135 Cablegram from Mission to the United Nations to Department of External Affairs

New York, 10 May 1968

UN 782. Priority

Non-Proliferation Treaty

Following are excerpts from the statement made in the First Committee today 10th May by Japanese Ambassador, Tsuruoka.

[matter omitted]

The Japanese Government subscribes to the spirit of a treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. It also notes that substantial improvements have been made in the present draft over previous ones. However, there are still several points with regard to the draft treaty which, the Japanese Government believes, require the most thorough consideration ...

Several aspects of the problem of acceptable balance should be considered. I have in mind, specifically, the following questions:

  1. The question of the security of states;
  2. The question of nuclear disarmament; and
  3. The question of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

It may be said that the draft text sets the stage, so to speak, but it does not by itself provide, with regard to the questions I have just mentioned, what we would consider an equitable balance of responsibilities and obligations as between the nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states.

Permit me to take up, first, the question of the security of states.

Under the draft treaty the nuclear weapon states will be allowed to retain and continue to manufacture nuclear weapons. On the other hand, the non nuclear weapon states will assume the obligation not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons. They are being asked to do so at least for a period of twenty-five years, a very long period indeed.

This is a very serious matter for the non nuclear weapon states, to which, we hope, due attention will be paid by the nuclear weapon states. It is all the more serious in view of the fact that we dare not be optimistic, much less sure that all five of the nuclear weapon states will adhere to the proposed treaty, although we certainly pray that they will. Furthermore, there is no way of telling how many of the non nuclear weapon states will adhere to the treaty, particularly those with a nuclear weapon capability.

It is essential that the nuclear weapon states should assume the obligation of assuring the security of non nuclear weapon states which subscribe to the treaty. Measures are required to protect from nuclear aggression, or the threat of such aggression, those non nuclear weapon states which renounce the right to defend themselves by nuclear armament. The draft Security Council resolution1 proposed by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States is a step in this direction to which we attach considerable significance from the political point of view, but it cannot be considered that this measure will altogether eliminate the fears of non nuclear weapon states regarding their security problems.

I should like next to dwell upon the second question-the overriding importance of nuclear disarmament.

[matter omitted]

In order to minimize adverse effects on the efficient and economical functioning of nuclear industries, safeguards should be simplified and mechanized as much as practicable. I feel I can speak on behalf of all non nuclear weapon states in stressing the need for making efforts towards the realization of this objective through the International Atomic Energy Agency.

I have one further point to add on the question of safeguards. When arrangements are concluded between the non nuclear weapon states and the IAEA, pursuant to the treaty, it is the understanding of the Japanese Government that the peaceful nuclear activities of all non nuclear weapon states party to the treaty, including those which are at present under a regional safeguards system, will be subject to international safeguards of identical standards.

An adequate supply of nuclear materials is, of course, an essential requirement for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. There is really no need to say that the non nuclear weapon states, which undertake not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, should not thereby be placed in a less advantageous position regarding access to such materials. The Japanese Government deems it essential, therefore, that when all nuclear materials under the control of non nuclear weapon states are placed under IAEA safeguards, the international flow of such materials should be further liberalized. Thus life would be given to the intention of the treaty to promote peaceful nuclear activities through international cooperation.

Freedom of research and development are also essential in order to advance the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and it is clear to us that the treaty should never be interpreted or applied in such a way as to hamper or inhibit research and development in this field. The problem of nuclear explosive devices is a particularly important one in the field of research and development in this field.

We accept the thesis that, at the present stage of nuclear knowledge, it is virtually impossible to distinguish between nuclear explosive devices for peaceful purposes and nuclear weapons. However, if and when the advance of nuclear knowledge makes such a distinction possible, then it is only logical to believe that the restrictions concerning nuclear explosive devices contained in the draft treaty will no longer be applicable.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Government interprets nothing in the draft treaty as restricting in any way freedom of research regarding the peaceful application of nuclear explosive devices. Furthermore, we understand that nuclear explosive devices are those designed to release, in microseconds, a large amount of nuclear energy accompanied by shock waves. Accordingly, such devices as fast critical assemblies, reactor excursion experiment facilities, and thermonuclear fusion reactors, which are not designed to produce energy in an uncontrolled manner, would not come under the prohibitions of the draft treaty.

[matter omitted]

[NAA: A1838, 680/10/2 part 5]