Statement by H.E. Ambassador ISHIKANE Kimihiro, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Arria-Formula Meeting on “The Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”


(As delivered)
Madam and Mr. Chairs,
I would like to begin by expressing my appreciation to Mr. James Turpin, Ms. Elizabeth Salmón, Mr. Joseph Kim, and Ms. SeoHyun Lee for sharing their insightful thoughts and heartbreaking experiences.
I would also like to commend the United States and Albania for their timely initiative to hold this Arria-Formula meeting.  Japan is pleased to co-sponsor this event together with the Republic of Korea.
Japan is gravely concerned with the human rights situation in the DPRK.  The UN Commission of Inquiry report in 2014 identified systematic, widespread, and gross violations of human rights in the DPRK and also recognized many of them as "crimes against humanity." The OHCHR report on DPRK’s human rights situation published this January highlights the continuation of such violations in the country.
It is regrettable that there is no indication that the DPRK authorities have moved to improve the human rights situation on the ground.  One of the serious human rights violations by the DPRK is the abductions of foreign nationals, including Japanese nationals. Most of abductees have not yet returned to their home.  Their futures have been stolen, and their families torn apart.  Abduction is a grave issue concerning the sovereignty of countries concerned and the lives and safety of their citizens.  It is undoubtedly a threat to international peace and security.
In this context, Japan would like to emphasize and highly appreciate that 62 missions, a double from last year, joined a letter to maintain the item on the Council’s agenda last month.
This is a matter that the Security Council must not shy away,  and it is time all Security Council members supported an open briefing at the Council under the agenda item “Situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” at the soonest, where we can discuss serious human rights violations and abuses in the DPRK.  
Madam and Mr. Chairs,
I would like to reiterate that Japan, on its part, continues to make our utmost effort by mobilizing all available resources to realize the return of all abductees at the earliest possible timing.  We are ready to overcome mutual distrust with the DPRK and directly engage with them towards the immediate resolution of outstanding issues of concern including the abductions issue.  I would sincerely appreciate the support and cooperation of the international community in this regard.
Madam and Mr. Chairs,
It is to our dismay that the people in the DPRK suffer from great unmet needs. However, the DPRK authorities pursue nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, threatening the neighbours and the world, at the sacrifices of the fundamental human rights and welfare of their own people.  We condemn this state of affairs.  The DPRK authorities should respect and ensure the welfare and inherent dignity of their citizens.
I strongly urge the DPRK to heed the messages from this meeting.  They must take concrete steps towards resolving all outstanding issues of concern including serious human rights violations and nuclear and missiles developments, both of which are closely interlinked and constitute a threat to international peace and security. And we should not let truth of the DPRK be shielded from the awareness of the international community. We should not close our eyes from the reality.
Before closing, Japan strongly condemns the ICBM launch by North Korea two days ago, which landed just 200km from Japan.

Thank you.