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

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson,
My delegation would like to thank you, Mr. Chairperson, for your efforts to lead and coordinate this Working Group B (WGB) meeting, as well as the Task Leaders for their dedicated work. I would also like to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo for his report and opening remarks, and his team for their tireless work in promoting the CTBT’s verification regime. I also congratulate Ms Zeinabou Mindaoudou Souley and Mr Sergey Berezin on their reappointment as the Vice-Chairs of WGB.
Mr. Chairperson,
The International Monitoring System (IMS) and the International Data Centre (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. My delegation deems it imperative to maintain and improve the reliability and sustainability of the IMS and IDC, as well as to maintain their readiness for any future potential nuclear testing in view of the entry into force of the Treaty. In this context, my delegation congratulates the recent certification of RN65 in Thailand and the revalidation of many IMS stations. We also commend the PTS for their tireless efforts relating to the IMS and IDC.
The data availability of the certified IMS stations is one of the most basic Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). My delegation has concerns in regards to the latest figures, especially the downward trend of the Primary Seismic (PS) stations. We also regret that the migration of the Global Communications Infrastructure (GCI) has negatively affected the data availability of some stations. On the other hand, we understand that China is finalizing the contracts for five certified stations to resume data transmission. We welcome this positive movement and hope that the data availability of Primary Seismic stations bottoms out.
With regard to the migration to GCI III, Japan commends the ongoing efforts of all parties. 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 urge all parties concerned to further their efforts in realising the completion of the migration.
With regard to the mobile noble gas measurement systems, we thank the PTS for issuing the document CTBT/PTS/INF.1490 and holding the technical presentation on 12 March. The INF.1490 has facilitated our understanding on the necessity and nature of mobile systems. We support the mobile systems which are used to improve capabilities in detecting nuclear test explosions by distinguishing signals from noises at the IMS stations. Taking into account paragraph twenty of the report of the fifty-first session of the Preparatory Commission, we will constructively discuss technical aspects of this issue as appropriate. We also support the suggestion by the Executive Secretary in his opening remarks, of having more briefings on this mobile system.
Mr. Chairperson,
On-Site Inspection (OSI) is another important pillar of the verification regime of the Treaty. We are pleased to know that implementations of the OSI action plan and the third OSI training cycle are on track. We also thank the United Kingdom for hosting the 24th OSI Workshop.  Based on its comprehensive report, CTBT/WS/OSI-24/1, we recognize that there are many issues to be addressed and we would like to study them further.
My delegation welcomes the achievement on the construction of the permanent Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility (ESMF), and thanks the PTS for issuing the document CTBT/PTS/INF.1492. We are glad that the delay has not affected the OSI-related activities and hope the post-construction phase will finish by the end of this year.
Mr. Chairperson,
Japan appreciates the continued efforts of the PTS on capacity buildings. Japan has been supporting these efforts by convening the JICA Global Seismological Observation Training Course since 1995. This year, we conducted the course for 12 trainees from across the globe in order to train future NDC personnel. Japan appreciates the PTS for having sent a lecturer to the course again this year.
Mr. Chairperson,
Japan attaches great importance to the verification regime of the CTBT. In this regard, we welcome the increased collection rate of assessed contributions for 2018 and the improved rate from 2017. In order to not adversely impact the budgetary planning and implementation of the Preparatory Commission, which would thus affect 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.
As for the next biennial program and budget, we thank the PTS for issuing the first draft. 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. Since the first draft was issued just a few days ago, we are still carefully examining it, and will discuss this issue in the coming months with a view of reaching a consensus decision at the November PrepCom.
Mr. Chairperson,
For this WGB, I recognized that a number of documents were issued close to the start of the session. We appreciate the hard work of the Task Leaders and the PTS staff, but at the same time, I have to stress that we need enough time to study these documents in Vienna as well as in our capitals. Therefore I would kindly like to request the PTS to issue the related documents well in advance, preferably four weeks before the session. In light of this, we understand the resources of the PTS are limited, and therefore underline that it is crucial for States Signatories to prioritize our requests and to refrain from overburdening the PTS.
In closing, I would like to assure you, Mr. Chairperson, Vice-Chairs and the Task Leaders, of Japan’s continuous support and engagement in all sessions of the WGB.
I thank you, Mr. Chairperson.