H.E. MS. YORIKO KAWAGUCHI
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Japan
AT THE OPEN DEBATE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL ON SMALL ARMS
17 FEBRUARY 2005
At the outset, I wish to say how pleased I am to participate in this council today under your presidency. I am privileged and truly grateful for the opportunity afforded me to express my government's position on the issue of small arms and light weapons. I would also like to express my appreciation to Mr. Nobuyasu Abe, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, for his comprehensive introduction of the Secretary-General's report. This report, which effectively identified both the progress made in the area of small arms over a period of slightly more than a year and the challenges to be addressed in the future, will serve as a valuable guidepost for our future work.
The question of small arms and light weapons is a multi-disciplinary issue in the sense that the widespread use of small arms not only results in a large number of casualties but also has a socio-economic dimension, insofar as it gives rise to other issues such as child soldiers and the disruption of recovery and development in post-conflict situations. In other words, this is an important area where the nexus of peace and development, which is the key underlying notion of the High-level Panel Report on Threats, Challenges and Change, shows itself. This is why Japan has been attaching great importance to this issue. The General Assembly's annual resolutions on small arms and light weapons provide pragmatic prescriptions through which the international community seeks to solve the problems, and as a co-sponsor along with Colombia and South Africa, we think it significant that the resolutions were adopted by consensus. The UN Panel and the Group of Governmental Experts on Small Arms both chaired by Ambassador Mitsuro Donowaki are another example of Japan's contributions to efforts in this area.
Let me focus on a few points that my government considers to be important in addressing the issue of small arms and light weapons. I believe that these points are closely related to the important elements contained in the Secretary-General's report.
The guiding light in the United Nations process to tackle the small arms issue comes from The "Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects", adopted in 2001. In order to help implement the Programme of Action, we have taken a number of actions, including the sponsoring of seminars and workshops in various places in the region such as Tokyo, Bali, Kazakhstan and Fiji. In April of this year, another workshop is being planned by Japan, China, Switzerland and the United Nations Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific as a regional initiative by inviting countries from ASEAN and the Central Asia to support their national implementation of the Programme of Action.
Marking and tracing of illicit small arms and light weapons is one of the most important tasks set out in the Programme of Action. As the Secretary-General's report points out, the Open-Ended Working Group established by the General Assembly has made some progress, and Japan has made a number of constructive contributions to discussions there, especially as a non-exporter of weapons, in principle. Japan will continue to do so to achieve a successful outcome at the Working Group.
The issue of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in post-conflict situations, whose detailed updates are provided in the Report, has become an important tool to ensure that a country in post-conflict situations does not backslide into a state of conflict. While progress was made in a number of areas, the report reminds us that there are many more challenges to overcome. In order to help make progress in DDR, Japan has been taking concrete actions. In Afghanistan, a country afflicted by the protracted internal conflicts, for instance, the implementation of DDR is imperative to attain a sustainable peace and security. Having this perspective in mind, Japan, as a lead nation in the area of DDR in Afghanistan, has been assisting the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process by providing vocational trainings for ex-soldiers to facilitate their reintegration through the dispatching experts as well as by implementation of reintegration project on a grass-roots level. Japan has also been involved in similar projects in Africa: in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, our cooperation is underway with United Nations organizations involved with DDR projects.
Behind these actions is the idea of consolidation of peace that I promoted as one of the pillars of Japan's foreign policy during my tenure as Foreign Minister of Japan, which ended not long ago. The idea is to provide the necessary assistance for those countries in post-conflict situations to make a smooth transition toward nation-building. I am confident that those efforts are gradually bearing fruit.
This idea of consolidation of peace is in line with the High-level Panel's key notion that international peace and security issues are closely linked with international development problems in today's globalized world. From this viewpoint, we will continue to provide assistance on the ground to those countries affected by the scourge of small arms. Collection and destruction of illicit small arms and light weapons, capacity building in the development of appropriate legislation and regulations as well as import and export control are the areas where cooperation from the international community is especially needed. With that in mind, Japan has been conducting a W eapons-for-Development project in Cambodia for the past two years funded by Grant Aid for Peace-Building Assistance of over 8 million US dollars. We are now studying the possibility to cooperate further with some African countries utilizing, among others, the Small Arms Trust Fund which Japan has established under the UN Global and Regional Disarmament Trust Fund.
In June 2006, the United Nations Conference to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action will be convened. Through our efforts toward that review meeting, I hope that there will be a good progress in the area of small arms and light weapons that will be reported in the Secretary-General's report next year. We reaffirm our commitment to cooperate with the United Nations in implementing the Programme of Action and are determined to intensify our efforts to address the issue of small arms and light weapons, as a nation dedicated to world peace and stability.
Thank you, Mr. President.