Statement by H.E. Mr. Mitsuru Kitano, Permanent Representative, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan at the Fifty-First Session of Working Group A of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
Let me take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ambassador Adnan Othman, for your dedicated work as the Chair of Working Group A. I would also like to express our sincere appreciation to the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, for his opening remarks.
[Executive Secretary’s visit to Japan]
Mr. Chairman,
We welcome Dr. Zerbo’s visits to Japan in February and April this year. Dr. Zerbo had meetings with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and the Mayor of Nagasaki, Mr. Tomihisa Taue, and interacted with young students.
[Human Resources in the PTS]
Mr. Chairman,
We take note of the issuance of the 2016 Human Resources Management Report. We commend the PTS for the essential efforts being undertaken to recruit qualified personnel to fill vacant positions. We hope that PTS human resources will be strengthened under the leadership of the newly appointed Director of Human Resources, Ms. Margarete Sobral.
[Budget and the Midterm Strategy]
Mr. Chairman,
With regard to the 2018-2019 Programme and Budget Proposals, we have been carefully reviewing the initial budget proposals by the PTS and we thank the Chairman of WGA for convening informal briefings to further discuss these proposals.
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. We therefore appreciate the continued efforts of the PTS to review priorities, leading to total savings and reprioritizations of 8.8 million USD as contained in the 2018-2019 Programme and Budget Proposals. We also commend the PTS’s efforts to realize cost savings amounting to about 5 million USD in 2018 compared to 2017. Japan encourages the PTS to keep exploring further cost-saving and efficiency measures.
Mr. Chairman,
We appreciate the work of the Advisory Group (AG) from its Forty-Eighth Session held from 2 to 4 May and take note of the report and its recommendations, including one concerning the status of 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 that line.
[Appointment of External Auditor]
As for the appointment of the External Auditor to the Preparatory Commission, our delegation welcomes the readiness of Thailand to take up this important work.
[Foreign Minister’s Visit to Vienna]
Mr. Chairman,
On 2 May, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida attended the First Session of the 2017 Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference held in Vienna from 2 to 12 May 2017.
In his statement, Foreign Minister Kishida highlighted the need to further improve the IMS capacity alongside the international effort to achieve the early entry into force of the CTBT.
Foreign Minister Kishida also met with the CTBTO Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, and issued a Joint Appeal with the Executive Secretary and Kazakh Foreign Minister, Mr. Kairat Abdrakhmanov, as has been touched upon by the Executive Secretary. This joint appeal calls for sustained commitments and efforts of all countries concerned to facilitate ratification of the Treaty by the remaining Annex 2 States and stresses the importance of joint efforts to address issues that present obstacles to their ratification. It further emphasizes the critical role of the CTBT in responding to the challenge posed by North Korea by reinforcing the no-test norm, while also acknowledging the credibility of the CTBT verification regime in detecting nuclear testing by North Korea.  
In this regard, Japan welcomes the strong and universal support for the CTBT expressed during the NPT Preparatory Committee Meeting, in which all States that have not yet done so were called upon to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay, particularly by the eight remaining Annex 2 States.
[Activities as the Co-Coordinators of Article XIV Process]
Mr. Chairman,
We are pleased to report that the Permanent Mission of Japan and the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan in cooperation with the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) held a high-level event titled "Achieving the Entry into Force of the CTBT" on 10 May. More than 170 participants attended and shared various inputs and ideas to advance the CTBT. A report of the discussion will be made available in due course. 
Furthermore, we are happy to announce that we have produced a pamphlet outlining joint efforts towards the early entry into force of the CTBT by Japan and Kazakhstan as the Co-Coordinators of Article XIV process. Copies of the pamphlet and the Joint Appeal are at the back of this room.
Japan, together with Kazakhstan, will continue to do our utmost to promote the entry into force and universalization of the Treaty up until, and even after the next Article XIV Conference in September.
We commend the tireless efforts being undertaken by Belgium and Iraq, as the Presidents-designate of the 2017 Article XIV Conference, and will continue to support their work.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.