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

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
First of all, I would like to express my condolences to those who died in the massive explosion in Lebanon.
Our delegation would like to thank you Mr. Chairperson, Dr. Joachim Schulze, 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.
I would also like to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, for your video message at the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima and the Peace Ceremony in Nagasaki, which marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of the devastation of nuclear weapons.
Japan is the only country that has experienced atomic bombings, making disarmament and non-proliferation cornerstones of Japan’s foreign policy. Japan attaches great importance to promoting the entry into force of the CTBT and its universalization as one of the practical and realistic measures where both nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States can cooperate. To this end, Japan will continue to support the activities of the CTBTO.
Although this year marks the tenth anniversary of the Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the CTBT, it is quite difficult to hold a meeting in a regular format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, working closely with the Friends of the CTBT, we are planning to provide a video containing messages from the Foreign Ministers of the Friends of the CTBT in order to build up and enhance momentum towards the early entry into force of the CTBT, which is planned to be broadcast at the UN General Assembly in September.

[IMS and IDC]

Mr. Chairperson,
Japan attaches great importance to the enhancement of the CTBT verification regime to ensure that the CTBT will function effectively once the Treaty enters into force.
We pay respect to the ongoing efforts of all parties, particularly the PTS and station operators of State Signatories, for maintaining their core functions in detecting nuclear tests despite the difficult situation caused by the current pandemic. We will take all possible measures to maintain our IMS stations, which at the moment continue to be operated normally.
It is planned that all five auxiliary seismic stations in Japan will be upgraded and revalidated in 2020. In this respect, let me take this opportunity to thank the PTS for its full support.
Mr. Chairperson,
On-site inspections (OSI) are the final and definitive measure to verify whether a nuclear test took place.
In this context, we hope the OSI build-up exercise (BUE) that was postponed until next year will be held as soon as possible, and will reinforce the operational capabilities of the OSI. Japan will actively contribute to the exercise by sending experts.

[Global Seismological Observation Training Course]
Mr. Chairperson,
On the topic of capacity building, taking into account the disparity in the individual ability of NDCs to use IMS data, enhancing such ability is crucial.
To this end, Japan has been convening the annual JICA Global Seismological Observation Training Course since 1995. The purpose of this training is to develop human resources with skills of seismic observation to detect nuclear tests, and data analysis to identify them, which can play a crucial role for the verification regime of the Treaty.
We are conducting a survey at each capital in order to grasp the need and purpose for joining the course. We hope that State Signatories actively utilize this course.
[2022-2023 Programme and Budget]
Mr. Chairperson,
With regard to the 2022-2023 Programme and Budget, my delegation places 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. In particular, we expect that the construction of IMS stations in geographically and politically difficult areas will steadily proceed.
Japan would like to request that the PTS further pursues cost-saving and efficiency measures. Additionally, we would like to request that the PTS provides information on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the implementation of the programme and budget in an appropriate and timely manner.
Mr. Chairperson,
The issues being discussed at WGB create the basis of all activities and discussions at the CTBTO. We look forward to fruitful outcomes at this WGB, including provision of guidance to the PTS in the preparation of the verification related elements of the 2022-2023 Programme and Budget.
In closing, I would like to express my delegation’s deep appreciation to you, Mr. Chairperson, Dr. Joachim Schulze, for your many years of great contributions. I wish you all the best for your future and hope that your qualified successor will be selected at the next session of the Commission in November and will continue to contribute to the advancement of the Treaty.
I thank you, Mr. Chairperson.