Statement by Counsellor Nobutaka Sawada at the Fifty-Fifth Session of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO

Thank you, Madam Chair,
At the outset, we welcome the convening of the present session of the Preparatory Commission despite the difficult situation many International Organizations, including the CTBTO, are now facing due to the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our delegation would like to thank you, Ambassador Faouzia Mebarki, for your leadership as Chair of this Preparatory Commission in coordinating this meeting, as well as the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) for their tireless work. I would also like to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, for his comprehensive opening remarks.
[Entry into Force]
Madam Chair,
Japan is the only country that has experienced the attack of atomic bombings, thus making disarmament and non-proliferation cornerstones of Japan’s foreign policy. Japan attaches great importance to the promotion of the entry into force of the CTBT and its universalization, as one practical and realistic measure in which both nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States can cooperate.
Japan will continue its efforts to promote the entry into force of the Treaty, including through the utilization of the framework of the Friends of the CTBT and by cooperating closely with Algeria and Germany the Co-Coordinators of the process of the Article XIV Conference.
[North Korea]
Madam Chair,
Japan is deeply concerned about North Korea’s continued development of nuclear and ballistic 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 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.
[2021 Budget Update Proposal]
Madam Chair,
Regarding the 2021 budget update proposal, I would like to reiterate that Japan’s basic stance on the budget of the international organizations across the board is well known and remains unchanged. At the same time, we attach great importance to the allocation of adequate resources to the verification regime. We request the PTS to maintain and strengthen the verification regime with stability while continuing to implement cost-saving and efficiency measures.
Taking into consideration the importance of implementing the mandate of the CTBTO and the PTS's cost-saving efforts, we are ready to come to a consensus decision on the proposal before us.
[Appointment of the next Executive Secretary]
Madam Chair,
My delegation is pleased that we were able to successfully conduct the election of the Executive Secretary under these difficult circumstances. We would like to express my sincere gratitude to Madam Chair for your excellent leadership, patience and dedicated work by the PTS. It is unfortunate that we were not able to elect a new Executive Secretary through the voting that took place until yesterday, but we hope that the call for nominations will be announced as soon as possible and a new Executive Secretary will be chosen promptly through a fair an transparent process.
Madam Chair,
With regard to the appointment of the Chairperson of WGB, we would like to express our deep appreciation to Dr. Joachim Schulze, for his many years of significant contributions. I wish him all the best for his future. We hope that a successor will be elected promptly so that discussions and considerations on technical aspects of the CTBTO can continue without delay.
I thank you, Madam Chair.