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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty Statement, 1999

Statement from the Japanese Delegation

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

The Conference on Disarmament started its work on an FMCT last year, honoring the decision of the NPT States Parties, embodied in the Principles and Objectives adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.

Nevertheless, the CD seems to keep stumbling on this issue, making only halting progress.

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The enthusiasm for an FMCT expressed by many delegations, including my own at the CD, has not succeeded in maintaining momentum so far this year. This is so despite the fact that no delegation has opposed the re-establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee. I wonder why?

An FMCT is bound to be of a very technical nature, understood only by experts. Its impact in terms of reducing nuclear arsenals will be neither direct nor apparent This treaty is by no means an eye-catcher with strong public appeal.

We cannot compromise, however, on its technical nature for the sake of popularity or public appeal. I, for one, am among those who understand the significance of the treaty but are not comfortable with its technical jargon, and I am not thrilled at the prospect of engaging negotiations on such a treaty.

However, the significance of the treaty is not limited to what is provided for in its text, but should be understood as a step to be followed by further steps toward our shared goal of eliminating nuclear weapons.

Such significance of the treaty will become much more clearly understood if we could outline possible future steps beyond an FMCT toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. This is an additional reason why we need to start multilateral discussions on possible future steps. A road map of the future multilateral nuclear disarmament will in turn bring nuclear disarmament back on track in general and also to facilitate the FMCT negotiations in particular.

Mr. Chairman,

Neither this PrepCom nor, for the matter, the 2000 Review Conference is the place for the FMCT negotiations. Therefore, I shall limit myself to simply laying down some principles which my Government believes are fundamental to the FMCT negotiations and also relevant to the NPT.

First of all is the principle of "universality. " In order for the international community to fully appreciate the value of the treaty, it needs to be universally adhered to, especially by all States that are capable of producing nuclear weapons.

The second principle is "non-discrimination." The treaty must not create a regime which introduces distinctions between the nuclear weapon states and the other states in terms of rights and obligations under the treaty. In addition, if the FMCT introduces safeguard mechanisms that fall short of the safeguards actually applied to non-nuclear weapon states under the NPT, it is likely to create differences among States Parties to the FMCT in terms of the application of safeguard measures. One of these differences might exist in the applications of verification measures to the same type of facilities, depending on whether or not they are situated in states where safeguards under the NPT are already in place. In any case, this problem must be addressed in the FMCT negotiations or possibly after they are concluded.

The third principle is "cost-effectiveness." The cost of verification under the FMCT must be commensurate with our realistic expectations as to the effectiveness of the FMCT. In this respect, it is also important to fully utilize the accumulated knowledge and expertise of the IAEA. On the other hand, we should not forget the effective implementation of the objectives of the treaty, especially with respect to the verification measures. In this regard, the scope of the facilities to be covered and the problem of fissile materials for the purpose of military non-explosive use deserve our careful consideration.

Fourth is the principle of "not placing restrictions on the peaceful use of nuclear energy." The FMCT should in no way affect the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Fifth is the principle that "the issue of existing stocks must be dealt with." The importance of this issue in the context of nuclear disarmament cannot be overlooked. But, in the view of my delegation, it does not seem realistic to attempt to find a comprehensive solution in the upcoming FMCT negotiations. Therefore, we should explore the possibility of dealing with existing stocks in either parallel discussions or in discussions following the FMCT negotiations.

Mr. Chairman,

An FMCT should be meaningful in terms of both nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. Setting excessively ambitious goals for the negotiations may complicate the matter and could result in prolonging them unduly. Likewise, being content with a minimalist approach in the negotiations will not help us attain our objectives. Hence, we should aim for a treaty that will be meaningful in itself and at the same time prepare the ground for advancing its objectives further.

In view of the technical and political complexities involved, it is likely that the FMCT negotiations will continue for a few years before a treaty is concluded. Therefore, it would be most welcome if, as an interim measure, the nuclear weapon States collectively declared a moratorium on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. I am sure that such a voluntary measure will create a favorable atmosphere for the negotiations.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.