Statement by Counsellor Mr. Naobumi Yokota at the Fiftieth Session of Working Group B of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
My delegation would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your efforts to lead and coordinate this Working Group B (WGB) meeting, and all the Vice-Chairs as well as the Task Leaders for their dedicated work. I would also like to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, and his team for their tireless work in promoting the CTBT’s verification regime.
Mr. Chairman,
We gather here with a strong commitment to prohibit and prevent any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion. Japan condemns in the strongest terms North Korea’s sixth nuclear test conducted last September.

At the same time, my delegation commends the International Monitoring System (IMS) and the International Data Centre (IDC) for detecting and analysing the test in a rigorous and timely manner, which proved the reliability and credibility of the CTBT verification regime, yet again. In order to fully detect a nuclear test, data from all the IMS stations are vital. In light of this fact, we welcome the recent development in certification of the IMS stations in China, the Russian Federation and Ecuador stated by the Executive Secretary and we call upon States Signatories to continue their efforts to send data from their IMS stations.

Mr. Chairman,
Japan commends the PTS for their tireless efforts to ensure the reliability and sustainability of the IMS and the IDC operations. We noted with satisfaction that the data availability of certified IMS stations remained high, despite decreases in some technologies. Japan would like to point out that cooperation from States Signatories, including station operators, is imperative to ensure a high level of data availability.
This year, one of the most important issues for the IMS and the IDC is the migration to the GCI III. We believe that all States, including Japan, are fully engaged in this implementation. However, according to the latest presentation by the PTS, there remain challenges that we have to overcome. We would like to urge the PTS and the relevant contractors to accelerate the process for a timely and successful migration.
As for the radioxenon, I am pleased to announce that Xe background measurement campaigns have been launched in Horonobe town and Mutsu city of Japan. We hope that these campaigns will lead to further improvement of IMS and IDC capabilities.
Mr. Chairman,
My delegation is pleased to see that the construction of the permanent ESMF is on track with the ground-breaking ceremony having taken place at Seibersdorf on 25 January 2018. My delegation kindly requests the PTS to continue its efforts to complete the construction of the permanent ESMF within the budget and within the set deadline.
On the third training cycle for surrogate inspectors, we congratulate the PTS for the completion of the introductory block and we thank the United States of America for holding the last course of the introductory block at the Nevada National Security Site and in Las Vegas.
Mr. Chairman,
Japan appreciates the continued efforts by the PTS in the area of capacity building and training. We have supported these efforts by convening the JICA Global Seismological Observation Training Course since 1995. This year, Japan conducted the Course for 17 trainees, including trainees from non-signatory and non-ratifying States across the globe, in order to train future NDC personnel in their countries. Japan appreciates the PTS for sending a lecturer to the course again this year.
Mr. Chairman,
On this occasion, I would like to express my delegation’s deep appreciation to both Mr. Oleg Rozhkov, the former OSI Director, and Mr. Randy Bell, the IDC Director, who will leave his post this summer; for their many years of contributions in the development of the verification regime. I wish them all the best in their new endeavours and hope that their qualified successors will be selected in a timely manner.
Mr. Chairman,
In closing, I would like to assure you, Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chairs and the Task Leaders, of Japan’s continuous support and engagement in all sessions of the WGB.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.