Statement by Japan at the 64th IAEA General Conference, Minister of State Shinji INOUE on 21 September 2020

Mr. President,

Director General,

Distinguished guests,

Please allow me to congratulate you, Ambassador Azzeddine FARHANE, on your election as the President of the 64th IAEA General Conference.

I would like to begin by expressing our highest respect to the Director General for his leadership in guiding the Agency to exercise its full authority while combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

This past February, Director General Grossi visited Japan and met with senior government officials, including former Prime Minister Abe. The meetings and his visit to TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, provided a fruitful opportunity to further strengthen the cooperation between Japan and the IAEA.

Decommissioning of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and Contaminated Water Management

The decommissioning of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station is making steady progress. In the process of the decommissioning efforts, the handling of Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS treated water still remains a challenge. In this regard, after his visit to the Power Station, Director General Grossi expressed his recognition that the decommissioning work is dealt with a very systematic and meticulous effort and that the two disposal options for ALPS treated water are technically feasible and in line with international practice.

The handling of ALPS treated water is currently under deliberation with consideration for the recommendations of the IAEA review report. With the support of the IAEA, Japan will continue to take every possible measure to advance its decommissioning work and to provide relevant information to the international community in a courteous and transparent manner.

Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (Japan’s support to the IAEA)

The peaceful uses of nuclear energy are an important cornerstone for global socio-economic growth, as well as contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Japan strongly supports the Director General’s new initiatives; improvement of Member States’ capabilities to detect COVID-19, ZODIAC (Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action), and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme, as these initiatives will enhance the value of the Agency within the international community. As such, through the Peaceful Uses Initiative, Japan has provided four million euros towards the IAEA’s efforts against COVID-19, and five hundred thousand euros for the Fellowship Programme.

Regarding the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories (ReNuAL) project to which Japan has made contributions of more than 6.5 million euros, Japan welcomes the steady progress so far, including the opening of “The Yukiya Amano Laboratories” in June of this year. Japan sincerely hopes that the renovated nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf will be utilized to advance the use of nuclear technology in various fields including medical care, food, environmental protection, and industrial application, and thus will contribute to the betterment of quality of life and prosperity for people around the world.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation

The IAEA safeguards are the fundamental instrument for ensuring nuclear non-proliferation, and Japan strongly supports the IAEA’s work in making them more efficient and effective. Japan also welcomes the IAEA Secretariat’s efforts to continue its safeguards activities despite the difficult situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The role of the IAEA is critically important in addressing key problems that the international non-proliferation regime faces.

North Korea’s Nuclear Issue

Japan reaffirms its strong commitment to working with the international community in achieving complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles of all ranges as well as related programs and facilities in accordance with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs). The international community needs to come together to support the U.S.-North Korea process. Japan emphasizes the critical importance for all States to fully implement relevant UNSCRs.

Verification is indispensable in achieving the denuclearization of North Korea. Japan considers the utilization of the Agency’s expertise, knowledge and experience to be of utmost importance.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

As Japan continues to support the JCPOA which contributes to strengthening the international non-proliferation regime and thereby to the stability of the Middle East, Japan is strongly concerned about Iran’s continued reduction of its commitment under the JCPOA. Japan once again strongly urges Iran to comply with the JCPOA, and to immediately return to its commitment under the JCPOA.

With regards to safeguards implementation in Iran, Japan welcomes the Joint Statement of Iran and the IAEA dated 26 August as well as its progress reported by Director General Grossi at the IAEA Board of Governors last week.

Japan calls upon Iran to fully cooperate with the IAEA based on the JCPOA as well as in accordance with all its nuclear obligations in particular its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol.

NPT Review Conference

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Japan emphasizes the important role of the IAEA in non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Japan continues to strive to achieve a successful outcome of the 10th Review Conference.

Strengthening the Nuclear Non-proliferation Regime

Japan is committed to stringent domestic safeguards and in particular attaches importance to the universalization of the Comprehensive
Safeguards Agreement and its Additional Protocols from the viewpoint of strengthening the current international non-proliferation regime. We will continue to promote the universalization of Additional Protocols as well as to improve effectiveness and efficiency of safeguards through various activities. We call on the international community to continue making further efforts in this regard.

Furthermore, Japan highly values a renewal project of LG-SIMS (Large Geometry Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry) at the nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf, which greatly contributes to maintaining the IAEA’s capabilities in fulfilling its safeguards mandate. Japan strongly supports the project and has been contributing in order to strengthen the IAEA safeguards regime.

Nuclear Safety

Japan places great importance on close cooperation with the international community in the field of nuclear safety.

Japan continues to work on making further improvements in nuclear regulations, giving due consideration to the recommendations and
suggestions of the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) Follow-up missions that Japan received in January of this year. Japan will also contribute to enhancing nuclear safety through the review process of the 8th review conference of the Convention on Nuclear Safety and 7th Review Conference of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.

Japan has been supporting the activities of the IAEA Response and Assistance Network (RANET) Capacity Building Centre (CBC) in
Fukushima and contributing to enhancing nuclear safety worldwide, building on the experience and lessons learned from the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Japan also continues to assist the development of infrastructure and human resources in countries introducing nuclear power plants.

Nuclear Security

Looking ahead to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2021, Japan has made efforts to strengthen nuclear security. For this purpose, in October of last year, Japan conducted a tabletop exercise of nuclear security measures for major public events. Japan is taking all possible measures against terrorism including nuclear terrorism for such major public events.

Moreover, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan will continue to advance nuclear security worldwide, in cooperation with the IAEA, through regional human resource development activities. The Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Security (ISCN) conducts such activities including online seminars.

As a single nation cannot ensure global nuclear security, Japan stresses the important role of legal frameworks such as the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT). Japan continues to make efforts to promote the universalization of these conventions, including through contributions to the 2021 CPPNM Review Conference.

Gender Parity

Japan welcomes the efforts made by the IAEA Secretariat in realizing gender parity. Japan expresses its strong support for the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme, which was launched by the initiative of Director General Grossi as one of many valuable programmes for supporting women’s career development in the field of nuclear, science and technology.

Japan’s Nuclear Energy Policy

Giving top priority to safety, Japan continues utilizing nuclear energy considering the lessons learned from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Accident.

Based on this policy, after the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, nine nuclear reactors have been restarted to date. Based on the 5th Strategic Energy Plan, which was approved by the cabinet in 2018, Japan continues to give top priority to safety while proceeding with the restart of nuclear power plants to realize an optimal energy mix by 2030.

Looking ahead to the target of reducing 80% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Japan has expressed its view in the Strategic Energy Plan that it is critically important to pursue every possible energy option including renewable and nuclear energy. In addition, this past January, Japan developed an Environment Innovation Strategy in order to promote innovation for decarbonization.

As part of efforts to pursue every option for decarbonization, Japan promotes technical development in the pursuit of safe, economically efficient and flexible reactors. To realize this concept, Japan has implemented its policy to promote innovation of nuclear energy by taking advantage of the Japanese private sector’s knowledge and ingenuity.

Plutonium Management

Japan will maintain adherence to the principle of not possessing plutonium without specific purposes. Based on this principle, Japan announced a policy of reducing the size of its plutonium stockpile.

As the IAEA has concluded that all nuclear material in Japan, including plutonium, remained in peaceful activities under stringent IAEA safeguards, there are no issues in relation to non-proliferation.

Japan is committed to fulfilling its responsibilities in nuclear nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. To this end, Japan will
steadily carry out plutonium thermal power generation, increase transparency in the use and management of its plutonium, and accept
stringent IAEA safeguards.

Final Disposal of Radioactive Waste and Decommissioning

Japan will strengthen international collaboration concerning final disposal of radioactive waste, which is a common issue for all countries using nuclear energy.

Based on the agreement at the G20 Karuizawa Ministerial Meeting held in Japan in June of last year, major countries using nuclear energy launched an international roundtable for final disposal of radioactive waste. With the participation of the IAEA at the 1st meeting held in October of last year, and the 2nd meeting in February of this year, each country shared their experience and knowledge regarding activities to increase public acceptance, and discussed methods for research cooperation and personnel exchange among research facilities. We will continue to further advance international collaboration with activities including workshops and following up on each country’s efforts.

Japan is also planning to receive an ARTEMIS review mission on decommissioning of JAEA’s nuclear facilities next year.

Research and Development

Japan developed the Strategic Roadmap for fast reactor development, which specifies concrete research and development plans for the next decade. Based on this Roadmap, Japan continues research and development for fast reactors through cooperation with France and the United States.

In addition, we would like to stress the importance of fusion research and development including the ITER Project and the Broader Approach Activities as well as research such as helical systems.

Last July, the assembly of ITER was successfully started in spite of the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that the fusion R&D can be recognized as a symbol of international cooperation.

Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage

In parallel with promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the establishment of an international compensation framework for nuclear
damage is an important issue. Japan expects an early conclusion of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC) by non-signatory countries.


In closing, I would like to reiterate, on behalf of my government, Japan’s firm determination to continue to provide its maximum support for the IAEA and further contribute to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and even to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Thank you for your kind attention.