"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi to the Conference on Disarmament

[Place] Geneva
[Date] September 4, 2003
[Source] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Madam President,

It is a great pleasure for me to address this august body, the Conference on Disarmament. I would like to express my sincere congratulations to Ambassador Kuniko Inoguchi on her assumption of the presidency of the Conference. Recognising the great responsibility held by the country presiding over the Conference on Disarmament at this particularly important juncture, I have decided to join you all here today.

Madam President,

I would like to take this opportunity to state Japan's basic stance on disarmament and peace. After World War II, Japan chose to establish its position in the international community as a nation dedicated to peace, with a strong determination that the devastation of war never be repeated. Since then, deeply convinced of the philosophy of peace, Japan has pursued the following policy goals: achieving economic development through peace, not through military build-up, increasing the welfare of the Japanese people, and promoting international peace and stability as a prerequisite for these aims.

From this viewpoint, Japan considered it important to demonstrate that Japan, itself, would not pose a threat to the world, and hence renounced the option of nuclear armament. In 1955, Japan enacted the Atomic Energy Basic Law, which limits nuclear activities in Japan exclusively to the peaceful purposes. Subsequently, in 1967, Japan announced the "Three Non-Nuclear Principles," of "not possessing, not producing and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan," and has upheld these principles. The successive Cabinets of Japan, including the present Koizumi Cabinet, have repeatedly articulated the "Three Non-Nuclear Principles", and there is no change in the position of Government of Japan in that it continues to uphold these principles.

Madam President,

Japan's accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1976 was an important security decision. Japan joined the Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon State, and internationally promised to renounce the option of nuclear armament. And now the regime of international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, with the NPT as its cornerstone, is a fundamental pillar of Japan's security. At the same time, Japan accepted the IAEA safeguards to provide transparency of its nuclear activities. Japan promptly concluded the additional protocol in 1999. Evidently, Japan attaches crucial importance to the NPT regime for its peace and prosperity, and is convinced that this recognition is shared by an overwhelming majority of the international community.

Japan has been making active diplomatic efforts aimed at realizing a peaceful and safe world free of nuclear weapons at the earliest possible date. This is the tenth year since Japan submitted its draft resolution on nuclear disarmament to the UN General Assembly in 1994 for the first time. This year again, Japan is preparing for the submission to the UN General Assembly of the draft resolution on "A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons".

As a concrete step to strengthening the NPT regime, Japan is seriously committed to promoting the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Yesterday, I attended the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT in Vienna, at which I emphasized again the importance of achieving this goal.

In order for the NPT regime to serve as a cornerstone underpinning international peace and security, its universality is essential. Japan welcomes that Timor Leste, immediately after its independence, became the 189th State party to the NPT in May this year. Nevertheless, there are countries still remaining outside the NPT. I, myself, have seized every opportunity to convince these countries of the importance of their acceding to the Treaty.

Nuclear-weapon States should take seriously the fact that, to date, almost all countries have committed to renounce the option of nuclear armament under the NPT regime. In this regard, it should be recalled that the decision in 1995 to extend the NPT indefinitely was an integral part of a package with "Principles and Objectives", which includes the promotion of nuclear disarmament. Nuclear-weapon States must respond to such resolute determination of non-nuclear weapon States, which are the overwhelming majority of the NPT States parties, by demonstrating tangible progress towards nuclear disarmament.

Madam President,

Japan is currently tackling the question of peace and disarmament from a new perspective. Following the end of the Cold War, the international community underwent the hardships of numerous regional conflicts and civil wars, and we have learnt from past experiences that the cessation of conflicts does not necessarily result in sustainable peace. Today, Japan is eager to play a more proactive role to make peace sustainable. I refer this approach as "consolidation of peace". As a precondition to consolidating peace and promoting reconstruction, the population must be ensured a secure living environment. Addressing the problems of anti-personnel landmines and small arms and light weapons is essential to this aim. In this view, the Official Development Assistance Charter, which lays out Japan's fundamental principles of ODA policy, places the concept of "consolidation of peace" as one of its top priorities.

Madam President,

At this point, I would like to reflect upon the last ten years' history of disarmament and the Conference on Disarmament. After the end of the Cold War, the CD made a significant contribution to building new disarmament norms. In 1991, immediately following the end of the Gulf War, then Foreign Minister of Japan, Dr. Taro Nakayama, addressed the CD, pointing out issues which remained unresolved at that time, expressing his strong desire for their early resolution. The CD went on to adequately meet his expectations. Achievements included the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1992 and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 1996. The historical importance of these treaties cannot be overvalued.

Since that time, the CD has been unable to accomplish any concrete results. However, even in this period when CD negotiations have stagnated, enthusiasm among the international community for tackling disarmament and non-proliferation issues has not wavered. Various developments have taken place outside the CD.

Firstly, important disarmament steps have been taken by some nuclear-weapon States. In December 2001, Russia and the US declared the completion of the implementation of their obligations under START I. Subsequently, in June this year, the Moscow Treaty, whereby Russia and the US agreed to reduce their strategic nuclear warheads respectively to about one third, entered into force. Another great achievement was the agreement on the "13 practical steps for nuclear disarmament", as contained in the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, which includes "an unequivocal undertaking" provided by nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of nuclear arsenals.

Secondly, the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation was launched last November. This constitutes a significant step forward as the first international norm which promotes the non-proliferation of ballistic missiles and calls for maximum self-restraint in the development, testing and deployment of such weapons.

Thirdly, the adoption of the Anti-Personnel Landmine Ban Treaty in 1997 and the adoption of the "Programme of Action" at the 2001 UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects are, among others, examples of substantial developments which have been made in the field of conventional weapons. In July this year, under Japan's chairmanship, the UN First Biennial Meeting on small arms and light weapons was successfully concluded.

Madam President,

Despite these positive developments, we must also recognize the severe situation we are currently facing.

Firstly, problems of non-compliance with multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties, including the NPT, have become more acute. Non-compliance cases which pose challenges to those treaties must be rectified in order to maintain their credibility and legitimacy. Japan is strongly concerned that problems of non-compliance with the NPT, or related suspicions, have emerged over the past year.

In particular, Japan is deeply concerned about North Korea's declaration of their intention to withdraw from the NPT. Japan cannot accept, by any means, any development, acquisition or possession, test and transfer of nuclear weapons by North Korea. Japan strongly urges North Korea to comply with all its obligations under the NPT and, consequently, obligations under the safeguards agreement with the IAEA, to refreeze its nuclear related facilities and to take prompt actions to dismantle its whole nuclear weapons program in a verifiable and irreversible manner. Japan welcomes the convening of the first meeting of six-party talks and that this has given us a clue to solving the problem through dialogue.

States parties need to work actively to demonstrate their compliance with the treaties to the international community. A high level of transparency can contribute to confidence building among States parties. This is particularly relevant for States which undertake, or are planning to undertake, advanced nuclear activity. From this viewpoint, Japan has called upon Iran to fully cooperate with the IAEA and to promptly and unconditionally conclude and implement the Additional Protocol.

Secondly, the problem of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction must be addressed. The terrorist attacks of September 11 brought about a complete change in people's "threat awareness", bringing to light the imminent danger that such non-state actors as terrorists can threaten States' security. In particular, the magnitude of the threat of WMD falling into the hands of terrorists is immeasurable. The international community has taken new steps to respond to this "new threat", and Japan has actively participated in these efforts. Besides, Japan has contributed to the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, through the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law. In order for such new steps to be truly effective, disarmament and non-proliferation regimes must function effectively. It is now more important than ever to uphold and strengthen disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.

Madam President,

I would now like to touch upon the current situation of the Conference on Disarmament. Since the formulation of the CTBT in 1996, the CD has been unable to enter into substantial negotiations. This stalemate must be resolved promptly. Japan strongly hopes that the CD will agree on a programme of work as soon as possible and begin substantive discussion. Japan supports any constructive efforts to break the current stalemate of the CD.

Japan, in particular, places great importance on the commencement of negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. It is highly regrettable that the CD has failed to commence FMCT negotiations, despite the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference. We believe such negotiations should begin without further delay. With this aim, Japan held a Workshop here in Geneva in March this year and recently presented to the CD a working paper on the FMCT. We sincerely hope that this working paper will deepen the discussions on the substantive issues of the FMCT and facilitate the early commencement of negotiations. Japan also believes that all States concerned, including the nuclear-weapon States, should declare a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, pending the entry into force of the FMCT.

Madam President,

I would now like to outline the priority issues for Japan in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.

First of all, Japan is aiming towards a peaceful and safe world free of nuclear weapons based on a realistic and incremental approach, by building up concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament. Every year, the draft resolution, "A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons", which reflects Japan's position, has been adopted by the UN General Assembly with overwhelming support.

Secondly, as the only country that experienced the devastation caused by nuclear bombing, Japan takes it upon itself to ensure that the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain in the memories of mankind. Over the past 20 years, Japan has invited to Hiroshima and Nagasaki a total of over 450 diplomats as a part of the UN Disarmament Fellowship Programme. I am pleased to learn that alumni of the Fellowship Programme are present among the delegations today. Japan will continue such efforts in the future.

Thirdly, in order to advance disarmament and non-proliferation, it is essential to gain the understanding and support of young people who will lead future generations, and of civil society as a whole. To this aim, Japan puts a great emphasis on disarmament and non-proliferation education, and is making active efforts, including inviting disarmament educators from overseas.

Regional disarmament conferences are effective means to enhance awareness of the importance of disarmament at a regional level. I am pleased to note that the UN Disarmament Conference has been held every year in different cities of Japan since 1989. Japan highly appreciates the meaningful discussion which took place during the UN Disarmament Conference in Osaka last month.

Madam President,

We must take action in order to promote disarmament. In addition to traditional approaches, which focus mainly on establishing rules and norms, concrete actions are required such as the disposal and collection of landmines or small arms and light weapons, and the dismantlement of weapons of mass destruction.

From this point of view, Japan has been actively engaged in de-nuclearisation cooperation in Russia as a part of the G8 Global Partnership. In June this year, I visited Vladivostok and actually saw a decommissioned nuclear submarine, which is to be dismantled under Japan-Russia cooperation projects. These projects were named "Star of Hope" by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Japan has also been actively involved in cooperation in mine clearance and the collection of small arms and light weapons. From an early stage, Japan has been engaged in de-mining projects in Afghanistan through United Nations organizations. When I visited Afghanistan last year, I realized the seriousness of the landmine problems and was moved by the enthusiasm of local staff members toiling toward this lofty end.

Surplus small arms and light weapons have hindered efforts for humanitarian aid operations and reconstruction and development activities by the United Nations and other organizations in the post-conflict phase, and they contribute to re-igniting conflicts and facilitating crime. Japan has implemented weapons collection projects to counter this problem, namely, "Weapons for Development" in Cambodia.

Japan is committed to further promoting such concrete actions toward disarmament.

Madam President,

Disarmament and non-proliferation has never been so important for the peace and security of humankind and the international community has great expectations for the Conference on Disarmament to fulfil its role. We therefore owe it to ourselves to meet these expectations.

Japan ardently hopes that, making use of the wisdom of humankind, the CD will contribute to peace and prosperity for the generations to come. I can assure the Conference that Japan will continue to make every possible effort to promote disarmament and non-proliferation.

Thank you.