2002 Statement



Director of United Nations Policy
Division Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

At the General Assembly Meeting on Item 36:

The Role of Diamonds in Fuelling Conflicts

13 March 2002

Mr. President,

Let me at the outset say that the Government of Japan welcomes the draft resolution, which was just introduced by H.E. Ambassador Kumalo of South Africa. Indeed, this represents the progress achieved in the Kimberley Process during the past year. My Government would like to express its sincere appreciation to the South African Secretariat for its work in facilitating that progress. We also pay tribute to those Governments that hosted the Kimberley Process Meetings in the course of the past year, namely, the Governments of Namibia, Belgium, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, Angola and Botswana.

Since it started with the Technical Forum on Diamonds held in Kimberley, South Africa under that countryfs chairmanship in May 2000, and in accordance with General Assembly resolution 55/56, the Kimberley Process has enjoyed ever greater participation. Japan has been participating actively in the discussions since joining the Process at its meeting in Namibia in February 2001. The Kimberley Process involves not only representatives of governments, but also representatives of regional economic integration organizations and other relevant international organizations, the diamond industry and civil society. At its successive meetings these participants have focused their discussion on the essential elements of an international scheme of certification for rough diamonds with a view to breaking the link between armed conflict and the trade in rough diamonds.

Conflict diamonds are also identified in the gG8 Miyazaki Initiatives for Conflict Preventionh as one of the major issues which must be tackled by the international community. Although Japan is not a major trading country of rough diamonds, my Government has been participating actively in the Kimberley Process discussions as an effective means of conflict prevention.

Mr. President,

The document titled gEssential Elements of an International Scheme of Certification for Rough Diamonds with a View to Breaking the Link between Armed Conflicts and the Trade in Rough Diamondsh was adopted by consensus at the Ministerial Meeting in Botswana last November. Several parts of the document, however, need further consideration. The international scheme was negotiated taking into account the elements described in General Assembly resolution 55/56, to which I referred earlier. These include the recommendations that the envisaged scheme should be effective and pragmatic, should be consistent with international law, should not impede the current legitimate trade in diamonds, should be based primarily on national certification schemes, and should secure the widest possible participation.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of such international scheme, my Government would like to stress in particular that, first, the international scheme should enjoy the widest possible participation and second, it should be in conformity with international law and not impede legitimate trade in rough diamonds. My delegation strongly hopes that the importance of these two points will be recognized in this session of the General Assembly and will be properly reflected in the draft resolution to be adopted. At the same time, my Government would like to call upon those who have not yet joined the Kimberley Process to do so as soon as possible.

The Government of Canada will host the next Kimberley Process Meeting in Ottawa. My Government would like to thank it in advance for hosting the meeting, which will advance the Process another step forward. With the momentum generated at this General Assembly session, we look forward to a constructive discussion at Ottawa and hope that it will lead to the early launch of the envisaged international certification scheme.

Thank you very much.