Statement by H.E. Mr. Sumio TARUI
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament
At the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference
Cluster 1: Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education
Vienna, 8 May 2007
Please now allow me to deliver Japan's national statement on disarmament and non-proliferation education to this Preparatory Committee.
As the only nation to suffer nuclear bombings, Japan is convinced it has a duty to strongly appeal to the international community that for realizing a peaceful and secure nuclear-weapon-free world the tragedy of nuclear devastation must never be repeated. At the same time, we must recognize that disarmament and non-proliferation issues, including nuclear, are closely related to the security of each country and thus require long-term determined efforts to resolve. In this light, Japan believes that while steadily implementing practical measures for nuclear disarmament, activities for disarmament and non-proliferation education are vital as sustained and forward-looking efforts. To this end, we have been undertaking various activities based on the recommendations of the United Nations Study on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education in 2002 among other things.
(Japan's efforts to date)
Japan values its cooperation with the UN in carrying out concrete activities on disarmament and non-proliferation education. Under the UN Disarmament Fellowship Programme, Japan has invited young diplomats, who will be responsible for future disarmament policy, to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which has resulted in the total participation of 620 diplomats over the past 20 years. We believe this programme is a good opportunity for diplomats to understand first hand the real destruction of nuclear weapons and their long-term physical aftereffects.
Furthermore, each year Japan holds the UN Conference on Disarmament Issues in a different local Japanese city. As a side event to the Conferences in August 2003 in Osaka and the July 2004 in Sapporo, we jointly held with the UN "The Citizen's Forum on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education". In addition to our cooperation with the UN, Japan has been creating regular opportunities for talks between NGOs, from the perspective of emphasizing the role of civil society in advancing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. These have included such things as inviting disarmament experts from overseas and holding public lectures.
For education in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, as the "UN Study on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education" mentions, there are numerous different teaching tools and techniques, such as video, animation, electronic games, theatre, dance, film or photography. Particularly, the production of animated educational videos and educational material from which the younger generations can learn within the school education system may be useful. Cultivating disarmament educators and training school teachers together with direct outreach to students may also be an effective approach. Furthermore, as a practical, action-oriented disarmament measure, education on the dangers of not only nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, but also landmines and small arms, should be promoted to a broad range of people including people in countries affected by those conventional weapons.
(Japan's new efforts)
In promoting disarmament education, Japan places particular importance on passing down the knowledge of and determination for disarmament to younger generations. The insights and views of young people gained through interaction with other young people are also beneficial for current efforts on disarmament and non-proliferation. This time Japan has decided to launch the following new endeavors for young people under its "New Initiative on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education".
First is a disarmament and non-proliferation debate competition. In disarmament and non-proliferation education, the development of critical thinking is just as important as raising awareness of the devastation caused by nuclear weapons. Japan therefore intends to host a debate competition, in which university students from countries, including nuclear-weapon States, will be invited to Japan to debate disarmament and non-proliferation issues with Japanese university students.
Second, Japan considers that employing tools the younger generation can easily adopt is an effective way to ensure the promotion of understanding concerning disarmament and non-proliferation issues. From this point of view, we aim to utilize animation and "manga", parts of Japan's pop culture which enjoy high popularity overseas, to arouse awareness in the younger generations.
Cooperation with not only governments but also civil society is indispensable for the effective implementation of the previously mentioned activities. For this purpose, Japan is committed to cooperating and working with NGOs and local governments around the world, including those in Japan.
We have discussed our various activities in much greater detail in our working paper on disarmament education submitted to this Committee. We hope that these kinds of efforts may serve as a reference for other countries and yield results for the promotion of disarmament and non-proliferation education in the international community.
Thank you for your attention.
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