Statement by H.E. Ambassador YAMAZAKI Kazuyuki, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Briefing to the United Nations Security Council on “the Situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”


(As delivered)
Thank you, Mr. President.
First of all, I also thank the Republic of Korea for holding this meeting, and appreciate those Council members for supporting this meeting. We deeply appreciate Mr. Türk and Ms. Salmón for their informative and insightful briefings, and we deeply appreciate Mr. Kim for sharing his first-hand, heartbreaking, and courageous account of the situation in North Korea. By listening to those briefers’ reports, we can instantly recognize the significance and necessity for this Council to address the situation in North Korea, as the organ responsible for the international peace and security.
Ten years after the Commission of Inquiry (COI) shed light on human rights violations in North Korea, we find grave violations still persist, as emphasized by today's briefers.

This persistence is deeply regrettable, particularly since the majority of this Council urged North Korea to take concrete steps to improve their human rights situation last August, during the first formal Council meeting on this issue in nearly six years.
Mr. President,
As highlighted by the briefers, North Korea’s human rights violations are inextricably linked with its pursuit of its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programmes, as essential resources are diverted to this purpose at the expense of the peoples' welfare, despite their significant unmet needs.    
According to the “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023” published by Food and Agriculture Organization, nearly half of the population is under-nourished in North Korea, a staggering number of 12 million people.

The consequence of all this is an unmistakable increase in the threat to international peace and security.
It would be enough to grasp the gravity of the situation when we consider the fact that the Council has repeatedly convened briefings under the agenda item Non-proliferation/DPRK due to North Korea’s relentless unlawful launches. We most recently convened a briefing on the issue on May 31, following North Korea’s launches on May 27 and 30.    
Another alarming fact is that, just last year, North Korea launched five ICBM-class missiles, which poses a clear and serious challenge not only within the region, but to the international community as a whole.

Furthermore, in this regard, Japan condemns in the strongest possible terms the unlawful transfer of arms from North Korea to Russia for use in attacking Ukraine.
The transfer of these weapons, a clear violation of relevant Security Council resolutions, supports Russia’s war of aggression. We continue to closely monitor what North Korea gains in return.
Against this background, the failure of the renewal of the mandate of the Security Council’s 1718 Committee Panel of Experts due to Russia’s veto would make it easier for North Korea to evade relevant Security Council resolutions. We fear that this would embolden North Korea to continue its unlawful activities with a sense of impunity by further exploiting people there.

The intertwining of human rights violations with international peace and security cannot be more obvious in the case of North Korea. It is imperative to emphasize that addressing this issue is fundamentally central to the mission of this Council.
Mr. President,
I would also like to draw attention to a grave human rights violation perpetrated by North Korea: abductions. Japanese citizens, including a girl as young as 13, were kidnapped by North Korean agents. The act of international abductions infringes on a nation’s sovereignty and jeopardizes the well-being and safety of its citizens.

It has been a long time since the abductions issue occurred. The abductees have remained trapped for almost half a century, while the victims and their families have advanced in age, with many, tragically, having passed away. I thank Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield for touching on her experience meeting with the abductees’ families in Tokyo, today.

Japan is not alone in this suffering. The COI report acknowledged that nationals from the Republic of Korea, China, France, Lebanon, Malaysia, Romania, Singapore and Thailand have also endured this agony.
The urgency of this situation is undeniable. I call upon the international community to unite in a concerted effort to secure the immediate return of all abductees.

Mr. President,
In conclusion, Japan strongly urges North Korea to take tangible measures to address serious human rights violations, cease its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, and fully comply with all relevant resolutions and return to dialogue.
At the same time, this Council must continue to meet under this agenda until North Korea recalibrates its stance on human rights and genuinely commits to fostering international peace and security.
I thank you.