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

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
At the outset, 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 opening remarks, and his team for their tireless work in promoting the verification regime of the Treaty.

[IMS and IDC]
Mr. Chairperson,
My delegation congratulates the recent development that approximately 92% of the IMS stations have been installed and approximately 88% of facilities have been certified. We also welcome the resumption of data transmission from the Chinese certified stations.
The IMS and IDC have proven their capabilities and importance by detecting and analysing six nuclear tests conducted by North Korea, in a rigorous and timely manner.
My delegation deems it imperative to maintain and improve the IMS and IDC and to complete the verification regime towards the early entry into force of the Treaty.
On the other hand, my delegation has concerns in regards to the latest figures of data availability, especially the sudden drop of the hydroacoustic stations as well as the downward trend of the Primary Seismic (PS) stations and Auxiliary Seismic (AS) stations.
We understand that the transmission of IMS data to the IDC is essential to maintain and improve the verification regime of the Treaty. Japan would like to point out that cooperation from States Signatories is imperative in ensuring a high level of data availability.
Mr. Chairperson,
My delegation congratulates the PTS for the inauguration of the CTBTO Technology Support and Training Centre (TeST Centre) which was completed within the budget. We believe that optimizing this Centre not only for the purpose of maintenance and control of equipment, but also as a venue for workshops and trainings, will lead to further improvement in the capability of the verification regime.
Mr. Chairperson,
My delegation congratulates the PTS on the successful organization of the Science and Technology conference (SnT) 2019, which was held in June. We are pleased that the presentations and discussions were inspiring and meaningful, garnering broad participation from scientists, technologists and academics, as well as State representatives. We believe that the outcome of this conference will serve to promote further collaboration between the CTBTO and other communities, eventually leading to a consolidation of a state-of-the-art verification regime of the Treaty.
[Mobile noble gas measurement system]
Mr. Chairperson,
With regard to the mobile noble gas measurement systems, we would like to thank the PTS for holding a presentation at the SnT2019. Understanding of the xenon background, which is not completely understood at the present moment, is essential to strengthening the capability of detecting nuclear tests.
In order to locate sources of xenon that contribute to the background, it is necessary for multiple stations to simultaneously detect xenon. In this regard, the current mobile noble gas campaign which has a dense network held in Japan is quite useful. Therefore, we fully support the current activities of the PTS and are anticipating a fruitful outcome.
It is important for the PTS to share relevant information with States Signatories in order to facilitate the better understanding of the operation of mobile systems. We stand ready to have scientific and technical discussions at the present WGB session from the point of view of making the best use of mobile systems.
[2020-2021 Programme and Budget]
Mr. Chairperson,
We believe it is essential for the WGB to provide technical guidance to the Preparatory Commission with priorities placed on early completion and sustainment of the verification regime, as well as the fulfilling of the capacity building needs, taking into account the 2020-2021 Programme and Budget. My delegation will engage in this discussion taking into account Japan's well known stance on the budget across the board as well as placing particular importance on the completion of the IMS build-up and the continued data transmission from IMS facilities to the IDC, as well as the further strengthening of OSI capabilities.
I thank you, Mr. Chairperson.