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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Japanese Statement, May 12, 1999

Statement from H.E. Mr. Akira Hayashi

12 MAY 1999

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

I have already presented some thoughts of my delegation on nuclear disarmament, mainly in the context of our discussion on the expected products of the 2000 Review Conference. Today I would like to comment on the issue in greater detail.

Mr. Chairman,

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The promotion of worldwide nuclear disarmament is a major pillar of my Government's foreign policy. It enjoys the unanimous support of the Japanese people and is welcomed by peoples throughout the world.

Japan's signing and ratification of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty was a clear expression of its disarmament policy. In 1970, on the occasion of the signing of the NPT, my Government affirmed its conviction that the Treaty would serve as a first step toward nuclear disarmament. It further stated that although the Treaty would permit only the present nuclear-weapon States to possess nuclear weapons, "this discrimination should ultimately be made to disappear through the elimination of nuclear weapons by all the nuclear-weapon States from their national arsenals." This remains the position of Japan.

Mr. Chairman,

My Government considers that concrete and realistic nuclear disarmament measures should be steadily taken with a view to creating a world free of nuclear weapons. It has been making utmost efforts toward the realization of this goal. As stipulated in Article VI of the NPT, it is the obligation of the nuclear weapon States Parties to engage faithfully in nuclear disarmament efforts. The degree to which that obligation has been met must be a focus of the overall review of the implementation of the Treaty.

Mr. Chairman,

At the time the NPT was indefinitely extended at the Review and Extension Conference in 1995, the review process was strengthened with the adoption of the Principles and Objectives. The significance of the strengthened review process should be precisely understood by the NPT Member States. As I pointed out in my earlier intervention, the Principles and Objectives will facilitate a more objective and smoother review process by providing a yardstick for measuring the implementation of the NPT. Chief among the tasks identified in the Principles and Objectives was nuclear disarmament. Unless the tasks are thoroughly addressed, the NPT could lose its credibility, and the consequences would be grave indeed.

Mr. Chairman,

There has been little significant progress in nuclear disarmament since 1995. There are stalemates at various fronts. The CTBT negotiations have concluded, but the prospects for the treaty's entering into force are less than bright. Among the 44 states which must ratify or accede to the Treaty before it enters into force, only 17 states have done so. Three of those states have not even signed it. And among the five nuclear weapons States, three have not ratified it.

My Government, for its part, has been engaged in extensive bilateral dialogues for the last two years with a view to promoting the entry into force of the treaty and the convening of the Article 14 Conference.

At the Conference on Disarmament last year, an agreement was reached to establish an Ad-hoc Committee to negotiate an FMCT. It is thus all the more regrettable that the first part of this year's CD session has failed to even agree on a programme of work that would include the reestablishment of the MIC.

As for the nuclear disarmament efforts by nuclear-weapon states, the START process has been stalled for some time now, with no prospect seen for entry into force of the START II Agreement or for the commencement of the START Ill process.

And in the CD, the discussion on nuclear disarmament has not yet gotten underway, despite the overwhelming support of non-nuclear weapon states for a mechanism of some kind for that purpose.

These stalemates are a breeding ground for frustration among the states, particularly among non-nuclear weapon states. Because nuclear disarmament efforts by the nuclear weapons states are not immune to national political considerations or international events, it is necessary that non-nuclear weapon states demonstrate a degree of patience. At the same time, however, progress m nuclear disarmament is central to the deal struck between the five nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states and must not be held hostage to external events. Moreover, it is fundamental to the peace and stability of the world. The political will of the nuclear weapons states to pursue nuclear disarmament and to honor their obligations under the NPT must remain resolute, regardless whether the conditions are favorable or not.

Mr. Chairman,

A number of countries are making efforts to break the impasse. Last year Japan, for one, submitted a new draft resolution on nuclear disarmament at the UNGA in an attempt to find a middle ground and bridge the gap between the nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states. It did so with the 2000 Review Conference in mind. It was our hope that the action proposed in the resolution, namely multilateral discussions on possible future steps on nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, would pave the way for the preparation of a new set of Principles and Objectives to be adopted at the Conference, and help to bring nuclear disarmament back on track. The GA resolution also called for other actions, including:

(1) the early signature and ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty by all States with a view to its early entry into force, and cessation of nuclear tests pending its entry into force;

(2) the early conclusion of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a nondiscriminatory multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, on the basis of the report of the Special Coordinator and the mandate contained therein;

(3) the early entry into force of the Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II) and the early commencement and conclusion of negotiations for START III by the Russian Federation and the United States of America; and

(4) further efforts by the five nuclear-weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally and through their negotiations.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation proposes to include these elements in the new Principles and Objectives, and believes it would be meaningful to also include practical nuclear disarmament measures such as (a) assistance for the dismantlement of nuclear weapons, (1,) the disposition and management of resultant fissile materials, and (c) de-alerting and de-targeting.

ft would also be useful to consider proposals and suggestions by various delegations for inclusion in the new Principles and Objectives. In this regard, my delegation notes with appreciation the very useful working papers presented by Canada and South Africa, and hope that they as well as our own proposals will be adequately discussed both at this PrepCom and at the 2000 Review Conference.

Mr. Chairman,

In my earlier intervention, I stressed the need for the 2000 Review Conference and this PrepCom to confront the challenge presented by the nuclear tests in South Asia in order to ensure that the NPT remains credible.

In emphasizing the particular significance of the 2000 Review Conference, I also pointed out that, despite being adhered to by 187 countries, the NPT regime has never been able to claim total universality. That weakness was demonstrated in the starkest possible manner by the tests conducted last year.

It was certainly not my intention to suggest that the tests per se weakened the NPT, but simply that they demonstrated the inherent weakness of the regime. Therefore, we must continue our efforts to achieve total universality of the NPT regime. Indeed, I believe the way in which we respond to the tests could in fact seriously weaken the NPT regime. The time of considering whether we should "condemn" or "deplore" the tests is over. What is now required is that we join together to address the situation thus created in a unified and effective manner. It is particularly important that we make it abundantly clear that the demonstration of nuclear weapons capability will not bring even a hint of a reward or imply status as a nuclear weapons state. As a matter of fact, under the NPT, such status is of a transitory nature even for the five nuclear weapons states. I wish to urge all the NPT States Parties to engage in dialogue with India and Pakistan and to strengthen their resolve to improve the international security environment.

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to point out that the tests by India and Pakistan are not the only challenges confronting us. The international community continues to be concerned with the nuclear weapons programme of Iraq and the suspected nuclear weapons programme of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Because these countries are States Parties to the NPT, their activities constitute a particularly grave problem of non-compliance, and thus demand our close attention and effective response.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.