Statement by H.E. Mr. Takeshi Hikihara, Permanent Representative, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna at the Fifty-Seventh Session of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO

Mr. Chairperson,

Let me first thank Ambassador Ivo Sramek for his leadership, and the PTS for their dedicated work in holding the 57th Session of the Preparatory Commission. I highly appreciate the excellent works done by Ambassador Kruger and Dr. Batyrbekov, the Chairs of the two working groups.

[Appointment of Dr. Floyd and Strengthening the Function of the PTS]

Mr. Chairperson,

My delegation once again congratulates Dr. Robert Floyd on his appointment as the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO. My delegation fully shares a set of priorities mentioned in his comprehensive and substantial opening remarks, and we will make the most effort to support the Executive Secretary and his team for passing of these priorities.
As the only country which has suffered from atomic bombings during war time, Japan will continue to pursue possible pathways to advance international nuclear disarmament in a realistic manner, while making efforts to bridge the gap between countries under the leadership of new Prime Minister, H.E. KISHIDA Fumio, who was born in Hiroshima.
In this context, let me recall you that Japan submitted the Draft Resolution on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons to the recent First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. This resolution was adopted with the support of an overwhelming majority of 152 countries. We thank you for those countries who supported the Resolution. This Resolution contains direct expression of encouragement to sign and ratify the CTBT.

Japan is fully committed to achieving the entry-into-force of the CTBT because this is one of the most realistic and practical initiatives for both nuclear and non-nuclear weapon States to work together.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of the signing of the treaty. The NPT Review Conference is also scheduled for the beginning of next year. At this critical juncture, it is extremely important to enhance the standardization and effectiveness of the Treaty through the further universalization of the Treaty and the development of the verification system, in order to strengthen the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime,
An efficient and effective function of the Secretariat is indispensable for enhancing the standardization and effectiveness of the CTBT. In this regard, the establishment of the Chief of Cabinet position will be certainly a very pertinent step forward. Japan strongly supports this proposal. We hope that, under the leadership of the Executive Secretary, Dr. Floyd, with his significant expertise and extensive managerial experiences, the strengthened and further integrated PTS will fulfill its mandate in more efficient manner.

[Strengthening the IMS Capability]

Mr. Chairperson,

Strengthening the verification regime before the entry-into-force of the Treaty is one of the top priorities that the Preparatory Commission should address, so that the effectiveness of the CTBT is ensured at the point of its entry-into-force.
In this regard, we would like to thank Ambassador Laggner of Switzerland and Ambassador Molekane of South Africa for their dedicated and tireless efforts to formulate a guidance regarding the issue of noble gas background characterization, which is indispensable for the improvement of the nuclear test detection capability.
We believe that the background measurements of noble gas currently being conducted by the PTS is a legitimate activity, authorized by the Resolution Establishing the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO. A guidance to be formulated by the Preparatory Commission should clarify the purpose of monitoring by the transportable systems, and contribute to ensuring the transparency of the activity through such means as timely information distribution by the Secretariat to the Preparatory Commission. Japan will continue to actively engage in discussions to this end.


Mr. Chairperson,

Japan recognizes that sufficient resources must be allocated to the verification regime to ensure the detection of nuclear testing, which is the corner stone of the CTBT. Japan's basic stance on the budget of international organizations across the board is well known and remains unchanged. But we are ready to come to a consensus decision on the 2022-2023 program and budget proposals, given the continued efforts by the Secretariat to implement cost-saving and efficiency-enhancing measures.
With regard to the issue of the utilization of the 2018-2019 cash surplus, Japan supports the proposal by the Secretariat as we take into due account the important function of the Working Capital Fund to cover temporary cash flow shortage.

[North Korea]

Mr. Chairperson,

I would really miss if I concluded my remarks without touching upon the most pending issue in our scope of work, North Korea.
Japan is deeply concerned about North Korea’s continued development of nuclear and missile capabilities. Japan reaffirms its strong commitment to working with the international community in achieving complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles of all ranges as well as related programs and facilities in accordance with relevant UNSCRs. We call upon North Korea to return at an early date to full compliance with the NPT and the IAEA safeguards and to sign and ratify the CTBT. We also call on all States to fully implement relevant UNSCRs.
I thank you, Mr. Chairperson.