Statement by Mr. Masatoshi Shimbo
Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
At the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference
Vienna, 10 May 2007
In cluster III, I would like to discuss briefly Japan's views regarding the peaceful application of nuclear technology.
(Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy and Japan's policy)
The peaceful use of nuclear energy is one of the three main pillars of the NPT, together with the prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons and the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. As a country with almost no indigenous energy, Japan has highly valued the benefits of nuclear energy and established a policy of nuclear fuel cycle, whereby plutonium and other materials recovered by reprocessing spent fuel are reused to secure a steady long-term source of energy.
In recent years, against the background of energy security and global warming concerns, the role of nuclear energy has been reappraised, and the promotion of nuclear energy has gained momentum across the world. A number of countries intend to introduce or expand nuclear power plants, which has been described as a "Nuclear Renaissance". In the meantime, due to the dual nature of nuclear energy, it is most indispensable that the use of nuclear energy be promoted in a manner that ensures nuclear non-proliferation, safety and security. In this respect, Japan emphasizes the importance of the IAEA's role in ensuring non-proliferation of nuclear material in a State through application of safeguards, including the Additional Protocol, as well as in promoting peaceful use of nuclear energy.
(Multilateral Approaches to Nuclear Fuel Cycle & GNEP)
Japan shares the view that the international nuclear non-proliferation regime needs to be urgently strengthened as demonstrated by the nuclear issues of the DPRK and Iran. In this context, various proposals have been made to reinforce the nuclear non-proliferation regime, as well as to promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
These include the MNA (Multilateral Nuclear Approaches) proposed by the IAEA Director General, the Russian initiative on international centers to provide nuclear fuel cycle services, and the six-nation initiative on multilateral mechanism for reliable access to nuclear fuel.
Japan, on its part, proposed an "IAEA Standby Arrangements System for the Assurance of Nuclear Fuel Supply" at the IAEA General Conference Special Event in September last year with a view to complementing the six-nation initiative. This System covers not only uranium enrichment but all phases of the whole front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle, so that many countries will be able to participate under certain conditions and to make contributions.
I understand that the IAEA is currently examining some key points for further discussion. Japan will continue to actively take part in, and contribute to international discussions at the IAEA and other fora in a constructive manner.
The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) proposed by the United States is another important initiative to expand nuclear energy for peaceful purposes worldwide in a safe and secure manner, while reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation. Japan is one of the first countries that expressed strong support for this initiative and will continue to contribute to its realization and success.
Japan has long attached great importance to nuclear safety, and strived to address particular safety issues and enhance safety culture in general. Of particular note among Japan's contributions are its long-time support for Chernobyl safety enhancement projects through the Nuclear Safety Account (NSA) and the Chernobyl Shelter Fund (CSF). Japan contributed US$31 million to the NSA and pledged to pay US$55 million to the CSF. Moreover, Japan has contributed to the formulation of the Asian Nuclear Safety Network (ANSN) in tandem with the IAEA. Given that a number of Asian countries now intend to introduce nuclear power plants, Japan believes that more attention needs to be paid to enhancing nuclear safety in Asian region.
(Transport of Radioactive Materials)
In relation to the importance of nuclear safety, I would like to briefly mention the issue of transport of radioactive materials.
Considering the uneven geographical distribution of resources in the world and specific technology possessed by a limited number of countries, transport of radioactive materials is an essential element to reaping the benefits from peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In this connection, ensuring the safe and smooth transport of radioactive materials is important for all countries that support the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The maritime transport of radioactive materials to and from Japan is carried out in accordance with the principles of international law, including maritime navigational rights and freedoms. It has been conducted in a thoroughly safe manner over the past thirty years, in strict conformity with international standards. In this connection, Japan received an IAEA Transport Safety Appraisal Service (TranSAS) mission in December 2005, and is pleased with the mission's conclusion that relevant Japanese regulations on the transport of radioactive materials are being enforced in accordance with IAEA requirements. Japan continues to make every effort to further improve safety in this regard.
Furthermore, Japan has been making every effort to enhancing understanding of coastal States on maritime transport, and is pleased that discussions on communication between shipping States and coastal States have made significant progress recently. We are certain that a cooperative spirit on the part of both the coastal and the shipping sides will continue to prevail as is requested by the IAEA General Conference resolution adopted in September 2006.
Nuclear security also constitutes an important building block that demands serious attention for ensuring peaceful use of nuclear energy. Events of September 11th incited the sense of urgency for the need of combating nuclear terrorism.
In this respect, Japan calls on all States that have yet to do so to become parties, as soon as practicable, to the two universal instruments for combating nuclear terrorism; namely, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material including its amendment.
The IAEA has an essential role to play in the field of nuclear security. It has significant programmes financed through its Nuclear Security Fund. The Agency also serves as the focal point for coordinating various international efforts to enhancing nuclear security worldwide. Japan has therefore contributed to the Nuclear Security Fund, including its recent voluntary contribution of around US$150,000 in March this year.
Japan also welcomes the launch of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism proposed jointly by President Bush of the United States of America and President Putin of the Russian Federation last year. Japan regards this initiative as a significant vehicle for the enhancement of nuclear security worldwide and will continue to participate positively in activities to be undertaken under the initiative.
(Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications)
The peaceful uses of nuclear energy include not only electric power generation but also the application of nuclear technology in such fields as human health, agriculture, and so on. Given that "Human Security" is now one of the key perspectives of Japan's foreign policy, Japan places the highest priority on human health, in particular fighting cancer by using radiation medicine techniques in relation to the applications of nuclear Technology. Japan, therefore, is taking the role of lead country for human health in the RCA (Regional Cooperative Agreement for Asia and the Pacific) thematic sector, and has contributed to the PACT (Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy), in the amount of around US$350,000 in 2006. We hope that PACT will be developed steadily and will achieve success in enhancing human fulfillment.
International technical cooperation in the area of the peaceful use of nuclear technology plays a key role in achieving the goal of the NPT. Japan has been a major contributor to the IAEA Technical Cooperation Fund and, since 1959, has paid its share of TCF in full. Japan urges the IAEA Member States to pay in full and on time their respective shares of the TCF targets, on the basis of shared responsibility. Japan firmly believes that the IAEA Member States and Secretariat should make efforts to ensure that the Technical Cooperation Program is implemented more effectively, with more efficient management by the IAEA Secretariat.
Japan would like to reiterate that nuclear non-proliferation, safety and security are the issues that the international community has to address thoroughly. The peaceful uses of nuclear energy also must be carried out with the confidence of the international community by faithfully fulfilling NPT obligations with a high level of transparency. In this regard, Japan is pleased that it has become the first case in which integrated safeguards are implemented to a State with large-scale nuclear activities, based on the IAEA conclusion about the peaceful nature of Japan's nuclear activities.
Japan will continue to work together with the international community to make every effort to ensure the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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