Nairobi, 29 November 2004


Mr. President,


Allow me to congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the First Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. Japan is confident that under your able guidance, we will be able to make the Nairobi summit a success. Let me assure you, Mr. President, of our delegationsf utmost support as you undertake this task.


Since its entry into force in 1999, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (the so-called gOttawa Conventionh) has achieved remarkable results. The number of Member States to the Convention has increased from 67 to 143.  The number of countries producing landmines has decreased from 53 to 15.  Of the estimated world total of 260 million stockpiles, 62 million have already been destroyed. Japan, for its part, completed destruction of its one million stockpiles in February 2003. More than 1,100 square kilometers of land has been cleared, with more than 4 million anti-personnel mines destroyed.  Assistance has dramatically increased, with a sharp decline in the number of victims from around 26 thousand in the 1990s, to around 8 thousand reported casualties today, although this total is estimated to be 15 to 20 thousand if we include unreported casualties. 


We should be proud of these achievements. However, it is believed that more than 110 million landmines remain in 70 countries around the world, which means that, even at the rate of 100 thousand land mines per year, it would take 1100 years to clear all land mines. (data: United Nations 1997)  In addition, although landmines are inexpensive and easy to emplace, a tremendous amount of money is needed to completely clear them.


Japan has played an active role in assistance for mine action under gThe Zero Victims Initiativeh proposed in 1997 by the late Foreign Minister, Keizo Obuchi. This Initiative tackles the issue of anti-personnel mines from the perspective of human security. Under the Zero Victims Initiative, Japan has provided 10 billion yen equivalent of 91 million US dollars, in support over the five years from 1998 to 2002.  Japan has continued to provide active assistance since then, amounting to around 16 billion yen equivalent of 145 million US dollars. Japan also provides assistance for mine action through United Nations organizations. As of December 2003, Japan ranks second behind UK with 23.3 million US dollars in accumulated contributions to the UN voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action.  Japanfs assistance for mine action has been extended to 31 countries in every part of the world.  Japan has supported various projects on mine clearance, research and development of new technologies for mine detection and clearance, victim assistance, and mine risk education.  Between January 1998 and August 2004, Japan assisted 186 related projects.


Mine clearance is critical to promote post-conflict stability and protection of local communities. Japanfs ODA Charter places priority on assistance for mine clearance. Among others, Japan provides equipment for mine clearance, such as mine clearance machines, metal detectors and vehicles, as well as assistance to NGOs that are engaged in demining activities. For example, in Cambodia, Japan has actively supported the Cambodia Mine Action Center in clearing over 140 square kilometers of mined fields, through the provision of equipment and technical guidance. Consequently, the number of victims dropped from 1155 in 1999 to 745 in 2003.


Japan attaches great importance to the gprotection of peopleh and the gempowerment of peopleh which are pivotal concepts underlining human security. From the viewpoint of the gempowerment of victims,h Japan actively promotes assistance for care, rehabilitation, and reintegration of mine victims.


With the aim of improving the safety and efficiency of mine clearance activities, Japan actively supports the research and development of new technologies for mine detection and clearance. Given that it would take 1100 years, with the present technology, to clear the total 110 million mines placed on earth, and that more than 20 countries will face the deadline of stockpile destruction in 2009, it is very clear that a technological breakthrough is needed to achieve our ultimate goal of a mine-free world. We feel we can make an important contribution in this area. Japan has provided 3.5 billion yen, equivalent of 32 million US dollars, for research and development of new technologies for safe and efficient mine detection and clearance.


Japan considers mine action to be an important pillar for peace consolidation and reconstruction of post-conflict countries.  In Afghanistan, Japan has contributed in excess of 2.5 billion yen, that is 23 million US dollars to this aim. In addition to support for mine clearance activities and mine risk education, Japan, together with related UN organizations and NGOs, assists in the restoration and establishment of rehabilitation centers for mine victims. Also, Japan is conducting field evaluation tests of mine clearance and detecting machines in Afghanistan, and will test other innovative machines in Japan next March. We will be holding a side event on 1 and 2 December to demonstrate our on-going efforts in these areas and we look forward to a large number of participants at this event.


Currently, the number of States Parties to the Convention numbers 143. To make the Convention effective, however, those countries with vast stocks of anti-personnel mines, such as China, the US, and Russia, are encouraged to also participate in the Convention. Japan attaches great importance to the universalization of the Ottawa Convention and in the lead-up to this Summit we have appealed to more than 20 countries in the Asia Pacific that have not yet joined the Convention to do so at the earliest possible date. 


The achievements made in landmine action would not have been possible without the active role played by international organizations and NGOs, as well as civil society. Japan not only provides financial assistance to NGOs, which are important in implementing assistance programs, but also endeavors to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with them so as to improve the effectiveness of assistance for mine action.  From 1998 to 2004, Japan provided assistance amounting to approximately 2.4 billion yen, 22 million US dollars, to international and local NGOs engaged in mine action. For assistance to mine action by the NGOs, the maximum amount that can be granted for each project through our Grass-Roots Human Security Grant Aid is 100 million yen, about 1 million US dollars, breaking the limit of 50 million yen.


While we should be proud of our achievements to date, a number of tasks have still to be undertaken.  Countless landmines remain, and landmine victims still number more than 8000 a year. Assistance is needed to accelerate stockpile destruction towards the goal of 2009. I strongly hope that this Nairobi Summit will enhance the commitment of State Parties towards these goals, identify necessary measures, and give momentum to implement such measures.


I thank you, Mr. President.