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

Thank you, Madam Chairperson,
At the outset, I would like to thank you, Madam Chairperson for your dedicated work to lead and coordinate this Working Group A (WGA) meeting and also appreciate H.E. Ambassador Faouzia Mebarki, Chairperson of the Preparatory Commission, for her initiative in continuing to carry out the important work of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies via virtual conference platform. We hope that a consensus will be found on urgent and important issues, including the appointment process of the Executive Secretary. I assure you of my delegation's full support in facilitating your work, especially during this critical time.
I also wish to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, for his comprehensive opening remarks. Japan pays respect to the ongoing efforts of all parties, particularly the PTS and station operators of States Signatories, for maintaining their core functions in detecting nuclear tests, despite the difficult situation of the current pandemic. We are firmly determined to overcome the current challenges, in cooperation with the international community, and will take all possible measures to maintain our IMS stations.
[Advisory group and assessed contributions]
Madam Chairperson,
My delegation would also like to thank the Chairperson of the Advisory Group (AG), Sir Michael WESTON, for introducing the AG Report, which is beneficial for our discussions. We take note of the report and thank the AG members for their tireless efforts in supporting the work of the Commission.
We appreciate the PTS's proposal outlining the establishment of a capital reserve fund and for the active discussions by the AG. We will continue to constructively discuss the best way forward for financing repair costs of unforeseen damage to IMS stations.
[Budget Update]
Madam Chairperson,
We are pleased with the efforts that the PTS has taken to decrease the verall weighted average price adjustment for 2021, in particular for the CA price adjustment rate.
Japan's basic stance on the budget of the international organizations cross the board is well known and remains unchanged. Given the austerity measures taken under severe budgetary circumstances, we welcome the PTS’s continued efforts to implement cost-saving and efficiency measures, and request the PTS to continue such endeavors.
Due to the rapid spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing  serious situation in which postponements of various kinds of trainings and workshops are unavoidable. It is crucial in the assessment of the updated budget proposals to consider the financial implications as a result of the pandemic. We therefore encourage the PTS to promptly provide further detailed information on how the original projects will be affected.
In order not to adversely impact the budgetary planning and implementation of the Preparatory Commission, which would thus effect the maintenance and enhancement of the verification regime, it is vital for each State Signatory to disburse its assessed contribution without delay. I would like to call upon those States Signatories that have not yet done so to promptly discharge their financial obligations to the Organization.
[Human Resources]
Madam Chairperson,
Regarding human resources management, Japan welcomes the progress made by the PTS in achieving equal numbers of female and male directors and IDC analysts, and we strongly encourage the PTS to continue to place gender balance as a high priority at all levels.
[NPT, EIF and Universalization]
Madam Chairperson,
On March 5, 2020 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Japan highly appreciates the invaluable contribution that the NPT plays in the consolidation and maintenance of international peace and security. Despite the fact that the 2020 NPT Review Conference was postponed as a result of the pandemic, efforts to advance international nuclear disarmament and promote the importance of the CTBT must continue.
In this regard, it is important to continue to sustain the positive momentum created at the Eleventh Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT (Article XIV Conference), held in New York on September 25, 2019, in preparation for the upcoming Review Conference. Japan will continue to promote the entry into force of the Treaty and will spare no effort in supporting the Co-Chairs from Algeria and Germany during the Article XIV process. Towards this end, 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.
[North Korea]
Madam 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.
I thank you, Madam Chairperson.