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

Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Japan would like to thank you, Dr. Erlan Batyrbekov, for your leadership in coordinating this Working Group B meeting, as well as the Task Leaders, the Expert Group Chairs and the PTS for their dedicated work.
My delegation once again congratulates Dr. Robert Floyd on his appointment as the first Executive Secretary of the CTBTO to be selected from the South-East Asia, the Pacific and the Far East (SEAPFE) group. We hope that progress towards the promotion of the entry into force of the treaty and strengthening of the verification regime will be attained under the leadership of Dr. Floyd, who has sophisticated expertise, broad personal connections and extensive managerial experience. I assure him of my delegation's full support.
Japan welcomes the election of Italy and South Africa as the new Presidents-designate of the Article XIV Conference to be held in September. We hope that we will be able to demonstrate our strong determination for an early entry into force of the Treaty on the remarkable occasion of the 25th anniversary of the opening for signature of the CTBT.
[IMS and IDC]
Mr. Chair,
Japan commends the PTS for their tireless efforts to ensure the reliability and sustainability of the IMS and IDC operations.
Japan welcomes the improvement in averaged data availability for all technologies, except for primary seismic stations, during the first half of 2021, when compared with the second half of 2020. In particular, the upgrades of all five auxiliary seismic stations in Japan significantly contributed to this improvement. In this regard, we would like to thank the PTS for its full support.
We welcome the recent developments of the next generation of noble gas systems in view of the future deployment of those new systems for IMS stations. In order to identify that a nuclear test was conducted by using abnormal values of IMS data, it is essential to detect radionuclides derived from a nuclear explosion. In this context, we hope that the next generation of noble gas systems will contribute to strengthening the capability of detecting nuclear tests.

Mr. Chair,
Despite these difficult times, we welcome the successful completion of the third training cycle for surrogate inspectors. Japan will continue to contribute to the strengthening of OSI capabilities by sending surrogate inspectors.
Although the build-up exercise (BUE) that was planned to take place in June 2021 was cancelled, it is important to test what we have learned so far from the OSI action plan and the third OSI training cycle. We are looking forward to detailed information on the future exercise plan at this WGB session.

Mr. Chair,
Although certification has been completed for about 90% of the IMS facilities, some of them have been inoperative for a long time. In addition, since a part of the IMS facilities are deteriorating, we have to consider how to secure stable financial resources for long-term maintenance of the IMS.
In order to discuss this issue at future WGA and PrepCom sessions, we request the PTS to provide detailed information on the current status and recovery prospects of the IMS facilities with long-term problems as well as future upgrade plans based on the lifecycle of the IMS.

[Science and Technology Conference 2021]
Mr. Chair,
We commend the PTS on the success of the Science and Technology Conference (SnT) 2021 held from June to July.
At the conference, which marked the 25th anniversary of the opening for signature of the CTBT, we were pleased that many inspiring presentations and meaningful discussions were made, focusing on various aspects of the developments in the past 25 years, and the challenges and prospects for the Treaty in the future, as well as the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We believe that the outcome of this conference benefits further collaboration between the CTBTO and the scientific community, and will eventually lead to strengthening the verification regime of the Treaty and promoting further civil and scientific applications of IMS data.

[Closing remarks]
Mr. Chair,
Although this WGB session is also held in hybrid format due to COVID-19, we look forward to fruitful outcomes in order to achieve the common goal of all States Signatories, namely implementation and steady build-up of the verification regime.
I thank you, Mr. Chair.