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

Thank you, Madam Chair,
At the outset, I would like to thank you, Madam Chair for your dedicated work to lead and coordinate this Working Group A (WGA) meeting. I also wish to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, for his comprehensive opening remarks including his sincere condolence for the damage of the typhoon, and for his visit to Japan to participate in the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima this past August.

My thanks also go to the Director of Legal and External Relations Division, Mr. Xiaoning Wang and the PTS for his attendance and contribution at the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7). I believe it provided a good opportunity to reach out to those states that have not yet ratified the Treaty.

Madam Chair,
Japan welcomes the successful conclusion of the Eleventh Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT (Article XIV Conference), held in New York on 25 September, with broad and high-level attendance from around 85 countries. I would like to express our gratitude to the Executive Secretary, his team and Co-Chairs of the conference, Algeria and Germany, for their excellent leadership during the conference.

As stated by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu at the conference, Japan has strived to facilitate the entry-into-force of the CTBT as one of the practical and concrete measures where both nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States can cooperate. Japan will continue to promote the entry into force of the Treaty, and in this regard, we spare no effort in supporting the activities by Algeria and Germany as the Co- Coordinators for the entry into force of the CTBT during the next two years.

Furthermore, we welcome the recent announcement by Cuba to sign the CTBT. Increasing the number of signatories and ratifying states is a clear denominator towards seeing further advancement of the CTBT. In this regard, 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.

Madam Chair,
Japan deeply regrets North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches which are in violation of relevant UNSCRs (United Nations Security Council resolutions). 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 United Nations Security Council resolutions (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.

Madam Chair,

We appreciate the PTS for preparing the final draft of 2020-2021 budget proposals contained in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1491/Rev.1, and for providing further explanations on the proposal during the informal meeting of Working Group A. We welcome that the PTS revised the price adjustment based on the recent economic forecast, reflecting comments and recommendations from the States Signatories, which thereby led the total budget of the proposals to a slight decrease.

Japan's basic stance on the budget of the international organizations across the board is well known and remains unchanged. Given the austerity measures taken under severe budgetary circumstances, we welcome the  continued efforts to implement cost-saving and efficiency measures, and request the PTS to continue such endeavors.

Taking into account the Report of the Advisory Group, we would like to continue constructive considerations on the budget proposals with the intent to reach a consensus at the Preparatory Committee in November.

We also take note that the collection rate of assessed contributions stood at 72.7 percent at the end of September. The good financial health of the Preparatory Committee underpins the maintenance and enhancement of the verification regime.
Madam Chair,
On the issue of the use of the 2016-2017 cash surplus, we would like to thank the PTS for drafting the proposals contained in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1514 and additional information provided on the use of cash surplus at the informal meeting of Working Group A.
We attach importance to the enhancement of the CTBT verification regime to ensure that the CTBT will function effectively once the Treaty enters into force. Based on Japan’s basic stance regarding the CTBT verification regime, we are looking forward to constructive discussions on the proposals on the use of the 2016-2017 cash surplus respectively: recapitalization of the IMS hydroacoustic station (HA08), IDC application software re-engineering and furthering of integrated capacity building activities.
We believe that it is worthwhile to consider further details of the proposals with a view to reach a decision at the next Preparatory Committee in November. We therefore encourage the PTS to provide further detailed information, in particular information regarding the cost estimation of each project.
Before I conclude, Madam Chair, I would also like to express appreciation to the Chairperson of the Advisory Group (AG), Sir Michael WESTON, for his tireless work. We take note of the Advisory Group report, which is beneficial for our discussion. Japan would like to extend its appreciation to all AG experts that contribute to the work of the AG by providing professional and independent advice for the Committee.
Thank you, Madam Chair.