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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 44, March 2000

US-Japan Non-Proliferation Commission

"Joint press statement issued by Norio Hattori, Japanese Foreign Ministry Director General for Arms Control and Scientific Affairs, and John Holum, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security", March 8, 2000.

"Today is an historic occasion. The governments of the United States and Japan have decided to intensify and expand their diplomatic and technical cooperation to achieve goals they both value highly:

  1. Strengthening the international regime to halt the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction;
  2. Ending the testing of nuclear weapons for all time by putting into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty;
  3. Working together to prevent an arms race that would inevitably lead to instability and greater tension in the international community;
  4. Negotiating protocols to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention to protect all people from the scourge of biological weapons; and
  5. Combining efforts in the Conference on Disarmament to initiate negotiations on a critical treaty to halt the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
To these ends, we are announcing here today the formation of a US-Japan Commission on Arms Control, Disarmament, Nonproliferation and Verification. The Commission will meet every six months to review, discuss and implement our joint goals for strengthening the international arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation regime. To further mutual understanding, the Commission will also encourage non-governmental experts in both countries to undertake enhanced collaboration efforts in pursuit of the Commission's important goals.

As a first step towards closer technical cooperation, the Commission has established a Technology Cooperation Working Group. The use of technology to verify arms control and nonproliferation treaties and agreements is critical. It cuts across national and international security concerns. The activities of the new US-Japan Technology Cooperation Working Group will leverage the joint expertise and funding of the US and Japan to speed progress on important verification issues.

Last week, in Tokyo, this experts group met to discuss initial joint projects. Focusing on measures that enhance the effectiveness of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) verification regime, the Technology Cooperation Working Group developed a concrete plan for proceeding with three projects to improve the effectiveness of the CTBT's International Monitoring System's seismic network. These projects will specifically address:

  1. Methods of seismic location calibration using chemical explosions
  2. Developing earthquake ground truth data
  3. Promoting seismic transparency
The experts in the Technology Cooperation Working Group expect to complete detailed work plans by mid-April so that funding sources and work schedules can be developed for joint project implementation.

The terms of reference of the new Commission read as follows:

Japan and the United States recognize the importance of maintaining and strengthening the international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Continuing bilateral talks provide a firm basis for cooperation in these areas.

In this connection, the two countries have established 'the US-Japan Commission on Arms Control, Disarmament, Nonproliferation and Verification' to hold periodic and intensive discussions on the wide range of diplomatic and technical activities in this field. The Commission will augment and provide a context for existing bilateral discussions. Strengthening the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) regime and bringing about the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-ban Treaty are the immediate priority items on the Commission's agenda. In the near term, the Commission will focus on efforts to ensure that the 2000 NPT Review Conference reinforces the continued important role of the NPT to global security.

As part of the Commission's activities, Japanese and American experts will explore possible measures to enhance the effectiveness of the verification system as provided in the CTBT."

Source: Text - US-Japan press statement on Non-Proliferation Commission, US State Department (Office of International Information Programs), March 9.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.

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