Mr. Chairman,


Please allow me to express our congratulations to you, Ambassador Miloš Koterec, on your assumption of the chair of the First Committee.  We can rely on your experience and able leadership in our discussions at a critical moment in promoting disarmament and non-proliferation.  I assure you of the full support of my delegation as you carry out this significant task.


Mr. Chairman,


            This year, we have witnessed remarkable developments in the field of disarmament and arms control.  On 8 April this year in Prague, the two largest nuclear weapon possessor states, the Russian Federation and the United States, signed the New START Treaty, which will set limits and reductions on their arsenals.  On 28 May, the 2010 Review Conference on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) concluded here in New York with the unanimous adoption of a comprehensive and forward looking Final Document that included an gAction Planh for all the three pillars of the Treaty.  These are, among others, significant accomplishments and a testament to the new enthusiasm for disarmament.  The task before us now is to maintain and further strengthen this momentum and to fully and faithfully implement this hard-won Action Plan.  States should not sit still and just demand nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation by others, but we must be united in taking concrete and practical steps.


With this conviction, our Foreign Minister, Mr. Seiji Maehara, together with the Australian Foreign Minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd, hosted a ministerial meeting of ten like-minded countries on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation on 22 September.  The meeting adopted a joint statement that expressed our collective determination to take forward the consensus outcomes of the 2010 NPT Review Conference and to jointly advance the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agendas as mutually reinforcing processes. From a short- and mid-term perspective, it focuses on measures to pursue ga world of decreased nuclear risksh on the path toward ga world without nuclear weaponsh.  Japan hopes that this new group will contribute to advancing concrete and practical measures towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons based upon an open and inclusive approach. 


Japan will also put forward yet another resolution on nuclear disarmament to the current session of the General Assembly.  In the previous years when the international community was sharply divided, our resolution had to emphasize renewing our determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.   But this year, as the international community has gone beyond this stage, our resolution, now entitled gUnited actions toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons,h focuses on taking concrete and collective actions to reach such a goal.   


Mr. Chairman,


Now I would like to highlight some points that Japan views as most important for united efforts in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.


First, we need united actions by the nuclear-weapon States.  It was encouraging, in this respect, that the Final Document of the NPT Review Conference reaffirmed the unequivocal undertaking by these states to accomplish the total elimination of their arsenals.  A commitment was also made to undertake further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed.  Most importantly, under gAction 5h the nuclear-weapon States committed to taking a number of concrete steps leading to nuclear disarmament and were called on to report their undertakings to the Preparatory Committee in 2014.  Japan hopes the nuclear-weapon States faithfully follow through on these commitments, applying the three principles of irreversibility, verifiability and transparency while doing so.


In this vein, Japan highly values the signing of the New START Treaty.  This treaty is in line with the obligation for disarmament under Article VI of the NPT, and Japan expects the early ratification of this Treaty by both countries.


Second, we need united actions by the non-nuclear-weapon States to ensure that non-proliferation obligations are observed and the nuclear non-proliferation regime remains robust.  Japan believes that the most effective way to strengthen the non-proliferation regime is through enhanced and more effective IAEA safeguards.  Thus, we urge all states that have yet to conclude and bring into force a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol to do so as soon as possible. 


Third, we need united actions by other nuclear possessor states.  They should not just wait until the NPT nuclear-weapon States fulfill their obligations, nor should they even be strengthening their nuclear arsenals.  While Japan maintains that these states should accede to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States promptly and without conditions, we urge them to stop increasing and start reducing their arsenals now.  


Fourth, we need united actions by the international community as a whole to realize a peaceful and secure world without nuclear weapons. 


In this regard, as the principal multilateral disarmament negotiating forum in which all nuclear-weapon States and non-NPT states participate, the role of the Conference on Disarmament is critically important.  It was extremely regrettable, therefore, that the CD once again found itself in paralysis this year, unable to adopt its programme of work and commence substantive activities.  Japan welcomes the candid exchange of views at the High-Level Meeting on revitalizing the work of the CD, which was convened by the Secretary-General on 24 September.  The CD must immediately start negotiations on an FMCT as well as substantive work on all the other core agenda items.  But if there is no emerging prospect within the CD of launching negotiations, as Foreign Minister Maehara suggested, Japan, together with like-minded and supportive countries, is ready to take the initiative to make alternative arrangements for the negotiations.  Pending the entry into force of an eventual treaty, it is imperative to declare and maintain a moratorium on the production of fissile material for weapon purposes.


The Comprehensive-Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) also requires the concerted actions of the international community.  The fifth Ministerial Meeting held on 23 September issued a strong message for the early entry into force of the CTBT.  Japan welcomes the commitments expressed by the United States to ratify the CTBT and also the announcement by Indonesia that it would initiate the process of the ratification.  Japan has actively been engaged with the non-ratifiers of the Treaty, inviting officials and experts from countries such as Indonesia and Egypt to our CTBT  monitoring facilities. 


As a challenge to international non-proliferation efforts and disarmament in general, the international community must remain engaged in the unresolved but critical nuclear issues related to the DPRK and Iran.  The nuclear and missile development programs of the DPRK pose a grave threat to the international community as a whole, and Japan urges the DPRK to take concrete actions in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks.  All UN Member States should fully implement the relevant UN Security Council resolutions related to  the DPRK and Iran.  I will come back to these issues later in the thematic debate on nuclear weapons.    


            Let me also touch on disarmament and non-proliferation education, the importance of which was emphasized in the Action Plan of the recent NPT Review Conference.  All the UN Member States should implement the UN Secretary-Generalfs recommendations on disarmament and non-proliferation education.  Through education, the public should be made well aware of the horrific consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and the significance of their disarmament and non-proliferation.  Japan, as the only country that has suffered nuclear bombings, has a moral responsibility to pass on our experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the people all over the world and to future generations.  With this objective, the Government of Japan decided to appoint hibakusha as gSpecial Communicators for a world without Nuclear Weaponsh to ask them to send out message to the world, that only those with first-hand experience can convey.


Mr. Chairman,


United actions should not be confined to the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation; other weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons are also an area of prime concern for the world.    


As the 7th Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) is approaching next winter, we need to start extensive dialogue on ways to strengthen the Convention, which will deter and deny the acquisition and use of such weapons either by states or non-state actors.


On 1 August, Japan, together with many other countries, welcomed the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).  Japan takes seriously the humanitarian concerns presented by cluster munitions and is actively engaged in the promotion of the universalization of the CCM.  Japan, as one of the two state parties to the Convention in the Asia-Pacific region, places great importance on the upcoming first meeting of states parties and cooperates with the host Government of Lao PDR in its efforts to achieve a successful outcome


Japan has long been actively involved in the issue of small arms and light weapons, submitting a resolution to the General Assembly almost every year since 1995 and jointly with Colombia and South Africa since 2001.  This year, we will once again prepare a resolution that presents a path for the follow-up of the UN Programme of Action.  We hope this resolution will again be adopted by consensus.


Also this year, the Preparatory Committee on an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was held in July.  As a country that eschews in principle armaments exports and as one of the original sponsors of the resolution, Japan has consistently backed an ATT as a way to ensure the responsible transfer of weaponry.  The Preparatory Committee this year went a long way to identifying elements of a framework for the treaty, but with many details left to be worked out, states must enhance the current level of activity in order to push the process forward and conclude an instrument in 2012.


Mr. Chairman,


            When we look back at the achievements of this year, we should feel pleased at the results but essentially unsatisfied.  Many of the outcomes are commitments pending implementation or necessary concrete steps in an ongoing, yet unfinished process.  In some respects, we can compare our current situation to a party of mountaineers who are about to set out to scale a formidable peak: the route has been decided and the equipment is ready, but the summit is still far above.  It is now incumbent upon us to fulfill our commitments in a steady, step-by-step manner, but like our mountaineers, we must do it together.  Japan hopes that it can play its part in carrying forward such united actions.


Thank you.