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

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson,
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. Chairperson,
Japan welcomes the arrival of the two Directors of the PTS, Ms Tammy Taylor to the position of Director of the International Data Centre Division and Mr Vadim Smirnov to the position of Director of the On-Site Inspection Division. We look forward to working closely together in the coming years.
Mr. Chairperson,
Japan attaches great importance to the completion of the verification regime of the CTBT. In this context, my delegation congratulates the recent certification of IS3 in Antarctica, hosted by Australia. We also commend the PTS for their tireless efforts to improve and to ensure the reliability and sustainability of the International Monitoring System (IMS) and the International Data Centre (IDC). Japan notes with satisfaction that the data availability of certified IMS stations remained generally high in the first half of this year.
A series of experiments provides valuable information to improve the operational readiness of the IDC as well as the IMS. Thus Japan thanks the Experiment Team for issuing the Evaluation Report of Experiment 2 and the revised plan of Experiment 3 before this WGB. We look forward to discussing the details of these Experiments under the pertinent agenda item of this meeting.
Mr. Chairperson,
My delegation welcomes the development of the migration to GCI III as mentioned in the opening statement and report of the Executive Secretary. Japan commends the ongoing efforts of all parties, particularly the PTS, the Hughes Network Systems and station operators of States Signatories. At the same time, we take note that there still remains a number of works to be done and issues that need to be solved in order to complete this migration. We cannot overstate the necessity of the thorough and careful consideration in the process of the GCI migration in order to avoid any outage of the GCI services, particularly after the entry into force of the Treaty. Japan requests the PTS to take stock of the lessons learned from this migration process and to make good use of these lessons for the future.
Mr. Chairperson,
My delegation welcomes the fact that the construction of the permanent Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility (ESMF) is on track, and urges the PTS to continue its efforts to complete the construction within the budget and within the set deadline.
With regard to the 24th On-Site Inspection (OSI) Workshop, we thank the United Kingdom and the PTS for their preparations. We are pleased that two Japanese experts will attend the Workshop, and hope that discussions in the Workshop contribute to the advancement of the implementation of the OSI action plan.
Mr. Chairperson,
The IMS and the IDC have proven their capabilities and importance on the occasions of six nuclear tests conducted by North Korea, by detecting and analysing these tests in a rigorous and timely manner. The readiness of the OSI has also been steadily augmented. My delegation deems it imperative to maintain and improve these three pillars of verification regime towards the entry into force of the Treaty as well as to maintain their readiness for any future potential nuclear testing.
In this regard, it is our strong concern that a lower collection rate of assessed contributions could adversely impact budgetary planning and implementation of the Preparatory Commission, and thus on the maintenance and enhancement of the verification regime. Japan calls upon those States Signatories that have not yet done so to promptly discharge their financial obligations to the Organization.
Under current severe fiscal circumstances, the Government of Japan continues to implement financial austerity measures. Japan's basic stance on the budget of international organizations across the board is well known and remains unchanged. It is also a matter of fact that many countries are facing severe fiscal constraints. In this regard, we kindly request the PTS to make further efforts to maintain and build up the verification regime, while reducing expenses through efficiency measures within a limited budget during the 2020-2021 Programme and Budget period.
Mr. Chairperson,
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. Chairperson.