Statement by H.E. Ambassador SHINO Mitsuko, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate “Threats to international peace and security: Risks stemming from violations of the agreements regulating the export of weapons and military equipment”

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April 10, 2023

Thank you for the floor.

I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Nakamitsu for her insightful briefing.

First, let me touch upon the importance of regulations of conventional weapons in general terms.

Japan is deeply concerned about a significant number of civilian casualties resulting from unlawful use of conventional weapons. The illicit trade in and uncontrolled accumulation of small arms and light weapons can fuel instability and terrorism, posing a serious threat to international peace and security.

Japan urges all Member States to effectively and seriously implement international agreements and commitments related to the control and disarmament of conventional weapons.

For example, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is a landmark agreement to regulate international trade in conventional arms. April 2nd marked the 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the ATT. Japan calls upon all Member States that have not yet done so to join the Treaty.

In addition to treaties, UN Security Council resolutions stipulate obligations for Member States. There are growing concerns over reports of Iranian and North Korean weapons being transferred to Russia, in violation of relevant Security Council resolutions. Transfer of arms in violation of Security Council resolutions is illegal and should never be tolerated. The Security Council should support efforts to investigate and clarify these cases to ensure the full implementation of these resolutions.

Japan is also committed to promoting the implementation of the Programme of Action, which was adopted in the UN Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons in 2001, and supporting international cooperation and assistance in this area. As part of this effort, Japan, as a co-sponsor with Colombia and South Africa, has been submitting annual GA resolutions since 2001 and the most recent one was adopted by consensus last December. I thank all Member States in this regard.

Additionally, Japan has been a proactive contributor to the “Saving Lives Entity” trust facility (SALIENT), which now operates in Africa and Latin America and assists Member States in tackling illicit small arms and light weapons.

Japan reiterates its firm commitment to enhancing the effective regulation of conventional arms and combatting their unlawful transfers.

Let me now turn to my second point.

Regarding the alleged concerns about the transfer of defense equipment to Ukraine, we must look at the fundamental cause of the issue: Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which the General Assembly deplored in the strongest terms in its resolution.

Japan reiterates our condemnation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in the strongest terms. Russia’s actions are a clear and flagrant violation of international law and the United Nations Charter.

We underscore Ukraine’s right of self-defense to defend itself against aggression. It is ironic that Russia, which has been hesitant to support the Arms Trade Treaty despite repeated international call, is accusing other countries of violating the Treaty.

The support of the international community to stop aggression is entirely legitimate for the maintenance of international peace and security and for ending the continued violations of human rights and the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. By contrast, no nation should support Russia’s aggression.

Russia should not abuse its position as the President of the Security Council to divert attention away from its acts.

I thank you all for your attention.

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