STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. YOSHITOMO TANAKA
REPRESENTATIVE OF JAPAN
AT THE FIRST COMMITTEE OF
THE 49TH SESSION OF
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK
TUESDAY, 18 OCTOBER 1994
Let me first, on behalf of the Japanese delegation, extend to you my warmest congratulations on your assumption of the chairmanship of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly during its forty-ninth session. You may be assured of my delegation's full cooperation as you strive to lead the work of the First Committee to a successful conclusion.
The maintenance of international peace and security is the primary area of concern to the United Nations. As Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Yohei Kono, affirmed in his address before the UN General Assembly on 27 September, in that area of endeavor Japan places great emphasis on disarmament and non-proliferation. The only country to have suffered a nuclear attack, Japan strictly observes the three principles of not producing, not possessing, and not allowing into its territory nuclear weapons of any kind. It is steadfastly committed to the ultimate goal of the elimination of all nuclear weapons. At the same time, Japan supports the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and calls on all States that have not yet acceded to the treaty to do so at the earliest opportunity.
In its recently released Department of Defense report on the nuclear posture review, the United States indicated that once START II has been ratified, and if the present favorable trend continued in its relations with the newly independent States that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, it would work for further reductions in its strategic nuclear arms. Speaking before the General Assembly on 26 September, President Clinton declared that the United States and the Russian Federation were "working on agreements to halt production of fissile materials for nuclear explosives, to make dismantling of nuclear warheads transparent and irreversible, and to further reduce [their] nuclear weapons in delivery vehicles." And in his address to the General Assembly on that same day, President Yeltsin stated that "we should think over further steps to limit Russian and American strategic nuclear weapons." We heartily welcome these statements as indications that the trend toward further nuclear disarmament remains strong.
With respect to the negotiations on a Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) which are under way in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, a rolling text has already been formulated, and negotiations will resume immediately after the First Committee concludes its work. Japan hopes that substantial progress will be made on technical issues by the end of this year and that, building on such progress, full-fledged negotiations on key political issues will be largely completed early in the CD session next year so that before the NPT Extension Conference is convened we may be confident that a CTBT will be concluded. As Foreign Minister Kono proposed in his General Assembly statement, once the negotiations on the treaty are concluded, a ceremony for its signing by heads of state or government might be held in Japan --for example, in the city of Hiroshima. The occasion could be seen as a new starting point for efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all.
Japan attaches great importance to the prohibition of the production of fissile material for explosive purposes, the so-called Cut-Off. Indeed, Japan regards the Cut-Off to be a global nuclear disarmament measure, of no less importance than the CTBT. We are therefore encouraged that agreement in principle was achieved to commence negotiations on this important undertaking in the Conference on Disarmament. Japan hopes that Ambassador Shannon of Canada, in his capacity as Special Coordinator on the Cut-Off, will succeed in reaching agreement on the negotiating mandate, and that the negotiations will in fact begin without delay.
The stability of the international community requires that appropriate security assurances are given to non-nuclear weapon States. Japan therefore welcomes the fact that nuclear-weapon States are seriously considering this matter, and hopes that their efforts will result in concrete measures.
As I have noted, numerous significant initiatives have been taken in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, creating a more favorable political environment for the NPT Extension Conference scheduled for April 1995. Various issues relating to the NPT extension were seriously discussed and progress was made in the third session of the Preparatory Committee of the 1995 NPT Conference held in Geneva in mid-September. It is disappointing, however, that a complete agreement has not been reached on, for example, the organizational matters of the fourth session of the Preparatory Committee. Japan would like to call upon Ambassador Ayewah, Chairman of the third session of the Preparatory Committee, to conduct further intensive consultations on the pending organizational issues so that the procedures will be in place to ensure that the extension of the NPT is effected smoothly.
I find it profoundly regrettable that on 7 October China once again conducted a nuclear test. China's action is particularly discouraging at this time when the moratorium on nuclear testing is being observed by other nuclear-weapon States as part of their nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts, and when all non-nuclear weapon States are also making serious efforts to achieve that goal. Nuclear testing at this time flies in the face of these international efforts, and Japan calls upon China to desist from conducting further tests.
During the latter half of last month a special conference was held on biological weapons, which are a category of weapons of mass destruction. Japan welcomes the agreement reached at the conference to establish an ad hoc group to ensure compliance with the Convention on Biological Weapons and to prepare for the formulation of a legally binding instrument. Furthermore, Japan hopes that the Chemical Weapons Convention will enter into force as quickly as possible, and is working vigorously for its ratification. We welcome the progress that is being made through these international efforts toward the elimination and non-proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction.
We continue to witness the suffering caused by conventional weapons in conflicts in various parts of the world. The unregulated transfer and excessive accumulation of conventional weapons destabilize the regions concerned and intensify the destructiveness of civil wars. For its part, Japan strictly adheres to its policy of not exporting weapons. As Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Yanagisawa argued in his address to the Conference on Disarmament on 1 September, Japan considers it essential to world peace and stability that the leading arms-producing countries limit their exports of weapons in order not to aggravate regional instability. Furthermore, the question of anti-personnel land mines should be seriously addressed, both as a disarmament problem and as a humanitarian issue. Japan intends to participate actively in the work of reviewing the Conventional Weapons Convention in order to tighten the controls on the use and availability of land mines. The promotion of measures for transparency in armaments (TIA) is also an extremely important aspect of arms control and disarmament in the area of conventional weapons. The UN Arms Register, which was established in 1992 at the initiative of Japan and European countries, had gained the participation of eighty-two countries by 29 September of this year. I find it especially gratifying that several important countries in the Asia-Pacific region have joined the ranks of participants this year. Japan trusts that the discussions conducted in the Conference on Disarmament and by the UN Group of Government Experts, as well as in such regional fora as the ASEAN Regional Forum, will prove useful in strengthening and expanding the Register. Thus we hope that the UN Group of Government Experts will meet again, in 1996 at the latest, to consider the further expansion of the Register.
Japan has endeavored to promote international understanding on TIA, for example by co-hosting seminars with the United Nations. Moreover, I believe the UN regional disarmament centers will have a greater role to play in enhancing the transparency of conventional weapons and promoting arms control on a regional basis. The UN Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, in particular, has been very active in implementing various programs. Japan hopes that the UN Secretariat will take positive measures, including measures in the fields of financing and personnel, in order to further enhance the activities of the UN regional disarmament centers. Continuing the annual practice that it inaugurated in 1989, Japan hosted a UN disarmament conference in Hiroshima this year, and intends to host another in Nagasaki in 1995, the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II.
Next year, which also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the entry into force of the NPT, various disarmament-related meetings will be held. The NPT Review and Extension Conference is but one important example. In this post-Cold-War era, when efforts are being made to create a new world order based on dialogue and cooperation, Japan is determined to play a positive role in achieving further progress in arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation. It is both strengthened and encouraged in its endeavors by the knowledge that international public support of disarmament is gaining momentum, steadily and surely.