Statement by Ambassador Mr. Takeshi HIKIHARA at the 60th Session of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO

Thank you, Chair.
Let me first thank you once again, Ambassador Benno Laggner, for your able leadership, and the PTS for their dedicated work in holding the 60th Session of the Preparatory Commission. My appreciation also goes to the Chairs of Working Group A, Ambassador Nguyen Trung Kien of Vietnam, and of Working Group B, Mr. Erlan Batyrbekov of Kazakhstan, as well as the Chair of the Advisory Group, Ms. Rashmi Rajyaguru of the United Kingdom, for their valuable contribution to the work of the organization.
I would also like to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Robert Floyd, for his forthcoming and encouraging opening remarks, including his intention to deploy the third ‘transportable noble gas measurement system’ of the existing noble gas background measurement campaign in Japan.
[Entry-Into-Force and Universalization]
We welcome the ratification of the CTBT by Solomon Islands this January, and six other States in 2022. Japan welcomes that Sri Lanka has completed the domestic process towards its ratification of the Treaty. Japan applauds these achievements through vigorous outreach activities by the Executive Secretary to promote the entry into force of the Treaty. We urge all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty without further delay, in particular the remaining eight States listed in Annex 2.
As the only country to have suffered atomic bombings during war, Japan is strongly committed to leading international efforts toward a world without nuclear weapons.
Convening this year's G7 Summit in Hiroshima is a demonstration of such conviction and we have sent a strong message for realizing a world without nuclear weapons. In the G7 Leaders’ Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament, first G7 Leaders’ document with a particular focus on nuclear disarmament, the G7 countries expressed their resolution against nuclear tests, underscored the essential role of the CTBTO and expressed their support, as well as emphasized the importance of the early entry into force of the CTBT.
As part of our efforts, Japan will host the CTBT Regional Meeting in Japan this July to raise awareness on the importance of the CTBT and discuss ways to advance further universalization and entry into force of the Treaty among the countries in the Asia Pacific region. We also intend to support the development of the operational system for implementing the CTBT verification regime and share analytical technique and know-how for detecting nuclear explosive test, especially for seismic wave analysis. We would like to ask all invited States to actively participate in this meeting.
This September, we will have an important opportunity to facilitate the treaty’s early entry into force, namely the Article XIV Conference, to be held in New York. Japan appreciates the leadership of Italy and South Africa as the Coordinators, and welcomes the appointment of Panama and Norway for the next Presidency of the Conference. We look forward to fruitful discussion.
[Challenges against the Nuclear Disarmament & Non-Proliferation Regime]
Like other delegations before me, Japan is gravely concerned about the crisis in Ukraine caused by Russia’s unprovoked invasion. The threat of nuclear weapons, let alone their use, should never be tolerated. Japan condemns any act that could undermine the effectiveness of the CTBT’s verification system.
Japan also expresses serious concerns over North Korea’s intensified nuclear and missile activities. At the end of last year, North Korea announced that it would mass produce tactical nuclear weapons and exponentially increase its nuclear warheads. Recently North Korea even insinuated the deployment of tactical nuclear weapon at front line. North Korea should refrain from any other destabilizing or provocative actions, including any further nuclear tests and the international community should be united against such an act. We urge North Korea to comply with its obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, return to full compliance with the NPT at an early date and to sign and ratify the CTBT.
We thank the PTS for issuing the initial draft budget for 2024-2025. While we appreciate their efforts under these difficult financial conditions, we reiterate that Japan’s basic position toward the budget of international organizations is, and will be, Zero Nominal Growth (ZNG).
At the same time, Japan recognizes that significant resources must be allocated to the verification regime to ensure the proper detection of nuclear testing. We encourage the PTS to implement cost-saving and efficiency-enhancing mechanisms, while maintaining and strengthening the stable verification operation.
While pursuing efficiency, it is also important to work on fulfilling the needs on a medium and long term basis. We are looking forward to an early explanation of the PTS’s strategies on the unfunded activities listed in Annex III of the Budget Proposals and the use of the cash surplus.
[Science and Technology Conference 2023]
We welcome the PTS’s efforts to organize the Science and Technology Conference 2023. Japan will actively contribute to the success of the conference including by sending experts. We believe that the conference will provide a valuable opportunity to strengthen not only the verification regime, but also the civil and scientific applications of the verification technologies.
[Closing Remarks]
We have so many substantial issues before us. We look forward to fruitful constructive discussions at this meeting under your able leadership.
Thank you, Chair.