Statement by Japan at the 62nd IAEA General Conference, Minister of State Masaji Matsuyama on 17 September 2018

Madam President,
Madam Acting Director General,
Distinguished guests,

First of all, I would like to congratulate Ms. Marta Ziakova on her election as the President of the 62nd IAEA General Conference. Japan highly commends the IAEA’s work in promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and nuclear non-proliferation. Japan will continue to fully support the Agency and invites all Member States to do so.

I would like to begin by touching upon some of the most pressing issues facing the international non-proliferation regime today.

The first topic is North Korea’s nuclear issue. At the Summit between the United States and North Korea in June, the intention of Chairman Kim Jong-Un of the State Affairs Commission towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was reaffirmed in the form of on a document. Japan supports this as a step towards the comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern regarding North Korea. The international community needs to come together to support the process between the United States and North Korea.

In the meantime, the IAEA Director General’s recent report has pointed out that North Korea continues its nuclear program. The situation surrounding North Korea remains uncertain.

Japan strongly urges North Korea to dismantle all of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, in accordance with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Verification is indispensable in achieving the denuclearization of North Korea. Japan calls for cooperation by the international community to assist the IAEA in playing a central role, making full use of its expertise and experience.

The second topic of importance is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Japan supports the JCPOA from the viewpoint of strengthening the international non-proliferation regime and securing regional stability. In this regard, Japan urges Iran and other parties to the JCPOA to continue its implementation.

The IAEA has an important role in monitoring and verifying the implementation of the JCPOA. Japan, in collaboration with the IAEA, hosted training programs for Iran on safeguards and nuclear safety as part of our support for the Agency’s activities. Japan will stand by the IAEA to support further efforts.

Madam President,

Next, I would like to share recent developments that are of significance to Japan’s nuclear policy.

First, the Strategic Energy Plan, which sets forth Japan’s medium- and long-term energy policy, was revised in July for the first time in four years. Based on this plan, Japan is working to achieve an optimal energy mix by 2030 by reducing its dependency on nuclear power as much as possible, while restarting nuclear power plants with safety as the top priority.

Looking ahead to 2050 from a longer-term perspective, Japan will seek every option for energy transitions and decarbonization. To this end, Japan will immediately undertake to strengthen the foundations of human resources, technologies and industries and aim for innovation in nuclear power, by developing backend technology and pursuing reactors with enhanced safety and mobility, in view of international trends such as the development of innovative reactors.

Additionally, we will continue discussions in the Strategic Working Group of the Governmental Council on Fast Reactor Development, while stepping up the efforts to enable the final disposal of radioactive waste, which includes the publication of the Nationwide Map of Scientific Features for Geological Disposal.

Japan will steadily move forward to implement the Strategic Energy Plan.

Secondly, the Japan Atomic Energy Commission revised for the first time in fifteen years, the Basic Principles on Japan’s Utilization of Plutonium. We have informed IAEA Member States through an Information Circular of this revision.

Japan will maintain adherence to the principle of not possessing plutonium without specific purposes. Based on this principle, Japan announced a policy of reducing the size of its plutonium.

The IAEA has concluded that all nuclear material in Japan, including plutonium, remained in peaceful activities under stringent IAEA Safeguards. Japan has no issues in relation to non-proliferation.

The Government of Japan is committed to fulfilling its responsibilities in nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. To this end, we will steadily carry out plutonium thermal power generation, increase transparency in the use and management of its plutonium, and accept stringent IAEA Safeguards.

Japan will continue to communicate its nuclear energy policy to the international community through the IAEA and the White Paper on Nuclear Energy published in July as well as other platforms, all with a view in promoting transparency.

Madam President,

Seven years have passed since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Japan is making steady progress in the decommissioning work and the management of contaminated water. Japan will accept the fourth peer review mission from the IAEA in November of this year.

Environmental remediation activities are continuing to move forward, with the decontamination measures being completed as planned by the national and local governments. Japan will continuously provide information on these developments to the international community in a transparent manner.

Many countries have already lifted the import restriction on Japanese foods in view of the strict food safety management system Japan applies, including shipping restrictions, and monitoring results obtained to date. We welcome this trend and call on all countries and regions to lift import restrictions based on scientific evidence.

Madam President,

Japan is working to further enhance nuclear safety. To date, nine nuclear reactors have been restarted, and we will put safety first as we restart more reactors.

Cooperation with international organizations is another priority. For instance, Japan has been working to make further improvements in nuclear regulations based on the recommendations and suggestions of the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) missions. Japan has requested the IAEA to conduct an IRRS follow-up mission, which will be conducted in the summer of 2019 or later. Japanese operators are also continuing their own efforts to enhance safety, including accepting the IAEA’s Operational Safety Review Team follow-up mission on a regular basis.

Additionally, Japan actively participated in the Review Meeting of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, which took place earlier this year.

Building on the experience from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, Japan also contributes to advancing nuclear safety worldwide through support for the IAEA Response and Assistance Network (RANET) Capacity Building Centre in Fukushima.

At the same time, Japan is also assisting in the development of infrastructure and human resources in countries introducing nuclear power generation.
Furthermore, Japan calls upon all countries with nuclear power plants to request peer reviews and develop human resources, urges all relevant countries to give due considerations to safety when engaged in international nuclear cooperation, and underscores the importance of appropriately disseminating information and maintaining transparency regarding nuclear facilities including in case of emergency.

Madam President,

Promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is one of the three pillars of the NPT. Japan supports “Atoms for Peace and Development,” an initiative undertaken by Director General Yukiya Amano, as it contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. From this standpoint, Japan will serve as the co-chair of the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology, which will be held in November. I wish to kindly request Member States’ support for the success of the upcoming conference.

I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that Japan has decided to contribute approximately one million US dollars in total, through the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI), to technical cooperation projects in the fields such as nuclear medicine and water resource management. With this support, Japan’s total financial assistance through the PUI over the past year amounts to approximately 5.2 million US dollars (580 million Japanese Yen).

Japan also hopes for enhanced cooperation between the IAEA and Japanese universities, research institutions, private companies, and development agencies especially in the area of promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Additionally, as we approach the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference which will be held next month, I would like to reiterate the importance of research and development in nuclear fusion.

Madam President,

Nuclear security is another key area of Japan’s focus. In view of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Japan and the IAEA signed practical arrangements on cooperation in nuclear security measures this year. On the basis of these arrangements, Japan will step up collaborative efforts with the IAEA to increase readiness for countering nuclear terrorism.

Japan will also work to reinforce domestic nuclear security measures by receiving the IAEA’s International Physical Protection Advisory Service follow-up mission this autumn. Moreover, Japan will help to advance nuclear security worldwide through human resources development projects conducted in cooperation with the IAEA and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Nuclear Security.

Madam President,

IAEA Safeguards are an essential instrument for nuclear non-proliferation. Japan strongly supports the IAEA’s efforts to make safeguards more effective and efficient. At the same time, Japan will keep up the stringent implementation of domestic safeguards.

With the aim of further strengthening the international non-proliferation regime, Japan attaches particular importance to the universalization of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and its Additional Protocols. Japan strives to help universalize the Additional Protocols and make Safeguards more effective and efficient, through contributing to the success of the IAEA Safeguards Symposium, to be held in November, as well as the Asia Senior-Level Talks on Non-Proliferation and the Asia Pacific Safeguards Network. We call upon the international community to make further efforts in this area.

Madam President,

In closing, I would like to reiterate, on behalf of my government, Japan’s firm commitment to further promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Thank you for your kind attention.