Statement by Ambassador Kazuo Kodama
Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations
at the OPCW High-Level Meeting
United Nations Headquarters, New York
1 October 2012
Japan congratulates the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (or OPCW) on the fifteenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the establishment of the Organisation. We have seen the remarkable achievement of wide adherence to the Convention with 188 States Parties, the verifiable destruction of 75% of the world’s declared stockpile of chemical weapons, and its completion. This is a significant contribution to the goals of the United Nations in terms of promoting international peace and security through disarmament.
In order to continue adapting to a rapidly changing international peace and security environment, it is high time for us to consider the future of the Convention and the OPCW. The Third Review Conference to be held in April next year will be a perfect opportunity for doing so.
The tireless efforts made by the chemical weapons possessor States should also be recognized. They destroyed their stockpile of chemical weapons in good faith. The destruction of chemical weapons will remain the core objective of the Convention until they are all completely destroyed. While we highly commend the achievement of wide adherence to the Convention, the universalisation of the Convention has become increasingly important given the current international peace and security environment.
Against the backdrop of global efforts towards preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including those against non-state actors, the OPCW is expected to perform more important roles than ever in this respect. Taking this opportunity, I would like to highlight three challenges to which the OPCW ought to concentrate in the foreseeable future.
First, the prevention of the re-emergence of chemical weapons will be ever more important in light of preventing terrorist attacks by non-state actors using chemical weapons. The verification regime of the Convention has played a significant role in this respect. In order for the Convention to function effectively, it is indispensable for all the States Parties to establish and strengthen their national implementation system in accordance with the Convention and make appropriate declarations to the OPCW. Moreover, it is important that the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW maintain and enhance its function and proficiency for performing all necessary verification measures.
Second, in order to enhance chemical safety and security without hampering the activities and development of the chemical industry, it is important they share their knowledge and experience voluntarily. As science and technology develop, it is also necessary to appropriately monitor and adapt to such developments. For these purposes, it is vital to strengthen the relationship between the OPCW and the chemical industry.
Third, not only international cooperation for the assistance and protection against the use of chemical weapons is necessary but also such cooperation for the development of chemical technology for peaceful use and economic development are also important. In this regard, all State Parties need to cooperate in assisting in the improvement of national and regional capacities against the use of chemical weapons and work towards the promotion of national implementation by the relevant States Parties.
In order to tackle all of these three challenges, the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW will seek more efficient management and strive for a more compact, multi-functioning and flexible organisation.
Japan has steadily implemented the obligations of the Convention and has played a constructive role so that the objectives of the Convention will be effectively materialised. By not only receiving inspections of the chemical industry and destroying old chemical weapons, Japan has been making the fullest possible efforts, with the cooperation of China, for the destruction of abandoned chemical weapons in China.
Moreover, Japan has played a significant role in terms of the operation and the development of the Convention, as the second largest contributor and as a continuous member of the Executive Council since the entry into force of the Convention. Japan has also played an active role in the field of international cooperation including assisting the relevant States Parties’ efforts towards improving their national implementation of the Convention.
Japan will continue to implement its obligations under the Convention and make the necessary contributions, so that the Convention will play an even more important role in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, while adapting to a rapidly changing international peace and security environment.
The OPCW, with 188 States Parties, seeks to realize its only objective. It will be able to truly demonstrate its outstanding prowess with full cooperation of all States Parties in tackling challenges. Let me conclude my remarks by pointing out that further solidarity and cooperation among States Parties are indispensable to achieving the goals of having a world without chemical weapons.
Thank you for your kind attention.