Statement by Counsellor Nobutaka Sawada at the Fifty-Ninth Session of Working Group A of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO

At the outset, I would like to thank you, Ambassador Nada Kruger for your dedicated work in leading and coordinating this Session of Working Group A (WGA). Allow me to also thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo for his opening remarks.
[25th anniversary of the opening for signature of the CTBT]
Madam Chair,
This year marks the 25th anniversary since the treaty was opened for signature, and the establishment of the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO. As of today, the number of countries that have signed the treaty is 185, and the number of countries to have ratified the treaty is 170. About 90% of the IMS facilities have completed certification, and the detection of all of the past nuclear tests conducted by North Korea proves its effectiveness.
The universalization and established norms of nuclear test prohibition demonstrates the CTBT’s success in today’s international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. Japan applauds continued efforts made by the PTS and all States Signatories.
[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 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. 
[Budget Update]
Madam Chair,
We appreciate the PTS for preparing the initial draft budget for 2022-2023. We welcome the fact that about 80% of the proposed budget is allocated to verification related activities which are at the core of the CTBTO’s function. As fiscal austerity measures continue to be expected due to the impact of COVID-19, Japan strongly encourages efficient formulation and implementation of the budget for the sustainment and enhancement of a stable and effective verification regime.
We also emphasize the importance of securing the budget for capacity building of NDCs of States Signatories, especially those in developing countries, in order to ensure effectiveness of the verification regime.
We request the PTS to provide detailed information on the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on the next biennial budget, such as details related to the reallocation of budget which was not dispensed due to the pandemic.
From the viewpoint of properly sustaining the capacity to detect nuclear testing, we especially emphasize the restoration of IMS facilities which have not been in use for monitoring in the long term. In this context, we request the PTS to provide detailed information on the outlook of the execution of the 2016-2017 budget surplus.
Japan's basic stance on the budget of the international organizations across the board is well known and remains unchanged. We will constructively participate in the discussion for the adoption by consensus at the Preparatory Commission to be held in November this year.
[SnT 2021]
Madam Chair,
We welcome the efforts by the PTS to hold the upcoming Science and Technology 2021 conference next month. Many experts from Japan are also planning on attending the conference, and NDC from our country will share lessons learned regarding the sustainment and enhancement of the verification regime under the COVID-19 pandemic.
We hope that the conference will provide an opportunity to not only improve the verification regime itself, but also to enhance civil and scientific uses of the technologies.
[New regime of CTBTO]
Madam Chair,
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Sir Michael Weston for chairing the Advisory Group for many years. His wealth of knowledge and experience regarding the CTBTO’s organizational and financial matters, as well as his leadership have made the Group’s discussions and recommendations very insightful. Once again, thank you very much for your contributions over the years.
Before the conclusion, we welcome the election of Dr. Robert Floyd as the first Executive Secretary of the CTBTO to be selected from the South-East Asia, the Pacific and the Far East (SEAPFE) group. Under the leadership of Dr. Floyd, Japan promises its full support in enhancing the treaty’s entry into force and promoting the verification measures.
We also take this opportunity to express our appreciation to Dr. Lassina Zerbo for his service to the CTBTO over the past years. As Executive Secretary, he has made notable contributions in facilitating outreach activities for entry into force of the treaty, as well as strengthening the verification regime. He has also attended numerous peace memorial ceremonies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and shared with the international community the misery related to atomic bombings, by interacting with the survivors and their families. We applaud all achievements and contributions by Dr. Zerbo to create a world where tragedy caused by nuclear weapons will never be repeated.