At the First Committee
of the 59th Session of the General Assembly
At the outset, let me congratulate you, Ambassador De Alba, on your appointment as Chair of this Committee. I am confident that your vast experience and competent leadership will guide us through this session and I assure you of my delegationfs full support as you carry out your important task.
The UNGA First Committee provides an important opportunity for all Members of the United Nations to exchange their views on issues concerning international security and disarmament and to consider a future course of action. This Committee should be able to respond adequately and in a timely manner to various problems the international community is facing today, while endeavoring to strengthen its effective functioning.
The Committee is meeting this year in difficult times. The international community is facing serious challenges in the field of security and disarmament and non-proliferation, such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the increasing threat of international terrorism and of WMD falling into the hands of terrorists, the proliferation of nuclear-related technology through Dr. Khanfs extended underground nuclear proliferation networks, and compliance problems of individual countries, such as DPRKfs nuclear program.
Although the international community is facing such challenges, it has also witnessed progress in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. For instance, Libyafs decision to abandon all of its WMD programs, the USfs reaffirmation of its support for the commencement of FMCT negotiations, a steady increase in the number of countries which have ratified the CTBT, an increase in the number of countries which have signed the IAEA Additional Protocol as well as those countries in which the Protocol has come into force, the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1540 on non-proliferation, progress made in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and strengthened non-proliferation efforts in the Asian region. Progress has also been made in the area of small arms and light weapons.
As a unique multilateral forum, with the participation of the majority of states from the entire world, this Committee can play an important role in dealing with evolving challenges through collective efforts. We must work together to find solutions to these problems, as well as to make further progress in disarmament and non-proliferation fields. The next NPT Review Conference is scheduled a little over six months from now, thus rendering special significance to the work of this yearfs First Committee. This Committee provides an important opportunity to maintain and strengthen the NPT regime, at a time when its viability has been put to the test in the face of various challenges. The successful conclusion of our work here will contribute greatly to the success of next yearfs Review Conference.
In order to fulfill
its role and adequately respond to the changing international security
environment, strengthening the functioning of the First Committee is an urgent
task. Several problems have emerged concerning its operation, for instance a
number of resolutions are submitted mechanically each year with little change
to their content, and the work of the First Committee has become repetitious
and gradually less relevant. The need for a streamlined agenda and more focused
general debate, as well as more revitalized thematic debates, has become
apparent. In order to improve the working methods of the Committee, reforms are
needed to ensure its effective and efficient functioning. Resolution 58/41,
submitted by the
The most realistic and effective
means of tackling various problems faced by the international community today
is the strengthening and universalization of existing
regimes and their full implementation. Japan considers international frameworks,
such as the NPT, CTBT, IAEA Safeguards Agreements, IAEA Additional Protocol,
BWC and CWC, of utmost importance as a basis for international disarmament and
non-proliferation efforts. While seizing every opportunity to reconfirm
commitment to these disarmament and non-proliferation treaties, it is also
important to work toward the strengthening of their functioning, as well as their
universalization and full implementation.
In addition to the issue of WMD,
steps should be taken by the international community to address the problems of
small arms and light weapons (SALW) and anti-personnel land mines (APLMs) as a matter of priority. We have made considerable
progress in these areas, but much has to be done. Japan has worked together with Colombia
and South Africa to submit a resolution on SALW, hoping that we can adopt it by
consensus. Disarmament and
non-proliferation education is also essential to achieve progress in these
Although the tasks of this Committee are substantial, I call upon all Member states to make maximum use of this security and disarmament forum, to work towards strengthening its functioning, and to show the international community that the multilateral disarmament and security regime is indeed functioning effectively and efficiently.