Statement by Minister-Counsellor Mr. Nobuyuki KIKUCHI at the 64th Session of Working Group

Thank you, Chair.
Let me start by thanking H.E. Ambassador Nguyen Trung Kien, Permanent Representative of Viet Nam, for his commitment to organizing and leading this Working Group A (WGA) session, as well as the Provisional Technical Secretariat for its dedicated work.
I also appreciate the Executive Secretary, Dr. Robert Floyd, for his opening statement and the great devotion to the work.
At the outset, Japan wishes to express its deepest condolences and solidarity with the people and families of those affected by the devastating earthquakes in Afghanistan.
Japan would also like to join the other countries’ expressions of condolences to the people and innocent civilians and would like to join the condemnations of the terrorist attack made in Israel by the Hamas.
Japan attaches great importance to the promotion of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which is a useful instrument that has been contributing to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, thus to world’s peace and security. Its unique verification regime is of particular high value. Thus, we give top priority to the Treaty’s early entry into force, as well as the establishment and sustainment of the Treaty’s verification regime. We place particular emphasis on these two points in the future activities of the CTBTO.
[Entry-Into-Force and Universalization]
Mr. Chair,
Regarding the Entry-Into-Force and Universalization of the Treaty, we welcome the most recent signature of the CTBT by Somalia this September, and the ratification by Sri Lanka in July. Japan applauds these achievements and the vigorous outreach activities by the Executive Secretary and the PTS. We are also pleased to see the success of this year’s Article XIV Conference under the leadership of the Co-Coordinators of the Conference, Panama and Norway, as well as the dedicated support by the PTS. We welcome the Executive Secretary for his attendance at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on the 6th of August this year, and active communication to understand and share widely the realities of the nuclear weapons use. 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, in order to further advance the CTBT. In this connection, we are deeply concerned by Russia’s recent announcements about the possibility of revoking its ratification of the CTBT. And we fully support any effort made by the Executive Secretary and the PTS.
In consideration of the crisis in Ukraine, 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 expresses serious concerns over North Korea’s intensified nuclear and missile activities. We urge North Korea not to conduct any destabilizing or provocative actions, including a nuclear test, and the international community should be united against such an act. Japan also urges North Korea to comply with its obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, to return to full compliance with the NPT at an early date and to sign and ratify the CTBT.
[Verification System and Effective Use of the Budget]
Mr. Chair,
Regarding Japan’s emphasis on verification system of the Treaty, I would also like to mention the importance for effective use of funds. We thank the PTS for issuing the final draft budget for 2024-2025. While we appreciate their efforts under these difficult fiscal conditions, we reiterate that Japan’s basic position toward the budget of international organizations is, and will be, Zero Nominal Growth (ZNG). In this context, efficiency of the organization should be further pursued. 
With this said, we also realize that it is important to work on fulfilling the needs on a medium and long term basis even in the face of financial challenges.
My delegation attaches particular importance to strengthen verification system including sustainment of IMS. We are content that the Budget Proposal will reflect our priority. In this regard, we expect effective use of the 2020-2021 Cash Surplus.
[Human Resources]
Mr. Chair,
Lastly but not least, we look forward to seeing further results of the efforts undertaken by the PTS to improve geographical representation. Japan appreciates all efforts undertaken by the PTS to achieve gender parity and expects continuous efforts to also increase the representation of women, particular in the Professional and higher categories.
[Closing Remarks]
Mr. Chair,
We expect this meeting to make excellent use of the efforts and time of all participating countries. Japan is ready to engage in meaningful and effective discussions.
Thank you.