Japan's intense cooperation with the CTBTO

A new system for Atmospheric Transport Modelling (ATM) has been installed at the headquarters of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna, Austria. This has been made possible through a voluntary contribution by Japan of around U.S.$ 737,000; see CTBTO press release and press release by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Japanese contribution has covered the procurement of high-performance computing hardware and part of the ATM expansion of the storage network. Speaking at the system's inauguration on 26 November, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said: “This contribution will enable us to zoom further into the details when using ATM.”

The ribbon was cut by Yasushi Noguchi, Director for the Arms Control and Disarmament Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (right), CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo (centre) and Ambassador Toshiro Ozawa, Japan's Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna.

Japan is happy to provide this contribution to increase the resolution of ATM calculations and will continue to support the CTBTO’s work.

Tracking airborne radioactivity

ATM can be used in two ways: either to backtrack the movement of airborne radioactive material after detection by a CTBTO radionuclide monitoring station or to predict the future travel path of the radionuclides. In April 2013, many weeks after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced its third nuclear test on 12 February 2013, the CTBTO detected radioactive noble gases at its radionuclide station in Takasaki, Japan, and used ATM calculations to backtrack the radioactive noble gases. The calculations indicated that the radionuclides were consistent with a release at the location of the event in the DPRK that had been determined by the CTBTO from its seismic data.

The CTBTO's Noriyuki Kushida explained how the new system allows for higher ATM resolutions in space and time.

It is crucial for the work of the CTBTO to be able to determine the origin of radioactivity through precise ATM calculations.

In the case of the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in March 2011, ATM was used to predict the global dispersion of radionuclides; see video. Measurements from the CTBTO’s highly sensitive radionuclide stations in combination with ATM provided first-hand information on the concentration and dispersion of a radioactive cloud and were subsequently used in the studies performed by the scientific community to assess emissions.

As part of the International Monitoring System (IMS), which constantly monitors the globe for evidence of a nuclear explosion, Japan hosts six seismic, one infrasound and two radionuclide stations, in addition to a radionuclide laboratory. The Takasaki radionuclide station is located roughly 200 km from the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant and around 1,000 kilometres from the DPRK nuclear test site. In addition to Japan’s voluntary contributions, the country is also the second largest contributor after the United States in terms of regular contributions.
Japan is a driving force in promoting the CTBT. The CTBT, Hiroshima and Nagasaki share common objectives. The CTBT will be a first step towards making sure that what happened to Hiroshima will never happen again.

Japan’s unwavering support for the CTBTO

During his visit to Japan from 17 to 23 November 2013, the CTBTO's head and Fumio Kishida, the Foreign Minister of Japan, held a meeting in Tokyo where they discussed the CTBTO’s verification regime as well as the DPRK’s nuclear weapons programme. Kishida highlighted his full support for the CTBTO’s activities and underlined Japan’s efforts towards the CTBT’s early entry into force, which he said is essential for a world without nuclear weapons. Moreover, he stressed that Japan will continue its cooperation with the CTBTO’s International Monitoring System in order to detect any nuclear weapons tests as early as possible.
Japan fully supports the activities of the CTBTO under the leadership of the Executive Secretary Zerbo, especially new initiatives such as the Group of Eminent Persons. We fully support the early entry into force of the CTBT and will actively pursue dialogue with Asian and Pacific countries as well as Annex 2 States to sign and ratify the CTBT.

Striving towards a nuclear-weapon-free world

In commemoration of the victims of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, Zerbo laid wreaths at the memorial sites in the two cities and visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. The CTBTO head also listened to the testimonies of the ‘Hibakusha’ - survivors of the bombings - vowing to tell their story wherever he goes and to continue the fight for a world without nuclear weapons.

During his visit, the Executive Secretary and Tomihisa Taue, the Mayor of Nagasaki, discussed the need to prevent the use of nuclear weapons by every means.
The activities of the CTBTO aim at the same objectives as we do in Nagasaki. Let’s continue and deepen our cooperation in order not to experience the disasters of a nuclear bomb again.

Informing the youth about the horrors of nuclear weapons

The CTBTO head also gave lectures at the Universities of Hitotsubashi and Nagasaki and met with the ‘Youth Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons’ - an initiative launched by Foreign Minister Kishida in June 2013 to ensure that the realities of nuclear devastation and aspirations for a world without nuclear weapons are passed on to younger generations. Related News Report by NHK World: