Chairman Amano continued consultations with States Parties concerned and strove steadfastly towards the adoption of the draft agenda.
Although the agenda put forward by the Chairman was based on the agenda used at the First Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference in 2002, due to the incorporation of a new element that required reaffirming the need for compliance, Iran called for the agenda of 2002 to be used unaltered, or for a revision to be made to the language of "compliance" so that it would read "compliance with all the provisions".
From the perspective that any partial revision to the language, however, could potentially result in a collapse of the overall agreement, Chairman Amano strongly maintained the position that it was not possible to accept any revisions to the language incorporated in the draft agenda as it had been proposed by the Chairman. Ultimately, Iran accepted the draft agenda proposed by the Chairman on the condition that an understanding of the Committee, proposed by South Africa, should be added as a footnote ("The Committee decides that it understands the reference in the Agenda to 'reaffirming the need for full compliance with the Treaty' to mean that it will consider compliance with all the provisions of the Treaty"). As a result of this the proposed agenda was adopted by consensus on the morning of 8 May.
(3) Substantive Discussions
From the afternoon of 8 May to the morning of 11 May, substantive discussions took place on individual issues related to the NPT, including: nuclear disarmament and international peace and security; nuclear disarmament and security assurances; non-proliferation; regional issues; peaceful uses of nuclear energy; and withdrawal. Although only half the originally allocated time was actually available for substantive discussions, they were held in a well-balanced manner on all issues thanks to the efficient agenda proceedings and constructive atmosphere.
(4) Adoption of the Draft Report
As a result of informal consultations with the States Parties concerned, the Chairman's summary, which encompassed the contents of the discussions as compiled by the Chairman, was referred to in the report of the Preparatory Committee as a Chairman's working paper. In the afternoon of 11 May this report was adopted, and the session was brought to a close. A decision was made to hold the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee from 28 April to 9 May 2008 in Geneva. Furthermore, Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko, the Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN in Vienna, was elected as the Chairman of the Second Preparatory Committee.
3. Japan's Efforts
(1) Ambassador Amano played a principle role as the Chairman in ensuring the success of the First Preparatory Committee.
(2) Vice-Minister Sekiguchi gave a statement during the general debate and Ambassador Tarui gave statements on each individual issue.
(3) Japan submitted to the meeting three documents: a working paper comprehensively presenting Japan's stance on the Three Pillars of the NPT (nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy), a working paper on disarmament and non-proliferation education, and a report on implementation of article VI (nuclear disarmament).
(4) Regarding disarmament and non-proliferation education, Japan delivered a joint statement together with the eight states that had submitted a joint working paper in 2004. In addition to this, Japan made its national statement and presented the ideas of utilizing manga and holding a debate cup as part of its new initiative for disarmament and non-proliferation education. Moreover, within the venue of the meeting, Japan displayed and distributed English-language versions of manga, showed animations depicting the tragedy of atomic bombings, handed out various documents, including "Japan's Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Policy" compiled by the Government, as well as engaged in other public relations and educational activities.
(5) Ambassador Tarui held separate exchanges of opinions with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and strove to strengthen coordination with NGOs.
(6) Prior to the meeting, Japan co-hosted a seminar on the NPT in Vienna in February 2007 with the Center for the Promotion of Disarmament and Non-proliferation. By providing a forum for a frank exchange of views amongst concerned states and experts, Japan contributed to the success of the First Preparatory Committee by helping to lay a foundation for discussions.
4. Evaluation of the First Session of the Preparatory Committee
(1) In the midst of the grave challenges being faced by the NPT regime, including the nuclear issues of North Korea and Iran, the fact that the process towards the 2010 NPT Review Conference started successfully was extremely significant for maintaining and strengthening confidence in the NPT and promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. If the agenda had not been adopted at the First Preparatory Committee and the meeting had ended divisively, it would have had an immeasurably negative impact on the credibility of the NPT regime and consequently a multilateral framework that is a key pillar of international security. In this regard, the First Session was able to meet the expectations placed upon it for maintaining the international community's trust in the NPT.
(2) Since the decision was made in December 2006 at the United Nations General Assembly to hold the First Preparatory Committee, Ambassador Amano proactively engaged in exchanges of opinion and frequently provided explanations to the States Parties in Geneva, New York, Vienna and elsewhere. As such, Ambassador Amano made great efforts towards ensuring the success of the meeting. When the First Session encountered a serious obstacle due to the opposition to the draft agenda by one State Party, it was indeed largely the result of the preliminary detailed coordination efforts that discussions during the meeting did not fall into a pattern of conflicting groups divided along the lines of nuclear-weapon States versus non-nuclear weapon States, or for that matter, Western states versus the Non-Aligned states.
(3) The draft agenda adopted by consensus at the First Preparatory Committee will serve as the agenda at the 2008 and 2009 Preparatory Committees, and ultimately will serve as the basis for the draft agenda to be put forward at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. As such, it is expected to contribute greatly to the smooth facilitation of the review process. The Chairman's working paper compiled by Chairman Amano includes a firm message from the States Parties regarding the nuclear issues of North Korea and Iran which are confronting the NPT regime. Furthermore, it serves as a comprehensive overview of the discussions that took place at the First Session based on the actual statements of both the nuclear-weapon States and the non-nuclear weapon States. Indeed many of the participants expressed their high appreciation for this working paper, stating that it is a balanced document.
(4) In the general debate and the individual cluster statements, the delegation of Japan actively expressed its views on the nuclear issues of North Korea and Iran, which have become increasingly grave since the 2005 NPT Review Conference as a result of the nuclear testing announced by North Korea, and the continuation of Iranian enrichment activities. The Japanese delegation also expressed its views on the importance of further measures for nuclear disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States, and on the importance of ensuring nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear safety and nuclear security in promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy. As such the Japanese delegation constructively participated in the discussions. The major elements of the statements put forth by the delegation were reflected together with the statements of other States Parties in the Chairman's working paper.
(5) As outlined in the above 3-(4) Japan acted during the First Preparatory Committee in a focused manner to promote disarmament and non-proliferation education. Japan's approach in this regard received considerable attention from NGOs.
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