General Debate Speech by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio at the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

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August 1, 2022

  1. Introduction

Your Excellency Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

Today I came to this Review Conference with a strong sense of urgency.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs, I attended the 2015 Review Conference which ended without reaching a consensus. Since then, the division within the international community has only grown. In particular, the threat to use nuclear weapons by Russia in its aggression against Ukraine has contributed to global concern that another catastrophe through the use of nuclear weapons is a real possibility.

I can only admit that the road to a world without nuclear weapons has become even more difficult.

  1. Reflections on the NPT Review Conference

However, giving up is not an option.

As Prime Minister of Hiroshima, I believe that we must take all realistic steps towards a world without nuclear weapons, step by step, however difficult the path.

The starting point of this enterprise is the NPT. The NPT has served as the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime in achieving international peace and security.

Maintaining and strengthening the NPT regime is in the interests of the entire international community. Let us join forces to achieve a significant outcome at this conference. With all concerned delegates here today, Japan is determined to firmly uphold the NPT as a guardian.

  1. Roadmap that will take us from “reality” to “ideal”

Mister President,

As a first step on a realistic roadmap, which would take us from the “reality” we face in the difficult security environment to the ideal of a world without nuclear weapons, we will work on the Hiroshima Action Plan” which is anchored in the following five actions, while simultaneously striving to reduce nuclear risks.

As a first action, I call for a common recognition of the importance of maintaining the record of non-use of nuclear weapons. We should never tolerate the threat of the use of nuclear weapons, such as that made recently by Russia, let alone the use of nuclear weapons. We must ensure that Nagasaki remains the last place to be atomic bombed.

The second action is to improve transparency. Transparency is the foundation of all nuclear disarmament measures. I call on nuclear-weapon States to increase the transparency of their nuclear forces. In particular, I call on all nuclear-weapon States to disclose information on the status of fissile material production. This is an important step to accelerate the launch of negotiations on a fissile material treaty.

The third action is to maintain the downward trend in the global nuclear stock. Although their numbers have drastically decreased since the peak of the Cold War, there are still more than ten thousand nuclear weapons in the world. Maintaining this downward trend is extremely important in moving towards a world without nuclear weapons.

To achieve this, I call on all nuclear-weapon States to engage responsibly. In this spirit, Japan supports the dialogue between the United States and Russia for further reduction and encourages the United States and China to engage in bilateral dialogue on nuclear arms control and disarmament.

We must breathe new life into the discussions on the CTBT and on an FMCT. In order to build momentum to facilitate the entry into force of the CTBT, I will convene a meeting of Friends of the CTBT at the leadership level during the UN General Assembly in September. I reiterate our call for the immediate start of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.

The fourth action is to ensure nuclear non-proliferation and to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy on this basis. Although there are concerns about the possibility of another nuclear test, Japan will address North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues in coordination with the international community.

The return to compliance with the Iranian nuclear agreement also remains to be achieved. Japan will proactively contribute to facilitating the dialogue. Peaceful uses of nuclear energy must go hand in hand with nuclear safety. Recent attacks on nuclear facilities by Russia must not be tolerated. Based on the lessons learned from the 2011 accident, Japan will continue to rebuild the affected areas and address various challenges related to the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant. In close cooperation with the international community, including the IAEA, Japan will continue its efforts in a transparent manner, in accordance with national and international safety standards.

For the fifth action, Japan will promote an accurate understanding of the realities of the use of nuclear weapons by encouraging visits to Hiroshima and Nagasaki by international leaders and others.

In this regard, I welcome the visit of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Hiroshima on 6 August.

Japan will contribute ten million dollars to the United Nations to set up a “Youth Leader Fund for a world without nuclear weapons”. By inviting future leaders to Japan and providing them with the opportunity to learn first-hand the realities of the use of nuclear weapons, it will create a global network among young people in support of the elimination of nuclear weapons.

  1. Conclusion

In order to create global momentum towards a world without nuclear weapons, I have decided to hold the first meeting of the new “International Group of Eminent Persons” on November 23 in Hiroshima, which will benefit from the participation of former political and current leaders of the world. .

Mister President,

In 2023, Japan will host the G7 summit in Hiroshima. I intend to demonstrate our firm commitment since Hiroshima never to repeat the catastrophe of the atomic bombings.

Today I folded a paper crane and brought it here. SASAKI Sadako, the girl whose image served as the model for the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima’s Peace Park, kept folding paper cranes, wishing to live. Today, paper cranes have come to symbolize global prayers for peace and a world without nuclear weapons.

I will take steps towards a world without nuclear weapons with all people who share the common aspiration throughout the world.

Thanks.


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