Statement by Counsellor Nobutaka Sawada at the Fifty-Eighth Session of Working Group B of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO
Thank you, Mr. Chair,
On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Executive Secretary, Dr. Floyd, for his opening statement. Let me take this opportunity to confirm Japan’s intention to further strengthen its cooperation with the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS).
Let me also thank you, Mr. Chair, for your efforts to coordinate this Working Group B meeting, including all of the Task Leaders for their dedicated work.
[Promotion of Entry into Force of the Treaty]
We welcome the Commonwealth of Dominica’s decision to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty as well as Gambia and Tuvalu’s decision to ratify the Treaty. Japan applauds the Executive Secretary's active engagement in outreach activities to promote 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, in order to further advance the CTBT.
As the only country having suffered from atomic bombings during war time, Japan is firmly determined to lead the international efforts, under the leadership of Prime Minister, H.E. KISHIDA Fumio, who was born in Hiroshima, to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. As a key pillar of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime centered upon the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Japan attaches great importance to the universalization of the treaty and the promotion of its entry into force. In this regard, Japan will continue to support the efforts to strengthen the verification regime of the Treaty.
We commend the PTS and all States Signatories, as well as the station operators, for their tireless efforts to ensure the reliability and sustainability of the operation of the IMS facilities, especially in the midst of this challenging time.
At the same time, my delegation is concerned about the downward trend in data availability for all monitoring technologies, with the exception of hydroacoustic stations, during the second half of 2021 in comparison to the first half of 2021.
Japan would like to point out that cooperation from States Signatories is imperative in ensuring a high level of data availability. In this regard, we kindly request all States Signatories to work closely with the PTS to maintain and strengthen the IMS stations.
We welcome the recent developments of the next generation of noble gas systems and their future deployment, in particular the completion of the acceptance testing processes of Sauna III and SPALAX-NG for their use in the IMS.
We hope that the next generation of noble gas systems will contribute to strengthening the capability of detecting nuclear tests by improving sensitivity and time resolution to detect noble gas.
OSI is the final and definitive measure to verify whether a nuclear test took place. Although various activities including the OSI build-up exercises were cancelled due to COVID-19, my delegation deems it imperative to consider solutions including alternative means to ensure the effective performance of the OSI regime.
In this regard, we welcome the establishment of the OSI Consultative Group of Experts to advance the consideration for developing a programme of future OSI exercises. Japan will continue to contribute to this scheme by dispatching experts.
We also welcome the announcement of the OSI Division Programme of Work for 2022-2023. We hope that the OSI activities will progress smoothly based on the established Programme.
While WGB plays an important role in discussing the technical matters necessary to finalize the verification regime of the treaty, we are concerned about the postponement of some technical discussions since the COVID-19 outbreak. In this context, we welcome the WGB Chair's proposal to have technical discussions during this session, including the convening of the Expert Group meetings.
We look forward to the fruitful outcomes through the technical discussions at this session, in pursuit of our common goal, namely implementation and steady build-up of the verification regime.
I thank you, Mr. Chair.