Statement by H.E. Mr. Mitsuru Kitano, Permanent Representative, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna at the Forty-Eighth Session of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO

Thank you, Madam Chair,

At the outset, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you Madam Chair, Ambassador Paulina Maria Franceschi Navarro, for organizing this meeting.

I would also like to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, for his opening remarks.

As mentioned in his opening remarks, we welcome the recent certification of the radionuclide station RN24 in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador as well as the certification of the hydroacoustic station HA04 in the Crozet Islands in France which has completed the hydroacoustic part of the International Monitoring System. We commend the efforts of the concerned countries and the PTS for this remarkable achievement.

I also would like to commend the remarkable effort undertaken by the Provisional Technical Secretariat to prepare for the important Science and Technology (SnT) Conference next week and look forward to the Conference.

[Working Group A and Working Group B]

Madam Chair,

I would like to thank the Chairs of both Working Group A (WGA) and Working Group B (WGB) for their able leadership and commend them for the successful conclusion of the respective Working Group sessions earlier this year.

[Advisory Group]

Madam Chair,

We appreciate the work of the Advisory Group (AG) from its Forty-Eighth Session and take note of the report and its recommendations. We thank the Chair of the AG, Sir Michael Weston, for his continued efforts for the work of the Commission.

[Budget and Medium Term Strategy]

Madam Chair,       

On the 2018-2019 Programme and Budget Proposals, we have been carefully reviewing the initial budget proposals by the PTS. The Government of Japan continues to implement financial austerity measures and our basic stance on the budget of the international organizations across the board remains the same. Thus, while commending the efforts of the PTS for re-prioritization of its projects and cost-saving measures, Japan encourages the PTS to keep exploring further cost-saving and efficiency measures. 

With regard to the Medium Term Strategy (MTS), we understand that the MTS is an internal PTS strategic planning tool with a non-binding nature. And as such, we believe that the MTS’s relationship with the Programme and Budget Proposals, a document which is negotiated and approved by the Commission, should be further clarified in the updated Budget Proposals in the manner as recommended by the AG. We further hope that the PTS will reflect the comments made during the Fifty-First Session of Working Group A, as well as the current Session of the Preparatory Commission, to the revised Programme and Budget proposals.

[Appointments and elections]

Madam Chair,       

We support the extension of the term of the two directors, the Director of the On-Site Inspection Division, Mr Oleg Rozhkov, and the Director of the International Monitoring System Division, Ms Nurcan Meral Ozel.

As for the appointment for the External Auditor to the Preparatory Commission, we support the candidature of the Auditor-General of Thailand and warmly welcome Thailand’s readiness to take up this important work for the Commission. We sincerely hope that Thailand’s ratification process is completed by the Article XIV Conference in September this year.

[Developing guidelines for holding extraordinary sessions of the Commission]

Madam Chair,

With regard to extraordinary sessions of the Commission, we believe that such sessions could serve a purpose for the Commission, by allowing it to address matters of great importance and/or great urgency, such as the case of the violation of the no-test norm as committed by North Korea on 6 January and 9 September last year.

With such potential benefits in mind, my delegation looks forward to positively engaging in discussions on this matter.

[Activities as the Co-coordinators of the Article XIV Process]

Madam Chair,

As mentioned by the Executive Secretary, I am pleased to inform States Signatories that Ambassador Sarybay of Kazakhstan and I received a reply letter from the UN Secretariat this week informing the date of the 2017 Article XIV Conference as 20 September.

We commend the efforts being undertaken by Belgium and Iraq, as the Presidents-designate of the 2017 Article XIV Conference. We will continue to support their work and will actively engage in the discussions towards the adoption of a final declaration. We would like to call for ministerial level attendance from all States to the Article XIV Conference in September, and cooperation by all Signatories to reinforce the political momentum towards the early entry into force and universalization of the Treaty, building upon the positive outcome of the First Session of the 2017 Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference, held in Vienna, from 2 to 12 May 2017.

As a part of ongoing efforts by Japan as Co-Coordinator of the Article XIV process, as announced before, the Government of Japan will hold the Regional Conference for States in South East Asia, the Pacific and the Far East (SEAPFE) Region in July this year in Tokyo. This conference will offer a great opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of the CTBT verification regime and will discuss ways to further advance the universalization of the Treaty among the countries in the SEAPFE region.

Japan together with Kazakhstan will continue our dedicated efforts to promote the advancement of the Treaty and reach out to the remaining Annex II States.

I thank you, Madam Chair.