Statement by H. E. Dr. Kuniko Inoguchi

 

Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Japan

 to the Conference on Disarmament

 

at the

2004 Reay Group Workshop on

Progress in meeting the aims of the Ottawa Convention in South Eastern Europe:

 

2nd February, 2004

Bucharest

 

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

It is a great honor for me to participate in this important workshop and to be given the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Government of Japan. I would like to express my immense gratitude to the Chairman of the Reay Group and the Romanian government for their warm hospitality. I would also like to thank the GICHD which has helped make this workshop possible.

 

Japan has been playing an active role to create sustainable peace in post-conflict countries. Addressing the problems of anti-personnel mines and small arms and light weapons is essential as a precondition to reconstruction and peace consolidation.

 

At the Fifth Meeting of the States Parties to the Mine Ban Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, in September of last year, Japan served as a Co-Rapporteur with Cambodia for the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies. Japan was appointed as a Co-Chair of this Standing Committee in this annual States Parties Meeting.

 

This workshop is a timely opportunity for me to learn about the landmine situation in the South Eastern European region prior to the Meeting of Standing Committees to be convened from 9th February in Geneva. We also consider this workshop to be a very meaningful exercise for treaty implementation in the region in preparation for the First Review Conference to be held in Kenya, Nairobi, in November this year.

 

(Treaty Universality)

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

The number of States Parties to the Mine Ban Convention has been steadily increasing, and has now reached in excess of 140. From a regional perspective, most South Eastern European countries have acceded to the Convention, however efforts towards universalization, particularly in the Asia Pacific Region, must be continued. Japan intends to call particularly upon those countries which still possess a large amount of anti-personnel mines to accede to the Convention.

 

As a country devoted to self-defence, Japan once possessed a large quantity of anti-personnel mines. However, Japan decided to renounce anti-personnel mines and conclude the Mine Ban Convention, because we believed that by so doing, Japan could make a veritable contribution to world peace and the reduction of human suffering.

 

(Cooperation and Assistance)

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

For the success of the First Review Conference and in order to realize an effective and universal ban on anti-personnel mines, it is essential that every State Party promote the universalization of the Convention, putting the spirit of the Convention into practice.

 

Under such a conviction, the Japanese Government is working together with civil society to achieve the objectives of the h Zero Victims initiativeh. Japan pledged around 10 billion Yen in financial assistance for mine action activities in the five years following 1998, and in fact extended assistance to a total of 25 affected countries and areas, including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Croatia, Kosovo and Albania in South Eastern Europe. This target of 10 billion Yen was reached at the end of October, 2002.

 

Out of this 10 billionYen, Japan has pledged, in particular, around 8 billion 944 thousand US dollars to mine clearance, mine risk education and mine action technologies in the aforementioned South East European countries through international organizations such as UNICEF, UNMAS and UNHCR, governmental agencies, and NGOfs such as Handicap International and the Association to Aid Refugees. Moreover, I am pleased to note that Japanfs total contribution to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action as of July 2003 was almost 23.3 million US dollars, which was the biggest among donors.

 

Japan has provided assistance for various mine action activities, including mine clearance, victim assistance, and mine awareness. In addition to traditional types of assistance in mine-clearance activities, the Japanese Government took the initiative of applying its high technology to the detection and clearance of mines in cooperation with companies and researchers, taking into account advice and opinions from deminers in the field. The safe and speedy clearance of mines is our ultimate goal in order to reduce the daily risk faced by deminers. I hope our technology will serve in the field as soon as possible.

 

NGOfs have made a great contribution to a range of mine action activities. Japan will continue to provide effective assistance in cooperation with affected countries and international organizations and continues to attach great importance to cooperation with NGOs.

 

(Completion of obligations under the Convention)

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Japan completed the destruction of its stockpile of anti-personnel mines, as required by the Convention, on 8th February 2003. Prime Minister Koizumi attended the commemorative ceremony and directly ordered the destruction of the last stockpile of anti-personnel mines. I would like to emphasize that Japan intends to implement all obligations of the Convention and encourages each State Party to do the same on its own initiative and political will.

 

(Conclusion)

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

As we draw closer to the First Review Conference scheduled for November this year, I sincerely hope that States use this time effectively and take every opportunity to resolve landmine issues. The 11th February Meeting of Standing Committees will provide an invaluable forum for donor and affected countries to share data on their status of mine clearance and mine risk education, and to consider ways and means to facilitate the implementation of such mine actions. I, as Co-Chair of the Standing Committee, would also like to invite all interested representatives to make contributions to the discussions at the Standing Committee.

 

This Workshopfs task is to review the status of implementation of obligations under the Convention in the South Eastern European region. I am convinced that, given the excellent organization of the Workshop, it will indeed be successful in fulfilling this task.

 

Thank you.