General Statement by H.E. Mr. Kiyoto Tsuji, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, at the Third Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference

Mr. Chairman, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, 
 
First of all, I would like to express my sincere congratulations to Ambassador Dato’ Syed on your assumption of the Chair of the Third Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference. My Delegation will spare no effort to support your work. 

The year 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the NPT. It also will be 75 years since nuclear weapons were used for the first time. In such a milestone year, the world is expecting a meaningful outcome of the Review Conference, which will require substantive discussion during this Third Preparatory Committee. 
 

Mr. Chairman,   

As the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings during war, Japan has a deep understanding of the catastrophic consequences of the use of nuclear weapons. I would like to take this opportunity to express my respect for the tireless efforts of the Hibakusha, the atomic bomb survivors, who have conveyed the reality of the atomic bombings to the world in pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons. 

On the other hand, it is also the solemn responsibility of a sovereign state to protect the lives and property of its people. Japan strives to advance nuclear disarmament and security simultaneously, taking into account both humanitarian and security considerations. 

We are currently witnessing a deteriorating security environment, a divergence of views on disarmament, and the growing threat of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. 

Against this backdrop, we must reassume realistic measures with the cooperation of both nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States. 
 
The NPT is the cornerstone of international nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation regime, enabling realistic and practical measures to be taken to advance its objectives. Its significant contribution to maintaining international peace and security is widely accepted by the international community. Therefore, the Treaty must be maintained and strengthened; in particular, commitments made by States Parties must be preserved and fulfilled. 

Japan stands ready to contribute to finding common ground and seeking concrete measures where all States Parties can work together while taking into account the complex international security environment. 
 

Mr. Chairman,   

In 2017, Japan established the Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament, which consists of distinguished international experts from both nuclear-weapon States and nonnuclear-weapon States. Building upon its recommendations presented last year, the Group recently produced their “Kyoto Appeal” for the international community calling for efforts towards the 2020 Review Conference. I expect this Appeal to serve as a useful reference for advancing nuclear disarmament. 

The “Kyoto Appeal” emphasizes that rebuilding civility and respect in discourse and restoring practices of cooperation on nuclear arms control and threat reduction are required as a solid foundation for a more stable, safe, and prosperous world. The “Kyoto Appeal” sets out 13 recommendations. Here, let me draw your attention to three points. 

First, despite divergent views on nuclear disarmament, all States should engage with each other. This will serve as a first step toward building mutual trust and confidence in the current security environment. 

Second, nuclear-weapon States should further explain and share information regarding their nuclear doctrines, deterrence policies, risk reduction measures and security assurances, among themselves through the P5 process and in parallel with non-nuclear-weapon States. 

Third, all States, including non-NPT States Parties, should contribute to, and develop as needed, forums and processes to address nuclear threat reduction, confidence-building measures, and nuclear disarmament verification. 

The message underscored in these recommendations is the following: even in a turbulent security environment, it is important to continue promoting concrete measures steadily through dialogue and engagement. Such tireless efforts will lead to enhanced transparency and increased trust and confidence. This will eventually contribute to creating a safer world. 
 

Mr. Chairman, 

The Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) embodies Japan’s commitment to the NPT. We are confident we will be able to establish common ground through proactive discussion in the NPDI. The NPDI remains actively engaged through our various initiatives including on the enhancement of transparency. 

Japan also emphasizes the importance of promoting the entry into force of the CTBT, as a measure to strengthen the NPT regime. We continuously call upon the remaining eight Annex II States to sign and ratify the CTBT.  
 

Mr. Chairman,

IAEA safeguards are an essential instrument of the international nonproliferation regime. With the aim of further strengthening the NPT, Japan attaches importance to the universalization of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and its Additional Protocols. Japan strongly supports the IAEA’s efforts to make its safeguards more effective and efficient.

With regard to North Korea, Japan reaffirms its strong commitment to working with the international community in order to achieve complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges as well as related programs and facilities in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions. We emphasize the critical importance for all States to fully implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions. We call upon all States to continue working collectively to this end. 

Japan continues to support the JCPOA, which strengthens the international non-proliferation regime and contributes to the peace and stability in the Middle East region. Iran’s steady implementation of the JCPOA is the basis for further cooperation between Iran and the international community, and therefore we support Iran’s implementation of the agreement. 
 
Mr. Chairman,

Japan recognizes the importance of the inalienable right of States Parties to harness the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in conformity with their nonproliferation obligations. 

Japan has strongly supported the IAEA’s initiatives, notably “Atoms for Peace and Development”, for instance by making contributions to the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI) and by co-chairing the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology held last November. In this regard, I am pleased to announce today that Japan’s decision to allocate additional three hundred thousand euros through the PUI for the ReNuAL project. 


Mr. Chairman, 

Japan welcomes the UN Secretary General’s Agenda on Disarmament which was announced in May 2018. The Agenda states that young people can be a tremendous force for change in the world. As one of Japan’s youngest politicians, I feel compelled to further strengthen partnerships with civil society, raise awareness, and promote disarmament and non-proliferation education, especially among youth. Through this education, upcoming generations can deepen their understanding of the security concerns and the risks associated with nuclear weapons detonations, while applying critical thinking. 

We believe in the dynamism and energy of civil society and the younger generation. In concluding, I would like to reiterate the importance of this Third Preparatory Committee and call on the international community to continue meaningful work towards the 2020 Review Conference. Together, let us ensure this Treaty will continue to play a significant role in the next 50 years and beyond. 


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.