Statement by H.E. Mr. Takeshi Hikihara, Permanent Representative, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna at the Fifty-Eighth Session of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO
Thank you, Chair.
Let me first thank you, Ambassador Darío Ernesto Chirú Ochoa, for your leadership, and the PTS for their dedicated work in holding the 58th Session of the Preparatory Commission. My appreciation also goes to the Chairs of Working Group A, Ambassador Nguyen Trung Kien of Vietnam, and of Working Group B, Mr. Erlan Batyrbekov of Kazakhstan, as well as the Acting Chair of the Advisory Group, Mr. Pedro Alexandre Penha Brasil of Brazil, for their valuable contribution to the work of the organization.
I would also like to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Robert Floyd, for his engaging and encouraging opening remarks.
We welcome the Gambia and Tuvalu’s ratification of the CTBT in March, as well as the Commonwealth of Dominica’s signature of the Treaty in May. Japan applauds these achievements through the vigorous outreach activities by the Executive Secretary to promote the entry into force of the treaty. We urge all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty without further delay, in particular the remaining eight States listed in Annex 2.
[Strengthening Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Regime]
Japan is firmly determined to lead international efforts towards achieving a world without nuclear weapons under the leadership of Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio hailing from Hiroshima. As the Prime Minister stated in the "Kishida Vision for Peace" speech delivered at the Shangri-La Dialogue earlier this month, it is necessary to build a roadmap that will take us from the "reality" to our "ideal" of “a world free of nuclear weapons” and to press forward with realistic nuclear disarmament efforts.
More than ever before, we need to maintain and strengthen the NPT, as the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. With this in mind, we will do our utmost efforts to achieve a meaningful outcome at the NPT Review Conference this August.
We would also like to reiterate the importance of the CTBT as the normative framework of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, along with the NPT. Japan attaches great importance to the universalization and the promotion of the entry into force of the treaty. In this regard, as the co-coordinating country together with Australia, we are planning to hold the Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the CTBT in New York this September. Japan believes that this meeting will provide another opportunity to reinforce the political momentum towards the entry into force of the CTBT.
[Challenge against the Nuclear Disarmament & Non-Proliferation Regime]
In the past few months, specific issues have shaken the very foundation of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.
First, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Japan strongly condemns this unlawful and unjustified act of violence. Amid the crisis in Ukraine, the use of nuclear weapons by Russia is being mentioned as a real possibility. We must not repeat the scourge of nuclear weapons. The threat of nuclear weapons, let alone the use of them, should never be tolerated. As the only country that has suffered the devastation of atomic bombings during the war, Japan strongly appeals for this.
While we are facing serious concern for nuclear proliferation, now more than ever, we highlight the significance of the CTBT which provides effective verification tools for banning any kinds of nuclear explosive tests and thus contribute to the confidence building and regional stability.
Second, the situation in North Korea. North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, including the unprecedented series of ballistic missile tests, threatens the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community, and is totally unacceptable.
Japan reaffirms its strong commitment to working with the international community in achieving complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all 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 the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
We urge 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 UN Security Council Resolutions.
[Human Recourses and Appointment]
A strong and effective functioning Secretariat is indispensable for the CTBT to fulfill its role as a pillar of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime.
In this respect, we welcome the recommendation by the Executive Secretary to appoint the Director of the Administration Division. We hope that, under the leadership of the Executive Secretary, the organizational structure of the PTS will be further strengthened, and the activities of the PTS will be further promoted in an integrated manner.
We highly value the efforts by the PTS to promote gender parity within its Staff. We look forward to seeing further results of the efforts undertaken by the PTS to also improve geographical representation.
With regard to the Advisory Group (AG) Chair, we hope that the candidate nominated by the United Kingdom will be swiftly appointed to put an end to the irregular and too much extended absence of the Chair.
Since the issuance of the initial draft of the 2023 Budget Update Proposals, the rise of the global inflation rate and the significant increase in fuel prices are posing challenges for the global economy. Considering the impact of these issues, Japan strongly encourages efficient formulation and implementation of the budget in order to enhance stability and effectiveness of the verification regime.
In this regard, we request the PTS to secure sufficient budget for capacity building activities, especially for developing countries. This is indispensable to ensure the effectiveness of the verification system.
[Consideration of guidelines for holding non-scheduled sessions]
We welcome the proposal on guidelines for holding non-scheduled sessions of the Commission by Ambassador Duarte of Brazil, the facilitator of this issue. We would like to contribute to the discussion toward the formulation of clear and flexible guidelines to enable the Preparatory Commission to promptly hold sessions in case of emergency.
As we see, we have many substantial issues waiting for us this week. We look forward to fruitful substantive discussions at this meeting under your leadership.
Thank you, Chair.