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

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
At the outset, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you, Ambassador Ganeson Sivagurunathan, for your leadership as Chair of this Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO. I would also like to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, for his comprehensive opening remarks, and particularly for his visit to Japan this past August to participate in the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima. My appreciation also goes to the chairs of Working Group A and Working Group B, as well as the Advisory Group.
[Entry into Force]
Mr. Chairperson,
Japan attaches great importance to the CTBT as a key pillar of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime centered upon the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The promotion of the entry into force of the CTBT is one of our top priorities, and 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.
In this regard, we welcome the adoption of the Final Declaration at the Article XIV conference held on 25 September in New York under the leadership of Algeria and Germany who served as Co-Chairs of the conference.
The NPT Review Conference will be held next year. Although the current status of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation is becoming more unpredictable, we should create positive momentum in the lead up to the Conference through activities which advance the entry into force of the Treaty.
[North Korea]
Mr. Chairperson,
Japan strongly condemns North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches, which are in violation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs). 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 come into 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.
[Budgetary Issues]
Mr. Chairperson,
I would like to thank the PTS for presenting the final Budget Proposals for 2020-2021. Japan continues to implement financial austerity measures under current severe fiscal circumstances. Japan's basic stance on the budget of international organizations across the board is well known and remains unchanged. On the other hand, considering the critical importance of the Treaty and the continuous efforts of the PTS for additional savings, Japan is ready to join consensus on the final budget proposals.
With regard to the issue of the use of the 2016-2017 cash surplus, Japan attaches great importance to the recapitalization of the hydroacoustic station HA08 that has ceased to function since 2014. However, if no consensus is reached and the cash surplus is not allocated to any projects, no benefit will be attained for the CTBTO and all its States Signatories. Hence, reaching consensus on this matter at this Preparatory Commission is crucial as we usually do here in Vienna.
Mr. Chairperson,
We support the appointment of H.E. Ambassador Faouzia Mebarki of Algeria as the new Chairperson of the Preparatory Commission for 2020. On the appointment of the Vice-Chairperson of the Commission for 2020, the Group of South East Asia, the Pacific and the Far East (SEAPFE) endorsed my nomination. Japan on behalf of the SEAPFE group hopes that the Commission will approve the appointment of myself as the Vice-Chairperson of the Commission. We also support the reappointment of Mr Xiaoning Wang, Director of Legal and External Relations Division, and the appointments of the members of the Advisory Group.
[Mobile noble gas measurement system]
Mr. Chairperson,
We understand that the current campaign of the mobile noble gas measurement system contributes to improving the capability of the IMS in detecting noble gas from nuclear tests through further understanding of the noble gas background. Therefore, Japan believes that the campaign meets the purpose of the Treaty.
Nevertheless, it is important for the PTS to share information with States Signatories in order to promote further understanding of the operation of this mobile system. We request the PTS to continue providing information on the technical and scientific aspects of this matter.
With regard to the guidance for further activities of the PTS on noble gas background characterization, we hope that the discussion on this matter will continue at the WGB with the view towards making the best use of mobile systems.
I thank you, Mr. Chairperson.