Opening Statement by Ambassador Iimura, Ambassador to Indonesia, at the Workshop on "Towards the 2005 NPT Review Conference: Challenges and Prospects"

(Jakarta, 29 March 2004)

H.E. Dr. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia,
H.E. Mr. Sudjadnan Pamohadiningrat, Secretary-General, Department of Foreign Affairs,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen;

First of all, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of Indonesia for organizing this Workshop and also to Ambassador Sudjadnan for his initiative. On behalf of the Government of Japan, co-sponsor of this Workshop, I would like to extend a warmest welcome to all of you present here today. I hope that this Workshop will be a constructive lead-up to the upcoming 3rd Session of the Preparatory Committee (the 3rd PrepCom) for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT.

Today, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including nuclear weapons, and their means of delivery poses a threat to international peace and security. In order to cope with this problem, all states must strengthen their non-proliferation policies, reaffirm their commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and norms, including the NPT, promote universalization and ensure compliance.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, brought about a complete change in our concept of "threat awareness," bringing to light the imminent danger that non-state actors like terrorists can pose to the security of the States. Notably, the threat of WMD falling into the hands of terrorists is of immeasurable dimension. Japan has actively participated in the international community's efforts to respond to such "new threats." For these new steps to be truly effective, however, the effective functioning of disarmament and non-proliferation regimes must be ensured. The upholding and strengthening of disarmament and non-proliferation regimes is essential, today more than ever.

The proliferation of WMD, and the likelihood of terrorists obtaining these weapons, has led to an increased danger of nuclear devastation in a context quite different from the Cold War period. I would like to urge all the States to make every effort to avoid nuclear devastation.

Given the ever-present challenge of nuclear proliferation faced by the international community, this will no doubt constitute an important issue for discussion in the 3rd PrepCom. Dr. Khan's underground network supporting nuclear-related technology proliferation, as a more recent example, reaffirms the necessity for the further strengthening of existing nuclear non-proliferation regimes. In this respect, measures, such as the strengthening of IAEA safeguard system, universalization of Additional protocol, the physical protection of nuclear material, and the strengthening of export control, should be the subjects of extensive discussion at the 3rd PrepCom.

Progress in nuclear disarmament with a view to maintaining the NPT regime is equally important, and Japan continues to urge all nuclear weapon States to implement concrete and specific measures to this end. It should be recalled that the decision in 1995 to extend the NPT indefinitely was an integral part of a package with "Principles and Objectives," which includes the promotion of nuclear disarmament. Nuclear-weapon States should take seriously the fact that, to date, almost all countries have committed to renounce the option of nuclear armament under the NPT regime and must respond to this resolute determination held by non-nuclear weapon States by demonstrating tangible progress towards nuclear disarmament. In this context, Japan welcomes the entry into force of the Moscow Treaty between Russia and the United States. It is nonetheless regrettable that no progress has been made with regard to the entry into force of the CTBT or the commencement of FMCT negotiations.

The 3rd PrepCom, unlike its two previous sessions, faces the difficult task of producing a consensus report containing recommendations to the Review Conference. In light of the recent challenges to the NPT regime, such as North Korea's nuclear program and Dr. Khan's underground network, States Parties to the NPT must collectively demonstrate to the international community their strong commitment to the maintenance and strengthening of the NPT.

A successful outcome of the 3rd PrepCom, in particular the consensus adoption of recommendations, is important for the success of the 2005 Review Conference. Japan attaches special importance to certain specific measures to strengthen the NPT regime, such as the early entry into force of the CTBT, the commencement of FMCT negotiations without delay, and the universalization of the IAEA Additional Protocol. Japan will continue to address these measures as priorities in the NPT process, including the 3rd PrepCom.

Last but not least, I would like to touch upon the importance of disarmament and non-proliferation education. In order to advance disarmament and non-proliferation, it is essential to gain the understanding and support of young people who will lead the future generations, and of civil society as a whole. Japan places a great emphasis on disarmament and non-proliferation education, and has been making various efforts in this field, including inviting disarmament educators from overseas. Japan is committed to continue such efforts.

Let us make a concerted, collective effort during this Workshop to explore ways to address the current challenges faced by the international community. I am confident that the Workshop will produce a successful outcome, with the leadership of Ambassador Sudjadnan who will lead us through the 3rd PrepCom.

Thank you very much.

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