Statement by H.E. Mr. Mari Amano
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Head of the Delegation of Japan
to the Conference on Disarmament
at the Twelfth Meeting 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
Geneva, 3 December 2012
First of all, I would like to warmly congratulate you, Ambassador Matjaž Kovačič, on your appointment to the presidency of the Twelfth Meeting 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. My delegation would like to commend you for all the work you have put into the preparation of this meeting. We are looking forward to a week of constructive discussions and I can assure you of my Delegation’s full cooperation throughout these proceedings. I also wish to take this opportunity to welcome as participants to this meeting Ms. Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Karl Erjavec, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, Mr. Didier Burkhalterand, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, and Ms. Jody Williams, the founding coordinator of the ICBL and co-Nobel Laureate.
One of the necessary conditions for achieving our common goal of a world free of mines is to ensure universal adherence to the legally binding commitments of the Mine Ban Convention. Accordingly, Japan was happy to learn of the accession to the Convention this year of Finland, Somalia, and Poland. We would like to take this moment to congratulate them on joining our endeavors. Japan takes universalization very seriously, and we are strong supporters of the efforts in this area by His Royal Highness Prince Mired of Jordan. We have been taking advantage of our diplomatic missions around the world, especially in the Asia Pacific region, to encourage non-States Parties to accede to the Mine Ban Convention as soon as possible. This is work we are committed to continuing voluntarily. We also commend the ISU and Palau for their outstanding efforts in organizing the workshop for the Pacific Island Forum Regional UXO Strategy this year, with the financial support from our fellow States Parties, Australia and New Zealand.
Japan is also dedicated to meeting its obligation to provide assistance to affected states. As a major donor country, Japan grants aid every year to a number of affected states to help their mine-related efforts. Over the last reporting period, we gave over $42 million US Dollars in assistance for mine action projects in twelve countries, primarily to heavily affected countries in Africa and Asia.
Japan is also a strong promoter of south-south and triangular cooperation. We have been facilitating mutual assistance efforts between affected states to share knowledge and expertise in mine action, and we are confident in its effectiveness. In this regard, we were pleased to hear that the Permanent Mission of Slovenia is planning a side event today on regional cooperation in mine action. My delegation intends to actively take part and share our experiences.
With financial problems affecting many countries and budgets becoming increasingly tighter, the States Parties must find ways to improve the efficiency of the Convention. Discovering synergies between the Mine Ban Convention and other international legal instruments is one way. The idea of synergies has been on the horizon for some while and it is high time that we begin to take concrete steps. Japan is in agreement that the States Parties should pursue coherence in the scheduling of meetings of relevant instruments and believes that the technical issues that prevent this can be overcome through determination. The most important goal is to concentrate our resources as much as possible on tackling issues on the ground.
Finally, I would now like to refer to the issue of the discovery of previously unknown mined areas after Article 5 deadlines have passed. First of all, my Delegation would like to thank the Co-Chairs of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Indonesia and Zambia, for preparing a useful paper on this subject.
Japan is of the opinion that incentives should not be undermined for States Parties to comply with their obligation to clear all mined areas ten years after accession. If a State Party discovers a new mined area after its clearance deadline has expired, it should promptly report the discovery to all stakeholders and clear the area without delay. As such, we support the proposals put forward by the Co-Chairs of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance and will participate constructively in the discussions devoted to this issue on Wednesday.
We are now approaching the mid-way point of the implementation of Cartagena Action Plan. This Meeting of States Parties, therefore, affords us a good opportunity to take stock of the distance traveled under the current plan and to grapple with the challenges ahead. The Delegation of Japan intends to make good use of this chance to address the key issues in greater depth.
Thank you, Mr. President.