Statement by H.E. Mr. Yoshiki MINE

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Head of the Delegation of Japan

to the Conference on Disarmament

At the First Committee

of the 60th Session of the General Assembly

General Debate

6 October 2005, New York

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished delegates,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate you, Ambassador Choi, on your assumption of Chair of this Committee. I am confident in your ability to guide us through this session and I assure you of my delegationfs full support as you carry out this important task.

As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, the Committee this year convenes amidst difficult times. The international community is facing serious challenges in the field of security and disarmament and non-proliferation, such as the problem of 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 underground networks, and compliance problems of individual countries.

In this regard, it is extremely regrettable that the 2005 NPT Review Conference was unable to produce a consensus document on substantive issues, and that the Outcome Document of the UNGA Summit found no consensus on disarmament and non-proliferation, as this will detract from future efforts for progress in the disarmament and non-proliferation field. The UN is now at a crossroads, and whether or not it is able to respond effectively to disarmament and non-proliferation challenges will depend upon the efforts of every Member State. Here at this Committee, also, we need to work together to tackle these issues with a sense of urgency.

This Committee, tasked with deliberating on issues related to international security and disarmament, is expected to decide upon concrete measures and ways to adequately respond to such problems by mustering the wisdom and political will of all Member States.

The task of the First Committee is also to incite further progress in the area of international security and disarmament. Positive elements to date, for example in the field of conventional weapons, include the adoption of the Nairobi Action Plan at the First Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention, the conclusion of negotiations on an international instrument on marking and tracing of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and the success of the Second UN Biennial Meeting of States on the UN PoA. Japan, together with Colombia and South Africa, is submitting a resolution on SALW reflecting these outcomes, and we look forward to its consensus adoption.

International efforts to prevent terrorism have included the adoption of an amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as well as the opening for signature last month of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and Japan calls upon all Member States to make every effort to ensure the early ratification of this Convention and the ratification of the other 12 Conventions and Protocols on the prevention of terrorism without delay.

Furthermore, it is of great significance that, at the 4th Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT held last month, 117 of the countries that have signed or ratified the Treaty agreed on a final declaration calling for the Treatyfs early ratification as well as highlighting the importance of maintaining a moratorium on nuclear testing. Japan would like to reiterate its call for all those countries that have not yet ratified the CTBT to do so as soon as possible so as to ensure the early entry into force of the Treaty.

Mr. Chairman,

A realistic and effective means of tackling these problems faced by the international community today is the strengthening and universalisation of existing regimes and their full implementation. In order not to undermine the credibility of these regimes, consistency in mid to long term policies is of particular importance. On this note, countries should heed the will of the international community and the voice of the public rather than solely pursuing their own national interests. From this perspective, dialogue with civil society and collaboration with NGOs with expertise in this field is invaluable, as is the promotion of disarmament and non-proliferation education.

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. Concerning the NPT, the lack of an agreed substantive document at the last Review Conference must not erode the authority and credibility of the Treaty, and thus, each and every State Party should implement concrete disarmament and non-proliferation measures steadily. Japanfs basic viewpoints and concrete steps in this regard will be explained further during the thematic debate.

Mr. Chairman,

Japanfs fundamental position on nuclear disarmament places great importance on the realization of a peaceful and safe world free of nuclear weapons through the steady implementation of concrete measures. This practical and incremental approach toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons has been reflected in our resolutions on nuclear disarmament, submitted annually to the UNGA since 1994.

Japan will submit a draft resolution on nuclear disarmament again this year. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings, as well as the establishment of the United Nations, we have decided to review and restructure our previous resolutions, avoiding repetition, to create a concise and strong resolution. The title of the resolution now reads: gRenewed Determination toward the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.h The international community must overcome the lack of consensus at this yearfs NPT Review Conference and UNGA Summit, and in this light, Japan hopes that all countries including nuclear-weapon States, regardless of any differences in position, will unite and support our nuclear disarmament resolution with a view to achieving the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Each year, different nuclear disarmament resolutions have been submitted to the UNGA. While these resolutions may differ in their approach toward nuclear disarmament, all share the common goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Therefore, a strong momentum would be created if all Member States were to solidify their efforts to promote nuclear disarmament toward this common goal.

Mr. Chairman,

We welcome the active exchange of views that has taken place in recent years on reform of the First Committee. 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. Furthermore, such discussion should take into account the work of other disarmament machineries such as the CD and the UNDC which are currently stagnating, and should also be seen in the wider context of renewing the United Nations as a whole.

We welcome last yearfs consensus adoption of a draft resolution on improving the effectiveness of the methods of work of the First Committee, and we also welcome the efforts of the Chair and Member States toward its implementation. We look forward to a useful exchange of views taking place again this year on the subject, and Japan, for its part, will actively participate in the discussion.

Thank you very much.