2002 Statement



Ambassador of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament

At the Public Meeting of the Security Council on Small Arms

11 October, 2002

Mr. President,

At the outset, as the Permanent Representative and head of delegation of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you, on behalf of my government, for inviting us to participate in the Security Council’s deliberation on the issue of small arms, an increasingly important item on the disarmament agenda. It is my great honor to address this august body which has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. I would also like to express my utmost appreciation to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Under-Secretary-General Jayantha Dhanapala and his office for issuing a substantive and comprehensive report on this issue.

(Problems of Small Arms and Light Weapons)

Mr. President,

Numbers speak themselves. Small arms and light weapons (SALW) kill more than five hundred thousand people every year. The excessive accumulation of such weapons is a particularly dangerous destabilizing factor in post-conflict situations, as it disrupts humanitarian aid operations and hinders rehabilitation and reconstruction. The excessive accumulation of such weapons can also re-kindle conflicts and thus undermine efforts for peace and stability.

The events of September 11, 2001, showed another dimension of the issue of small arms. It is these weapons that various terrorist groups around the world use most frequently. The elimination of the supply of weapons, including small arms, to terrorists, as called for in Security Council Resolution 1373 is an essential element in the global fight against terrorism.

The problems of SALW are multidimensional and interlinked. I cannot fail to note that there is also a gender element involved. One of the extraordinary aspects of contemporary wars and conflicts is the large proportion of non-combatants among the victims. As a matter of fact, the greatest number of conflict-related deaths of women and children are caused by small arms. Restraining and curbing the problems of SALW is a matter of urgent priority for the entire international community.

(The UN Conference)

Mr. President,

The UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects held in July 2001 adopted a Programme of Action that represents the collective will of the international community to address the problems. This outcome of the Conference was further consolidated the UN General Assembly resolution on SALW submitted jointly by Colombia, South Africa and Japan in October 2001. This resolution called upon all States to implement the Programme of Action and decided to convene a conference, no later than 2006, to review progress made in its implementation. The consensus adoption of this important resolution demonstrates the global solidarity to address the issue of SALW.

The resolution also decided to hold a biennial meeting next year. The purpose of this meeting is to provide an opportunity for States and other international actors, including NGOs, to share experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of the Programme of Action. Such exchanges will allow them to address their problems more effectively and efficiently.

Japan, as a country steadfastly committed to tackling the issue of small arms, attaches great importance to the global implementation of the Programme of Action. In January we organized a meeting to follow up on the UN Conference. We are also planning to hold a seminar with the participation of Pacific countries to facilitate their implementation of the Programme of Action. I would like to take this opportunity to remind all delegations that, since Japan would like to play a meaningful, if modest, role at the 2003 biennial meeting, it has already announced its candidacy for the chairmanship of this meeting.

Mr. President,

The Programme of Action comprises two categories of measures, prevention of the excessive accumulation of small arms and the reduction of such accumulations. With regard to prevention, a group of governmental experts has been established to examine the feasibility of developing an international instrument to enable States to identify, trace and disrupt illegal supply lines. The Report of the Secretary-General calls upon Member States to support this meaningful exercise. As a member of this group, Japan will continue to actively contribute to it.

The Programme of Action also calls for the effective implementation of arms embargoes decided by the Security Council. Monitoring arrangements are also in place to ensure the effective enforcement of the embargoes. Japan supports the recommendation of the Report of the Secretary-General that the use of the combination of these measures should be further enhanced.

With regard to the reduction of excessive accumulations of SALW, the Programme of Action stresses the importance of DDR, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants. In this regard, the Programme calls upon affected countries to develop DDR projects while also calling for international assistance and cooperation in support of such projects. Further, the inclusion of DDR in the mandates of peacekeeping operations, where appropriate, deserves the serious attention of the Security Council.

Japan will continue to implement appropriate "Weapons for Development" projects in cooperation with other governments, international and regional organizations, and NGOs. Japan has also recently begun a joint research programme with UNIDIR on arms collection projects in Albania, Cambodia, Congo, Mali, and Papua New Guinea. This research will be completed no later than 2004, and we are confident that it will provide the international community with valuable lessons learned from the experiences of those affected countries.

(Japan’s Support for the UN Role)

The role of the United Nations is increasingly important in following up the UN Conference last year. The Coordinating Action on Small Arms (CASA) mechanism is already harmonizing the response of the UN. Japan commends the initiative taken by the Secretary-General in establishing the Small Arms Advisory Service which will greatly enhance UN efforts in this field.

I would also like to touch upon the significant achievement of the UN Register of Conventional Arms and the UN standardized instrument for reporting military expenditures. They are valuable international means for promoting transparency in armaments and international confidence-building. This year, the UN Register of Conventional Arms is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Currently 120 governments are submitting their official data on the transfer of arms. In order to further promote the universality of the Register, Japan has been co-organizing with Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Nations a series of regional workshops in several countries, including Ghana and Namibia. A similar seminar is planned to take place in Indonesia next February.

The Trust Fund established in the Department for Disarmament Affairs of the United Nations has supported several UN activities, such as the study of the problems related to SALW, public awareness programmes and the dispatch of fact-finding missions to affected countries. Japan has thus far contributed US $2.16 million to the Fund.

(Conclusion: For Durable Peace and Stability)

Mr. President,

Finally, I would like to stress the importance of addressing the root causes of violence, armed conflicts, instability and other threats to international peace and security. In order to prevent the resurgence of conflicts and to foster durable peace and stability in post-conflict situations, it is important to accelerate the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants. It is also equally important to promote economic and social development, democratization, and reconciliation among the parties to a conflict. This approach will help to ensure a fundamental, long-term and comprehensive solution to security problems in volatile areas. I believe that it is an approach the international community must take in order to consolidate peace and stability around the world in the 21st century.

I thank you, Mr. President