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Common Approaches to Strengthen the Non-Proliferation Treaty

B83 nuclear bomb, Photo:

March 9, 2010
By Tetsuro Fukuyama
President Fücks,
President Kume,
President  Abe,
Ambassador Stanzel,
Ladies and gentlemen,

My name is Tetsuro Fukuyama, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs. I am grateful for the opportunity to speak before you today on “Common Approaches to Strengthen the Non-Proliferation Treaty”.

During the visit of the German Foreign Minister Dr Westerwelle to Japan in January, Foreign Minister Okada pointed out in their meeting that there are many issues on which Japan and Germany share their thinking and can therefore collaborate, expressing his desire to build on their meeting to deepen mutual cooperation and take on leadership roles together. Minister Westerwelle responded by saying that the two countries are important partners who are demonstrating their shared global responsibilities based on shared values, and that he looks forward to enhancing the bilateral relationship even further.

The issue of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation is exactly the right topic for such bilateral collaboration. I am truly delighted to see the kind of cooperation affirmed by the two Foreign Ministers already taking concrete shape in the form of this Japanese-German Dialogue on Non-Proliferation, with the participation of experts and representatives from civil society.

The NPT and the actual surrounding international circumstances

Japan has attached high priority to universalizing and enhancing the international regime for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation based on NPT. Japan has been making efforts in each of the three pillars of this treaty, by demonstrating active leadership in advocating nuclear disarmament, engaging itself voluntarily in the enhancement of non-proliferation measures, and serving as a role model for high transparency in our peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

That same NPT regime is facing grave challenges today. The international community is exposed to the risks of clandestine nuclear weapons development disguised as an exercise of the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy, the threat of nuclear terrorism, and continued concerns over development and proliferation of missiles. Amid the anticipation that the peaceful use of nuclear energy will spread all over the world, the need for cooperation in the field of security and non-proliferation is also being advocated.

It is at a time like this that we go into the NPT Review Conference in May. In order to address adequately the challenges that I mentioned earlier, we are decided to work to ensure that this conference will become not a forum of confrontation, but of cooperation between the haves and have-nots, and that we will achieve consensus that is positive in all three pillars of the NPT.

Nuclear Disarmament
The Prague speech by the US President Obama turned a global tide towards nuclear disarmament in a significant manner. As one politician, I myself was largely impressed. Japan wants to play a meaningful role in order to cement this trend. At the UN Security Council Summit in September last year, Prime Minister Hatoyama came out strongly with Japan’s resolve to take the lead in the global pursuit of elimination of nuclear weapons. As part of such efforts, Japan submitted a draft resolution entitled “renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons” to the UN General Assembly in October, and this resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority, with 171 countries voting in favor. This was groundbreaking also in the sense that the US joined us as a co-sponsor of the resolution for the first time. Germany has always supported us ever since 1994 when we first submitted the resolution. This is testimony to the stance that Japan and Germany share towards a “world without nuclear weapons,” and Japan is greatly encouraged by your support.

In operationalizing the resolve of the international community, it is strongly expected that the US and Russia exercise their leadership and continue to reduce nuclear weapons, as they are said to possess over 90% of world’s nuclear warheads. Japan hopes and expects to see an early conclusion of negotiations on a follow-on treaty to START1, which expired last year. And every country that possesses nuclear weapons needs to follow their example. It is essential, in order to advance nuclear disarmament globally, that they take nuclear disarmament measures including reduction of nuclear arsenal at the same time as they pursue higher transparency about their military arsenal.

As an integral component underwriting the NPT regime, an early entry into force of the CTBT will be imperative. Japan urges that all countries required to ratify this treaty for it to take effect will move ahead with ratification promptly, including the US and China. Also, with respect to the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, Japan strongly calls for an early commencement and conclusion of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on that treaty.

As was confirmed in the joint statement issued last month by the foreign ministers of Japan and Australia, Japan intends to pursue a package on practical nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation measures for the NPT review conference. To this end, Japan intends to make efforts in consultation with other partners, and would like to explore collaboration with Germany, a partner that Japan shares policy directions with.
Furthermore, Japan finds worthy of consideration, as practical measures to realize a “world without nuclear weapons,” such ideas as prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states and retaining nuclear weapons solely for the purpose of deterring others from using such weapons. Japan looks forward to deepening discussions with other countries on these issues.

Non-Proliferation and Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy
With regard to non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy, first of all, we need to make tenacious efforts to resolve as early as possible the present challenges of nuclear proliferation that the international community faces, namely the nuclear issue concerning North Korea and Iran. Japan will continue to call on North Korea, in close partnership with other concerned countries, to resume six-party talks at an early time and abandon its nuclear program, just as Japan implements the measures specified in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and those imposed on Japan’s own accord. Japan is also pressing Iran to comply with relevant UN Security Council resolutions and cooperate fully with the IAEA, taking advantage of senior-level interactions.

As an increasing number of countries show their interest in nuclear power generation as a means to address climate change and energy security concerns, the three elements of safeguards, safety and security becomes ever more significant. It is particularly important for us to strengthen the IAEA, improve the efficiency of safeguards and universalize the Additional Protocol. At the same time, we need to recognize the continued threat of nuclear terrorism, and work towards the success of the Nuclear Security Summit organized by the US next month. In this connection, Japan intends to advance regional efforts to enhance nuclear security.

These measures concerning nuclear non-proliferation and security should be understood, particularly by developing countries, not as additional constraints to peaceful use of nuclear energy but rather as its enabler.

Future cooperation between Japan and Germany
After the War, both Japan and Germany have achieved remarkable economic growth while maintaining national security through our alliances with the US. Together consisting G8 as non-nuclear weapon states, our countries may be geographically apart but our circumstances are alike, making us suitable partners for collaboration. I believe that our two countries need to intensify cooperation with each other towards the NPT Review Conference and contribute to tie the current momentum for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation into actual success. Second-track efforts like today’s Dialogue on Non-Proliferation should be highly appreciated for the strong push they give to the government’s efforts. Finally, I offer my sincere wishes for the success of this Dialogue and further development of this kind of interaction between Japan and Germany in the future.

Thank you.

The speech was part of the Japan-Germany Dialogue on Non-Proliferation in Tokyo, Japan. It's an expert conference and public panel discussion organized by the Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation in cooperation with the Center for the Promotion of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (CPDNP) at the Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA).