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Statement by Ambassador Mari Amano
Permanent Representative of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament
At the Signing Ceremony of the Arms Trade Treaty
Monday, 3 June 2013
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today is a historic day for the international community, as we come together to celebrate the opening for signature of the Arms Trade Treaty. Japan is pleased to be a part of such a memorable occasion, and it is my great honor to sign the Treaty on behalf of my Government. This is the very Treaty that Japan, along with other states and civil society, has tirelessly worked on for the last seven years. I express my sincere appreciation to Ambassador Roberto Garcia Moritan and Ambassador Peter Woolcott for their leadership in making this Treaty into a reality. I also wish to pay tribute to civil society for its strong support and passion which helped drive the ATT process this far.
The lack of internationally-binding rules on the arms trade contributed in causing intolerable loss and suffering throughout the world. We witnessed conventional arms being used to commit or facilitate violations of international humanitarian law or human rights law. While every State has the legitimate right to defend itself, that does not exempt them from their responsibility to reduce such a risk from occurring in the future. The Treaty is created not as a panacea, but as a powerful and meaningful instrument for States and civil society to enhance vigilance and better regulate the transfer of arms.
Now, in front of us is a strong and robust Arms Trade Treaty. We have established a set of common international standards to regulate the international trade of conventional arms. We are committed to the global arms trade no longer being unrestricted or in the dark, and to preventing these arms from being transferred into the wrong hands. To ensure our unswerving commitment, the trading of conventional arms must be done in a transparent manner and subject to scrutiny. To this end, the ATT must be entered into force and implemented as soon as possible. Japan urges those states that are not ready to sign today to do so without delay.
Japan, as a co-author of the ATT resolutions, has worked hard to build an ATT. However, creating an ATT is not our final objective. Our aim is to contribute to peace and security and to minimize the human suffering caused by the unregulated trade in conventional arms. Japan is determined to achieve these goals by making this Treaty universal and effective by working together with other States and civil society.
As a proverb goes, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Today is the day that we show to the world that our shared commitment to international rules on arms trade can prevent the fueling of conflicts, giving diplomacy a better chance. It is not arms that end conflict but words that prevent one. Transparency and confidence among States is what the world needs more of, not the unregulated flow of arms. Japan will do its utmost to make the vision created by the ATT into a reality.
I thank you.