Statement by Ambassador Kazuyoshi Umemoto
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Meeting of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC)
Monday, 1 April 2013
First of all, allow me to congratulate Ambassador Christopher Grima of Malta on his assumption of the chairmanship of the UNDC as well as the newly elected vice-chairs. Japan will do its utmost to support the work of the Chairman and Bureau.
The UNDC has adopted sixteen documents on guidelines and recommendations, including “Guidelines for the Establishment of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones.” However, since its adoption of “Guidelines on Conventional Arms Control” in 1999, the UNDC has remained in deadlock for more than 10 years. This is the second year of the current three-year cycle, and our primary objective is to deepen substantive discussion on the topics agreed upon at last year’s session, thereby laying a foundation for the guidelines and recommendations to be issued next year.
I would like to express Japan’s views on two main areas which will be discussed at the UNDC this year.
(Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation)
While the international community aspires to realize a world without nuclear weapons, progress in nuclear disarmament has been slow, and the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva seems incapable of breaking out of its prolonged stalemate. Furthermore, in spite of the repeated adoption of UN Security Council resolutions on nuclear and missile-related activities by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran, the international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes under the NPT continue to face serious challenges, including numerous cases of violations.
To maintain and strengthen the NPT regime, it is essential that we take practical and realistic steps to promote both nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) which Japan promotes has been working for this very purpose. The NPDI has submitted working papers to the NPT Review Conference Preparatory Committee on topics such as the CTBT, FMCT, non-strategic nuclear weapons, export controls, as well as disarmament and non-proliferation education.
Japan also submits resolutions to the UN General Assembly every year to accelerate international efforts for nuclear disarmament. Last year’s resolution, entitled “United action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons” had 99 co-sponsors and was adopted with the support of 174 states, setting the international standard in the field of disarmament.
The early entry into force of the CTBT and the immediate commencement of negotiations on an FMCT are of pressing importance. Accordingly, Japan supported the Conference on Facilitating the Early Entry into Force of the CTBT in 2011 and the “Friends of the CTBT” Foreign Ministers Meeting at the UN last year. We stress the need to take the next logical step following the CTBT and initiate negotiations on an FMCT. As indicated by the General Assembly resolution on the establishment of an FMCT Group of Government Experts (GGE) adopted last year, the UN plays an increasingly significant role in this area.
Japan believes all these key developments should be duly reflected in this year’s deliberations at the UNDC.
(Conventional weapons and confidence-building measures)
The UNDC should also take into account recent developments in the areas of conventional weapons and confidence-building measures. The success of last year’s Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons Review Conference was certainly a welcoming progress in this regard. The outcome document will give the international community a clear goal and timeline to strengthen its efforts to combat and eradicate the illicit trade of arms.
Enhanced transparency of armaments in all States reduces miscalculation, miscommunication, and mistrust between States, building greater confidence. The UN Register of Conventional Arms and UN Report on Military Expenditures plays an important role in promoting such transparency and confidence among States.
During this session of the UNDC, Japan hopes to sponsor a side-event to stimulate the discussion on global military expenditure similar to the event we convened last year.
The failure to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty at the Final UN conference last week was regrettable. Along with the other six original co-authors, Japan has worked hard for the last few years to realize the goal of strengthening international rules on the arms trade. However, we should not be discouraged by the attempt to hamper the aspirations of an overwhelming number of States. Japan is confident that the treaty will be adopted very soon and that the UN continues to play a central role in suppressing illegal trade of conventional weapons to save lives.
Last year, the General Assembly adopted a number of resolutions which mandated the UN to take specific actions. Among these were decisions to establish an open-ended working group to advance multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, to convene a high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament, and to create an FMCT Group of Governmental Experts. These developments are clear examples of the will of Member States to make better use of this universal organ to reinvigorate disarmament and non-proliferations efforts.
Being a part of the UN body, the UNDC must also produce meaningful outcomes in order to reclaim its place in the global deliberations on disarmament affairs. We all need to prove that the UNDC is worthy of allocating substantial human and financial resources. The UNDC already laid the groundwork for action based on the deliberations last year. Participating States should engage themselves in identifying the next steps. Japan will fully support the Chairman and spare no effort to ensure that this second-year conference leads to a positive outcome next year.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman