3 OCTOBER 2000
Mr. Chairman,
At the outset, I would like, on behalf of the Japanese delegation, to extend to you my warmest congratulations on your assumption of the chairmanship of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly during its fifty-fifth session. I am confident that with the benefit of your broad experience in the field of disarmament and demonstrated diplomatic skill, the Committee will conduct its work in a most efficient and productive manner, I wish to assure you of my delegation's full support and cooperation as you discharge your important responsibilities.
Mr. Chairman,
At the recent Millennium Summit of the UN General Assembly, heads of state and government from around the world declared that they would spare no effort to free their peoples from the scourge of war, and would strive for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons. Without getting into all the specifics and details, they sent a clear and simple message that should be repeated until our arms control and disarmament goals are achieved and people throughout the world can live in peace and security.
In addressing this Committee last year, my predecessor noted a series of recent setbacks in the area of nuclear non-proliferation, and stressed the need to reverses that discouraging trend. With the successful conclusion of the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, I believe that negative trend has in fact been stemmed. The Final Document that was unanimously adopted at the Review Conference is testimony to the determination of the world community to maintain and strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime. We must not lose this momentum. Indeed, it is incumbent upon us to implement practical measures for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament as called for in the Final Document of the Review Conference.
Mr. Chairman,
I believe that this Millennium UN General Assembly should take practical steps toward the total elimination of nuclear arsenals. From this point of view, as Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori explained at the Millennium Summit, Japan has decided to introduce a new resolution which marks "paths" to be taken toward the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons. The previous resolutions sponsored by Japan also set out the steps that would lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons. This year, however, I believe we can better elaborate and define the road map, taking into account the agreement reached at the NPT Review Conference.
The most important goal at this juncture is the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty. The fact that, of the forty-four states whose ratifications are required for its entry into force, fourteen states, including two of the nuclear-weapon States, have not yet ratified the Treaty underscores the need for the world community to strengthen its efforts in this regard. When we consider that four years have passed since the opening for signature of the Treaty, it might now be useful to set a specific target year for its entry into force. Japan, for its part, tirelessly promoting ratification of the CTBT. As the coordinator of the second conference for the facilitation of ratification, it has also been working in Vienna with other states. I am encouraged by the efforts being made to develop a broad consensus on signing the Treaty by the governments of the two countries in South Asia that conducted nuclear test explosions. I would like to call upon both of them to demonstrate strong leadership and sign it as soon as possible.
Secondly, at its session next year the Conference on Disarmament should commence the negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, based on the Shanon Report (CD/1299) and the mandate contained therein. It is truly regrettable that, despite agreeing twice in the past to commence such negotiations, the CD remains stalled. I believe that next year will be critical in terms of maintaining the CD's credibility. Building on the serious efforts made by the successive presidents, the CD should expeditiously reach agreement on its program of work and commence the actual negotiations on the FMCT with a view to concluding them before 2005.
Thirdly, the reduction of U.S. and Russian strategic offensive arms is also of critical importance. The Japan-sponsored UNGA resolutions of past years have consistently addressed the need to accelerate the START process, including the full implementation of START T, the early entry into force of STARTU, and the early commencement and conclusion of STARTV. Although the process is now at a standstill, I acknowledge the efforts being made by both countries to engage in consultations, and appreciate the U.S. Government's postponement of its decision to deploy a National Missile Defense system and to engage in further dialogue on this important issue. I hope that both governments will continue efforts to reach agreement so that the international community may witness a revitalized nuclear disarmament process rather than the danger of succumbing to a vicious circle of arms race.
The Final Document of the NPT Review Conference also stipulates a number of steps to be taken by all the nuclear-weapon States, such as further unilateral efforts to reduce their nuclear arsenals, the engagement of all the nuclear-weapon States in the process leading to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons and increased transparency with regard to nuclear weapons capabilities. Although I will not reiterate each of them here, let me emphasize that they are all indispensable steps that will lead us to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
Fourthly, Japan fully endorses the further development of verification capabilities to ensure a nuclear weapons-free world as envisaged in the NPT Final Document. Japan stresses the importance at this particular juncture of the IAEA Model Protocol, and welcomes the resolution adopted on September 22 at the IAEA General Assembly which contains elements of a plan of action to promote and facilitate the conclusion and entry into force of safeguards agreements and additional protocols.
The draft text of Japan's resolution, which contains all the elements I have discussed, will be formally introduced in due course. It is our intention to seek its adoption with the widest possible support.
Mr. Chairman,
The second item to which Japan attaches great importance is small arms. The excessive and destabilizing accumulation and transfer of these arms continues to take a grave toll in human life and causes tremendous suffering in many parts of the world. It is encouraging that various global, regional and national initiatives and measures have been taken to cope with this problem. The United Nations Conference on Small Arms scheduled for next year should provide a valuable opportunity to consolidate and further strengthen such efforts as well as an occasion to promote international cooperation in dealing with this problem.
Japan has taken the initiative to introduce several General Assembly resolutions on small arms since 1995, and has made substantial contributions to various international activities in this area, especially within the framework of the United Nations. Those contributions include the establishment of two United Nations Governmental Groups of Experts on Small Arms, and donations of more than US$ 3.5 million in support of United Nations activities.
We intend to continue to play a key role by, for example, presenting for the Presidency of the UN Conference on Small Arms a candidate with excellent expertise and experience, namely Ambassador Donowaki, who chaired both aforementioned UN Governmental Groups of Experts which produced two highly valuable reports in 1997 and 1999. And in order to facilitate the preparatory process of the UN Conference, Japan will introduce in this Committee a draft decision on the date and venue of the Conference. Its text will be formally submitted to the Secretariat in due course.
Mr. Chairman,
Japan is also concerned about the ongoing proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. This trend is threatening peace and stability in different regions and is affecting the security of the entire world. It will be the task of the international community in the twenty-first century to counter this new challenge. In this connection, Japan welcomes the statement made by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to suspend missile launches while its high-level talks with the United States are under way and calls upon it to continue that suspension.
Mr. Chairman,
I will now briefly touch upon other items which are also on the agenda of this Committee.
First, Japan believes that the negotiations on a protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention should be concluded before the BWC Review Conference is convened next year. There are more than a few unresolved issues, and all States concerned should make further efforts to bridge their differences.
Secondly, with regard to the UN Register of Conventional Arms, Japan strongly hopes that a resolution endorsing the UN Secretary-General's report will be adopted with overwhelming support. I might add in this connection that we welcome the participation of Uzbekistan in the Register, enhancing the usefulness of this mechanism as an international confidence-building measure.
Thirdly, the Meeting of the States Parties to the Ottawa Convention for the prohibition of anti-personnel landmines held this September in Geneva addressed the problem of the continued use of these weapons. Japan has long been involved in efforts to deal with this problem and will continue to make major contributions to international initiatives until the goal of "zero victims" is achieved.
Finally, Japan pays particular attention to the work being done by the three UN regional centers for peace and disarmament. I highly appreciate the Asia-Pacific Regional Centre for its constructive role, particularly in the preparation of an agreement on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia.
Mr. Chairman,
I would like to conclude my statement by reiterating my full confidence in your ability to lead our work in such a way that will achieve significant results. I can assure you of my delegation's full cooperation throughout your tenure.
Thank you very much.