to accept the IAEA comprehensive safeguards.
In this connection, we should note with satisfaction that the Agency adopted the Additional Model Protocol to the safeguards agreement in May 1997. This is an important step forward in our efforts to strengthen the existing safeguards.
Japan, for its part, signed its Additional Protocol last December and it is now being submitted to the Diet for conclusion.
My delegation thinks that its universal implementation will be of great value to the objectives of the NPT, and therefore urges all the states to adhere to the Additional Protocol as early as possible.
As has already been pointed out, the current safeguard measures should be integrated with those to be carried out under the Additional Protocols. In this context, we wish to encourage the work being done by the Agency in this regard, and hope that the work will be carried out as expeditiously as possible.
2. Second, Japan highly appreciates the role played by nuclear-related export control regime such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group NSG) and the Zangger Committee in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Japanese Mission in Vienna takes pride in facilitating the Group's activities as Point of Contact of the NSG. While we encourage non-NSG countries to adhere to the NSG Guidelines, we will continue to work hard to promote the transparency of the NSG through dialogue with non-member countries. The recent seminar held in New York in April this year, and the other seminar held in Vienna in October 1997 were examples of such efforts.
Japan is also undertaking various outreach programmes particularly with countries in Asia and the Pacific, and the newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union, in order to promote the understanding of the importance of export controls.
3. Third, we would like to draw attention of the Preparatory Committee to the issue of illicit trafficking in nuclear materials. While no actual cases have been detected in recent years, my delegation believes that the illicit trafficking of nuclear materials, should it occur, could seriously affect the global security environment.
We are therefore keen to keep the international community engaged in this matter. It is for this reason that Japan supports and contributes to the active undertakings of the IAEA and GS countries to combat such trafficking, and has assisted in the establishment of nuclear material accountancy and control systems in the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union.
4. Fourth, my delegation would like to reiterate the importance of improving the transparency related to the nuclear materials derived from the dismantling of nuclear weapons. We should consider the full utilization of knowledge and experience acquired by the IABA to ensure that those materials are not used again for military purposes.
5. Lastly, we would like to draw the attention of the Preparatory Committee to the issue of suspected nuclear weapons development in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. While we welcome the recent report that the DPRK has agreed to allow a US team to visit the suspected nuclear underground facility in Kumchang-ri, a lot remains to be done to shed our doubts about the DPRK's intentions.
While we commend the IAEA on its efforts to monitor the freeze of specified facilities in the DPRK, it is regrettable that there continues to be non-compliance in important aspects of the Safeguards Agreement between the DPRK and the IAEA. The Safeguards Agreement remains in force and binding, and its compliance constitutes a fundamental responsibility of a State Party to the NPT. We call on the DPRK to cooperate fully in the implementation of the Safeguards Agreement.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.