Representative Of Japan
On Item 150: International Convention Against The Reproductive Cloning Of Human Beings
21 OCTOBER 2004
Japan endorses the statement by the delegate of Belgium on behalf of cosponsors of the draft resolution which is contained in A/C.6/59/L.8. I would like to express our position on this important issue.
The position of Japan is very clear and very pragmatic, and takes into consideration the discussions we have made to date.
First, an international convention on this issue should be acceptable to as many countries as possible. In other words, such international convention must be universal. We believe that unless it is universal, the effectiveness of the convention will be substantially undermined.
Second, Japan does not support the position that all human cloning shall be prohibited. While recognizing ethical and social issues, it is not appropriate, in our view, to close a door on future scientific and technological progress, when it has the potential to save lives threatened by serious diseases.
Third, various aspects such as historical, ethical, cultural and religious traditions of each country should be respected in formulating a convention on this issue. Otherwise our discussions will fail to reach a conclusion.
In accordance with this position, we believe that reproductive cloning of human beings has to be banned as soon as possible. The prohibition by a convention, therefore, should be limited to reproductive cloning of human beings, where there is a consensus among all of us.
Let me touch upon the situation on this issue in Japan. At the national level, while "the Law Concerning Regulation Relating to Human Cloning Techniques and Other Similar Techniques" prohibits the production of human clone individuals, last July the Governmental Council of Japan decided to permit creation and utilization of human somatic cell nuclear transfer embryos for basic research under certain strict conditions. After guidelines prepared in accordance with the law just mentioned are formulated by the ministries concerned, the research will commence.
Japan is a co-sponsor of the draft resolution introduced by Belgium. We became a cosponsor because we believe that this draft resolution does not impose one particular view but rather offers us a choice on this issue. It is therefore most likely to lead to a consensus, which would ensure the effectiveness of a convention. No one should be forced on anyone concerning ethical issues such as cloning. On the contrary, we have to respect the diversity of such views.
We recognize that there is a strong desire for a convention to be accepted by consensus. We earnestly share this desire. It is accordingly our view that no premature action should be taken on this issue and that the members of the Sixth Committee should continue to explore ways to achieve consensus by demonstrating flexibility and a cooperative spirit.
Thank you very much.