Statement by H.E. Mr. Takeshi Hikihara, Permanent Representative, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna at the Fifty-Sixth Session of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO
I would like first to thank Ambassador Sramek for his leadership, and the dedicated work of the PTS in holding the 56th Session of the Preparatory Commission. Let me also to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo for his comprehensive opening remarks.
[Entry into force of the treaty]
We welcome the progress made towards the universalization of the treaty and build-up of the verification measures since the treaty was opened for signature 25 years ago, and including most recent ratifications of the Treaty by Cuba and Comoros.
We call upon all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty without further delay, in particular the remaining States listed in Annex 2, for the early entry into force of the treaty.
I would like to recall that Japan applies the principle of Zero Nominal Growth (ZNG) to the budget of the international organizations, including the CTBTO. This principle remains unchanged.
At the same time, Japan recognizes that sufficient resources must be allocated to the verification regime to ensure the proper detection of nuclear testing. We request further rationalization of the activities and efficient execution of the budget by the PTS, while maintaining and strengthening the stable verification operation.
As we have detailed in our statement at the 59th Session of Working Group A, we emphasize the importance of the restoration of IMS facilities not in use for long with a view to properly sustaining the capacity to detect nuclear testing. In this context, we request the PTS to provide detailed information on the outlook of the disposal of the 2016-2017 budget surplus.
[Appointment of the AG chair]
We would like to pay tribute to Sir Michael Weston for his significant contributions to the organization as Chair of the AG. We wish him all the best for the future.
We also welcome the nomination of the new chair of the Advisory Group by the United Kingdom. The candidate has a notable background and capabilities, and we support the appointment to this role.
[Transportable noble gas systems]
We would like to thank Ambassador Laggner of Switzerland and Ambassador Molekane of South Africa for their dedicated efforts as co-facilitators to formulate a guidance regarding the issue of noble gas background characterization.
North Korea conducted six nuclear tests until now. However, the IMS radionuclide station in Takasaki, Japan was able to detect clear signals of noble gas only on one occasion. This implies the difficulty of fully understanding the noble gas background by using IMS facilities all by itself.
Given this track record, Japan supports the observation activities by the PTS using the transportable noble gas systems, which is an effective means to understand the background.
We hope that a new guidance to be formulated by the Preparatory Commission on the issue of noble gas background characterization will help clarify the purpose of using the transportable noble gas systems and make the most of those systems for this purpose.
Japan is deeply concerned about North Korea’s continued development of nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities. 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 UNSCRs. We call upon North Korea to return at an early date to full compliance with the NPT and the IAEA safeguards and to sign and ratify the CTBT. We also call on all States to fully implement relevant UNSCRs.
[New regime of the CTBTO]
We welcome the election of Dr. Robert Floyd as the first Executive Secretary of the CTBTO to be selected from the South-East Asia, the Pacific and the Far East group (SEAPFE).
In this regard, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to our Chair Ambassador Sramek, as well as to the former Chair Ambassador Mebarki, for coordinating and successfully completing the election process despite the particularly difficult circumstances due to the pandemic.
We also take this opportunity to applaud all of the achievements by Dr. Zerbo, throughout his 17 years with the CTBTO and especially during his tenure as Executive Secretary, including the promotion of the entry into force and universalization of the treaty, strengthening of the verification regime, as well as enhancement of the civil and scientific use of IMS data.
As the only country to have suffered atomic bombings, Japan sets disarmament and non-proliferation as the pillar of our diplomatic policy. We value the CTBT as one of the most realistic and practical initiatives for both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states to cooperate with each other. Therefore, we have been actively engaging in enhancing the entry into force of the treaty and promoting the verification measures in close coordination with Dr. Zerbo, and we deeply appreciate his commitment and dedication to the goals. We wish him all the best for his future endeavors.
We will do the same with Dr. Floyd, the next Executive Secretary of the CTBTO. We are looking forward to working with him, and ready to fully support him in his critically important duty.