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Submission of the FY 2017 Recommendations of the Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament
(Statement by Foreign Minister Taro KONO)

March 29, 2018

1. On March 29, I received the recommendations of the Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament (EPG) from the Chair, Professor Takashi SHIRAISHI (President, Institute of the Asian Economic Studies, Japan External Trade Organization).

2. The first meeting of the EPG was held in Hiroshima on November 26th and 27th, 2017, followed by its second meeting in Tokyo on March 26th and 27th, 2018. A total of 16 experts (6 Japanese and 10 international experts) attended the meetings in their personal capacities, from both nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States, who plays active roles in the fields of security, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Vibrant discussions were held towards concluding recommendations, which will contribute to the substantive advancement of nuclear disarmament.

3. In the recommendations, the EPG views the current situation that two opposing trends in disarmament have come into sharper relief in parallel to the deteriorating global strategic environment in recent years, and that states with divergent views have been unable to engage with each other in dialogue. Against this backdrop, the group recommends the measures for the international community to seek for a common ground in which we can pursue a world free of nuclear weapons while improving the international security environment in accordance with Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The recommendations propose to enhance the NPT review process along with increasing transparency over nuclear arsenals, to develop effective verification mechanisms, and to tackle “hard questions” about the relationship between security and disarmament.

4. Towards the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons, the recommendations attempt to converge different approaches, such as by addressing difficult issues about the relationship between security and disarmament, in order to bridge between the position of admitting the necessity of nuclear deterrence as facing the security in the real world, and the position of calling for an immediate elimination of nuclear weapons from the humanitarian perspectives. In light of this attempt, I believe these recommendations could be a meaningful reference for the international community. The input of these recommendations will be provided to the second Preparatory Committee of the 2020 NPT Review Conference at the end of April. Through such efforts, the Government of Japan will promote endeavors by the international community for the substantive advancement of nuclear disarmament.

5. I hope that the EPG will continue their activities to further deepen discussions on the remaining middle and long-term issues, so as to increase the momentum of the international community towards the 2020 NPT Review Conference.

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