Keynote Address of Mr. Keishiro Fukushima
Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan
on "Benefits of strengthening safeguards"

At Asia-Pacific Nuclear Safeguards and Security Conference
Protecting Against Nuclear Terrorism
8 November 2004, Sydney, Australia

(Opening Address)

Mr. Chairman,
Mr. Downer, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia,
Dr. ElBaradei, Director General of IAEA,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentleman,

I am very pleased to be here on behalf of the Government of Japan to attend Asia-Pacific Nuclear Safeguards and Security Conference Protecting Against Nuclear Terrorism.

This conference is held at the best timing, because the issue of nuclear safeguards and security has become one of the issues attracting great attention of the international community, and because the Asia-Pacific region, which is the scope of this conference, has witnessed a most outstanding development in the field of nuclear energy. On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to express my highest respect to Mr. Downer, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and officials of the Australian Government, who have taken the initiative to host this conference.

(Strengthening of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime)

Mr. Chairman,
While the demise of the Cold War has decreased the threat of a large scale nuclear war, the threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons has grown. The revelation of an underground network of nuclear proliferation has brought to light the issue of how to prevent the proliferation of nuclear or radioactive materials to non-state actors including terrorists; an issue that has become one of the most important issues for the international community to address, together with the nuclear issue of North Korea among other countries. As potential loopholes in the current nuclear non-proliferation regime have become apparent, the importance of strengthening the regime is increasingly called for.

In particular, North Korea's nuclear issue poses a serious challenge not only to the security of Japan, but also to the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. It is important that North Korea's nuclear issue, together with the issues of abduction and missiles, will be resolved through diplomatic means. Japan has been making efforts to resolve this issue, in close coordination with the United States and the Republic of Korea, through the policy of dialogue and pressure. Japan strongly urges North Korea to agree promptly to resolve the abduction issue, and to the holding of the fourth round of the Six Party Talks without any precondition and to participate in it.

In the light of such a situation, various means to fill the loopholes have been explored, as represented by U.S. President Bush's proposal on non-proliferation and IAEA Director-General ElBaradei's initiative on multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle. The NPT and the IAEA safeguards which support it, however, remain the core of the current global nuclear non-proliferation regime. Japan, therefore, believes that the key to strengthening the global nuclear non-proliferation regime lies in the strengthening of the IAEA safeguards.

In this context, Japan is convinced that the strengthening of the IAEA safeguards through the universalization of the Additional Protocol is at present the most realistic and effective means of strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The Additional Protocol was devised, reflecting on the fact that the traditional IAEA safeguards treaty was powerless in detecting the suspected nuclear weapons program of Iraq and North Korea. The development of the Additional Protocol was a landmark in that it aims not only at the verification of the nuclear materials declared by the states parties, but also at the detection of undeclared nuclear materials and nuclear activities. Japan believes that the IAEA safeguards have been substantially strengthened by the Additional Protocol.

The strengthened safeguards, however, can not be truly effective unless the Additional Protocol prevails all over the world. Japan, together with other like-minded states, has continued its efforts toward the universalization of the Additional Protocol. In June 2001, Japan co-hosted with IAEA "the International Symposium for Further Reinforcement of IAEA Safeguards in the Asia-Pacific Region". Japan also supported seminars in Latin America, Central Asia, the three Baltic States and Africa. In order to wrap up these regional seminars, Japan hosted "the International Conference on Wider Adherence to Strengthened IAEA Safeguards", with participants from 36 countries in December 2002.

Although these efforts have begun bearing fruit, the number of the countries in which the Additional Protocol has come into force is 61 as of October this year, which has not yet reached a standard we can be satisfied with, in comparison with the number of the countries which have concluded a comprehensive safeguards agreement, i.e. 142. As far as countries in East Asia, South East Asia and Oceania are concerned, the number stands at 6 out of 25 countries which have concluded a comprehensive safeguards agreement. Further efforts are required.

This is not to say that the Additional Protocol is a panacea. In order to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime, a variety of measures should be utilized to strengthen the IAEA safeguards. I would like to stress, however, that the universalisation of the Additional Protocol should be set as the first target to be achieved. I would like to take advantage of this occasion to urge Asian-Pacific states that have not yet concluded an Additional protocol to do so as soon as possible.

(Safeguards in Japan)

Japan has taken the lead in participating in the global non-proliferation regime and has cooperated fully with IAEA safeguards activities in Japan, in order to secure maximum transparency of its own nuclear activities. Japan, like Australia, was quick in recognizing the importance of the Additional Protocol, and concluded it in 1999 as the first country with an operating nuclear power generation.

Last June, a "broader conclusion" was drawn that all nuclear material in Japan had been placed under safeguards and remained in peaceful nuclear activities, and the implementation of integrated safeguards in Japan started in September this year. We believe that, if more countries observe the strengthened safeguards of the Additional Protocol and move to the stage of integrated safeguards, the IAEA safeguards will be more streamlined and efficient, which in turn will contribute substantially to the strengthening of the global non-proliferation regime.

(Nuclear Terrorism)

In order to prevent the nuclear and radioactive materials from falling into the hands of terrorists, international cooperation is essential. It is also important to strengthen the domestic control of nuclear material as well as export controls. We welcome the recent movement to amend the Convention on the Physical Protection of the Nuclear Material, which aims at protecting nuclear material from unlawful acquisition and utilization. The amendment includes the expansion of its application to domestic transportation, usage and storage, and nuclear facility with a view to making the Convention more effective. The early conclusion of the negotiation for the amendment is very much expected. It is also important for each country concerned to comply with the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety of Radiation Sources and Security of Radioactive Materials. In particular, each country is expected to amend their respective national regulations in accordance with the Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources.

Furthermore, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative by the United States, which aims at reducing nuclear and radioactive material, a potential threat to the international community, by retrieving the Russian and American origin spent fuels and high-enriched uranium, and the activities of the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund in which Japan participates are both significant. Japan has extended assistance to Central Asian countries among others in transferring nuclear material accountancy and control technology, which was fostered through Japan's experience of accepting nuclear safeguards. In addition to these activities which directly prevent nuclear terrorism, Japan believes that strengthened IAEA safeguards through the universalization of the Additional Protocol are also very effective. This is because the Additional Protocol imposes more stringent control of nuclear materials and enables the IAEA to detect undeclared nuclear activities.

(Closing Remarks)

Mr. Chairman,
Next year, the year 2005, marks the 60th year since the tragic atomic bombings in Japan, and is also the year in which the NPT Review Conference will be held. We strongly hope that the year 2005 presents the international community with an opportunity to renew its commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and to make steady progress towards "a world free from nuclear weapons".

I would like to conclude my address by expressing my wishes of success of this Conference. Thank you very much for your kind attention.

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