H. E. Mr. Mari AMANO
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Japan
to the Conference on Disarmament
at the Third Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions
11 September 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great honour and pleasure to attend the Third Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). My special gratitude goes to the Government of Norway for their hospitality and hard work in organizing this very significant event. Allow me to also extend my heartfelt congratulations to His Excellency, Ambassador Kongstad, on assuming the presidency of this meeting. I wish you every success and assure you of my delegation’s full support.
Today we are gathered here in Oslo, where four years ago the representatives of 94 countries, including my own, made a solemn pledge and commitment to a world free from the inhumane weapon of cluster munitions by signing this historic convention. The Third MSP gives us an invaluable opportunity to reflect on progress and gaps in convention implementation, as well as to renew our strong determination to achieve our common goal.
As a state party to the CCM, Japan is committed to its full implementation. The Vientiane Declaration and Action Plan adopted at the First Meeting of States Parties in 2010 continue to provide guidance for our actions. In this regard, Japan attaches great importance to two elements, namely universalization and international cooperation and assistance.
Japan has been actively engaged in outreach activities to advance universal adherence to the CCM. Since the First Meeting of States Parties, Japan has served as Friend of the President on Universalization. And since the Second MSP, with a view to encouraging a regional approach to this issue, Japan together with Portugal has been playing a leading role in promoting universality with the cooperation of a cross-regional team of eleven countries, as well as the ICRC and the CMC.
In June and July this year, Japan and Portugal conducted a global outreach campaign by sending joint demarches on universalization to (113) states not party to the CCM. As a result, we received positive reactions from a number of countries. On the other hand, it was evident that some states are facing challenges to accession, especially in terms of a lack of human resources or technical capacity, despite their interest in joining the CCM. We will report in further detail when this issue is addressed later in the meeting.
Today 75 states are party to the Convention, while 111 states are signatories. We welcome the progress made since the Second Meeting of States Parties, during which time twelve countries have acceded to the CCM.
Despite this progress, unfortunately many states including possessor states still remain outside the Convention. We must persist in our efforts individually and collectively to advance universal adherence. Japan wishes to boost universalization efforts in Asia and the Pacific, where up to now only a small number of countries have joined the CCM.
Another significant pillar for Japan’s efforts to strengthen the Convention’s implementation is international cooperation and assistance. Japan takes seriously the humanitarian concerns arising from explosive remnants of war. Consequently, we have been supporting the clearance of unexploded ordnance, including cluster munitions, and providing assistance to their victims. From 2009 to 2012, our international assistance to cluster munitions projects has amounted to over 10 million US dollars.
One substantial addition to Japan’s recent assistance in this area is our support for Lao PDR’s UXO clearance in the form of a grant worth around 11 million US dollars, which includes technical assistance, the provision of equipment, and a third-country training program through the Cambodian Mine Action Centre. The Government of Japan expedited its decision last year to extend aid to Laos due to the urgent danger posed by unexploded ordnance unearthed by torrential rain.
In this connection, we held before this afternoon session a side event entitled “CCM Implementation and Poverty Reduction Synergy in Lao PDR: A Case of Strategic Cooperation with Japan”. This event was co-organized by the Governments of Laos and Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. It showcased the excellent collaboration that had occurred in Laos among governments, aid agencies, and UXO-related organizations, and highlighted ways of integrating UXO activities into national development planning.
Allow me to conclude my statement today by saying Japan firmly believes that the CCM is a ground-breaking convention which contributes to the strengthening of international humanitarian law. It is also closely connected to the concept of human security to which Japan attaches great value. We welcome and support the initiative by you, Mr. President, to deepen and promote understanding on the preventive role of the CCM for the protection of civilians and its importance to the strengthening of international humanitarian law. We are looking forward to furthering our understanding on this matter through further discussions during the meeting.
Thank you for your attention.