STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. YOSHITOMO TANAKA,
REPRESENTATIVE OF JAPAN,
AT THE FIRST COMMITTEE
OF THE 48TH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
TUESDAY, 19 OCTOBER 1993
UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK
With the end of the Cold War, we have witnessed far-reaching changes in the international security environment. The greatest of these changes lies in the fact that the probability of nuclear war between the superpowers and of world-scale armed conflict has receded dramatically. But on the other side of the coin is the increasingly unstable political and military situation in various parts of the world. Local confrontations and conflicts stemming from religious or ethnic differences which had been suppressed during the Cold War have become more virulent, and have emerged as a new threat to international peace and security. Every day brings horrific reports of new atrocities which demand our attention.
Indeed, we are living in a transitional period, where the only certainty is uncertainty, and the search for a new world order is hampered by a range of unforeseen difficulties. At such a time, building confidence among nations through multilateral cooperation is more important than ever before in order to maintain and strengthen international peace and security. This situation requires, in particular, that the international community take responsible measures to tackle the problem of both the transfer and proliferation of various kinds of weapons, deadly instruments whose targets are all too often innocent human beings.
The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction - whether they are nuclear, chemical or biological weapons - and their delivery systems is the problem that demands our most urgent attention. There are currently in place several international regimes to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction which could seriously threaten world peace and security. These regimes have played an important role in making this a more secure world.
Of all the international disarmament instruments, it is of course the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that has played a pivotal role in the field of global nuclear non-proliferation. In fact, for more than twenty years the NPT has provided an important legal framework for reconciling the objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons with that of promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy, thus enhancing world security. Japan, for its part, has on many occasions stressed the importance of strengthening this regime by enhancing its universality. Japan welcomes the accession of the Republic of Belarus to the NPT and hopes that the Republics of Kazakhstan and Ukraine will both accede to it as non-nuclear weapon States.
It is important that all States, both nuclear and non-nuclear, make serious efforts to maintain and strengthen the NPT regime. In 1995 a conference will be convened to review the Treaty and to decide on the period of its extension.
In his statement before the General Assembly last month, Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa affirmed Japan's support for the indefinite extension of this Treaty beyond 1995. I would emphasize here that the indefinite extension of the NPT, however, does not mean nor should not mean to perpetuate the possession of nuclear weapons by the nuclear weapon States. The outcome of the 1995 NPT Conference will have important implications for the maintenance of international peace and security into the twenty-first century.
Today, the international security environment is markedly different from that which prevailed in 1990, at the time we prepared for the Fourth Review Conference of the NPT. In January this year, the United States of America and the Russian Federation, having agreed on large-scale reductions in their respective nuclear weapons stockpiles, signed the START II treaty. This, together with the INF agreement and the START I treaty which had been concluded earlier, represents significant progress toward nuclear disarmament.
Japan hopes that the Republic of Ukraine will speedily ratify the START I treaty - an essential step for the smooth implementation of both START treaties - and that sharp reductions in the nuclear arsenals on both sides will in fact be achieved. Japan, for its part, has demonstrated its readiness to help promote the process of dismantling nuclear weapons by announcing, for example, its commitment of assistance in related fields.
In view of the changing international situation, the question of how to control fissile materials for military purposes will undoubtedly become increasingly important, and the question of prohibiting the production of nuclear fissile materials for weapons purposes will require the serious attention of all States.
A comprehensive ban on nuclear testing has long been an issue of the highest priority in nuclear disarmament. Japan, which is the only victim of a nuclear bombing, has strongly objected to nuclear testing by any State. And this year, which coincides with the thirtieth anniversary of both the signing and the entering into force of the Partial Test Ban Treaty, important progress has been made. I am referring, first of all, to the commitments announced this summer by the United States, France, and the Russian Federation to the moratorium on nuclear testing. Japan heartily welcomes their commitment. As a result of the suspension of nuclear tests, momentum was created in the Conference on Disarmament for the early initiation of the negotiations on a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Then, at its plenary meeting on August 10th, the Conference decided to give the Ad Hoc Committee on a Nuclear Test Ban a negotiating mandate - a decision of great significance in the history of nuclear disarmament. Since then, the Conference has been engaged in preparatory work, including the drafting of a specific negotiating mandate, working even beyond its 1993 session in order to realize the smooth commencement of negotiations on a CTBT next year. I have been given the privilege of chairing the Ad Hoc Committee on a Nuclear Test Ban this year and am determined to see that the preparatory work is successfully completed.
It is deeply regrettable that the People's Republic of China carried out a nuclear test on October 5th, going against the growing international momentum toward a comprehensive nuclear test ban. We sincerely hope that negotiations toward a comprehensive nuclear test ban will not be impeded by this test. Japan strongly urges China not to repeat nuclear testing, and calls on other nuclear weapon States to continue to refrain from conducting nuclear tests. I believe that a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will be an extremely important instrument in the field of disarmament, not only for halting and reversing the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons but also for preventing their horizontal proliferation. Inasmuch as the Conference on Disarmament is the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, it is imperative that a CTBT be negotiated by the Conference from the earliest stages. Having successfully concluded the negotiations on the Chemical Weapons Convention last year, the Conference should now make the negotiation of a CTBT a matter of highest priority.
The Ad Hoc Committee on Negative Security Assurance, established within the Conference on Disarmament, has conducted its negotiations over the course of many years. It has searched for common elements in the unilateral declarations that the five nuclear weapon States have made in the past, and has considered the possibility of reaching a legally binding agreement. Any substantive progress made on NSA next year could contribute to building a favorable environment for the 1995 NPT Conference.
Japan firmly believes that progress on concrete nuclear disarmament measures will have a positive impact on the strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime as well as on the outcome of the 1995 NPT Conference.
Since January this year, when the Signing Ceremony was held in Paris, 154 States have signed the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; four States have already submitted the instrument of ratification to the UN Secretary-General as the Depositary of the Convention.
The preparatory work for the implementation of the Convention once it enters into force began in the Hague in February and has continued almost without a break. Japan urges those States which have not yet done so to sign the Convention. It also hopes that more signatory States will take an active part in the preparatory work.
The Chemical Weapons Convention provides for the complete destruction of existing chemical weapons as well as of the facilities that produce them. It also prohibits the development and production of such weapons and provides strict verification measures. Japan believes the Convention will become an important legal framework for ensuring the non-proliferation and total elimination of chemical weapons in the future. With its own highly advanced chemical industries, Japan will continue to make utmost efforts toward the smooth implementation of the Convention, particularly toward the establishment of effective verification systems in the field of industrial verification.
The Biological Weapons Convention is no less important than the Chemical Weapons Convention. Japan wishes once again to call upon States which have not yet ratified or acceded to it to do so immediately. The Group of Governmental Experts, which was established by the decision of the Third Review Conference of the Parties to the Convention, met in four sessions over the past two years with a view to evaluating, from a scientific and technical standpoint, potential verification measures. Last month, the Group completed its work by adopting what I believe is a valuable report. It will be necessary in the future to take concrete action to develop the suggestions made in that report and thus strengthen the Convention. The Government of Jjapan, whose representative expert has participated in the meetings, will continue to contribute as actively as possible to that end.
I should like now to proceed to the question of non-proliferation of systems for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction, such as missiles and missile launchers, and related technologies. This issue is also, in the view of my Government, a matter for urgent international consideration. The Missile Technology Control Regime is an export control mechanism which has been effectively preventing the uncontrolled proliferation of such weapons and related technologies, and as such it has Japan's full support.
In this post-Cold War era, as we witness the eruption of numerous regional conflicts, the proliferation of missiles, even those having a relatively short range could pose a serious threat. As a representative of Japan, I can say that there is increased concern throughout Asia over the proliferation of missiles and related technologies. It is high time we considered specific measures aimed at minimizing such concerns.
While the question of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction deserves the highest priority, we must not overlook the importance of the disarmament of conventional weapons, particularly in view of the armed conflicts that are currently raging in various parts of the world. As was demonstrated in the Gulf War, the transfer of conventional weapons, if effected without any controls can destabilize a region, and thus give rise to armed conflict. Self-restraint by arms suppliers is essential. But it is also the responsibility of the international community to take effective measures to put the brakes on the unregulated and unprincipled transfer of weapons.
The United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, which is this year in its first operational phase, is an important element in such international endeavors. It aims to achieve greater transparency in the transfer of armaments, and directs both suppliers and recipients of arms to conduct their activities in a responsible manner for the maintenance of international peace and security. Japan hopes that a substantially larger number of States will understand the significance of the register and join the regime.
In accordance with the resolution which the General Assembly adopted last year on the question of transparency in armaments, the Secretary-General issued the first report on the Register. It informs us that 77 States have submitted data and many of them have voluntarily provided additional relevant information on transfers of conventional arms. This is an encouraging achievement. Japan, having taken the initiative from the earliest stages for the establishment of the Register, will continue to cooperate with other nations to achieve a wider participation as well as to improve and develop the Register.
The basic objective of the Registers is, of course, to increase transparency in armaments throughout the world and thus to foster a climate of confidence among States. Japan is of the view that, in addition to this global approach, there is also a need to promote regional cooperation. This would include devising supplementary measures on transparency adjusted to the specific characteristic of each region.
In accordance with resolution 47/52L, the Conference on Disarmament established the Ad Hoc Committee on Transparency in Armaments, which quickly began its work of studying the many concrete proposals that have been submitted. Japan supports the decision of the Conference to have the Ad Hoc Committee continue its deliberations next year.
As for the First Committee, japan strongly hopes it will adopt by consensus a resolution on transparency in armaments, as was the case last year.
As Prime Minister Hosokawa affirmed in his statement before the General Assembly, Japan is determined to continue to work in cooperation with the United Nations for the purpose of maintaining international peace and stability. Let me conclude my statement by assuring you that Japan will participate as actively as possible in international cooperative efforts toward that end.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.