Statement by Ambassador Mitsuru Kitano at the Diplomatic Conference

Mr. President, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, let me join other colleagues in congratulating you, Mr. President, on your election as President of this Diplomatic Conference. I would also like to pay tribute to you for your contribution as Chair of the preparatory process for this Conference. Thanks to your great effort and guidance, we have come a long way, which provide us a good and essential basis for this Conference.

Over the past four years, within the framework of this important legal instrument, the Contracting Parties have engaged in vigorous discussion over how best we can strengthen the effectiveness of this Convention, and thereby enhance international nuclear safety. Japan actively engaged itself in this discussion as part of its effort to fulfill its responsibility to contribute to this objective as a country that experienced the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

During the course of this discussion, we renewed our recognition of the fact that States have made significant efforts of various kinds aimed at further enhancing nuclear safety, at their own initiative, as part of regional cooperation, and under the international framework of cooperation including the peer review process of this Convention and the IAEA. Needless to say, Japan has made its own effort which led to the establishment of a highly independent regulatory authority and new safety regulations. Furthermore, Japan has made and will continue to make dedicated effort, with the cooperation of the IAEA, to disseminate information relating to the work of decontamination and decommissioning after the accident.

We cannot stress enough the fact that the use of nuclear energy requires perpetual effort to ensure and strengthen safety. Each State has the primary responsibility in this regard, and in particular, tireless efforts by those States that use nuclear energy for power generation and those with plans to do so are essential. The proposal by the Swiss Confederation has refocused our attention on the important objectives of mitigating effects of an accident and avoiding releases of radionuclides, and of applying those objectives at existing nuclear power plants in order to implement appropriate safety improvements. We believe that it is a significant achievement that awareness has been raised in many States since the proposal was put forth. Japan, on its part, had already taken such measures, and it is important that each State independently takes necessary measures.

The Convention on Nuclear Safety is a critically important instrument that ensures implementation of such measures by each Contracting Party. The effectiveness of this Convention can be further strengthened when Contracting Parties have common understanding of the important principles included in the Swiss proposal, and each Party commits itself to those principles, takes concrete steps accordingly, and these steps are reviewed under the mechanism of this Convention. This is the most fundamental and important means to enhance international nuclear safety. In doing so, consensus among Contracting Parties is an important prerequisite in enhancing nuclear safety worldwide. I believe that as a result of discussion triggered by the Swiss proposal, we have made steady progress toward such common understanding, commitments and improvement of the review mechanism for enhancing nuclear safety.

The Vienna Declaration, which is in front of us for consideration, is a concise but robust document which demonstrates our resolve for such endeavour. If adopted by consensus, our works start anew immediately thereafter, and they will be reviewed in review meetings. Moreover, consensus will contribute to maintaining the integrity of this Convention, which is a prerequisite for the review process to function properly.

From Japan’s perspective, what we should do at this Diplomatic Conference is make this declaration by consensus, building on the useful discussion that has taken place to date. This way, we can send a strong message to the public and the media about significant steps forward in enhancing nuclear safety. Thus, Japan supports, and at the same time, strongly hopes the proposed Vienna Declaration will be adopted by consensus.

Thank you, Mr. President.
The Practical Export Control Workshop was hosted by the Wassenaar Arrangement as part of its 20th Anniversary programs and held at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna on 27 and 28 June 2016. More than 100 government representatives from 46 countries participated in the technically focused Practical Workshop.
Workshop speakers included the 2016 WA Plenary Chair Ambassador Anu Laamanen (Finland), 2016 WA General Working Group Chair Ambassador Paul Beijer (Sweden), 2015-2016 WA Experts Group Chair Robertas Rosinas (Lithuania), 2016 WA Licensing and Enforcement Officers Meeting Chair Jon Erik Strömö (Norway), as well as the Head of the WA Secretariat, Ambassador Philip Griffiths. The WA control lists as well as export licensing and enforcement topics were covered during the two days.
The following link from WA’s webpage contains more details: