Ichiro Akiyama, a former officer of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force who served in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), spoke on Monday about Japan’s contribution to the work and efforts of the watchdog ahead of the group being awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The Japanese officer said that he is happy with the work he has done with the group and is very much honored to represent the anti-chemical weapons group.
Akiyama, currently the first director of the Inspectorate Division at the OPCW, said, “Japanese personnel have worked together to produce results in their work with the OPCW. I am very happy to be able to attend the ceremony as their representative.” The 64-year-old Akiyama said that a variety of Japanese have worked in the OPCW since it was founded in 1997. They include personnel dispatched from the GSDF and the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry and also inspectors sent from the private sector. “Japan can make international contributions in various fields. It should actively make proposals for contributions in the future by combining human, material and financial resources,” he said in an interview ahead of the Nobel Prize awarding ceremony in Oslo.
“Given many of its duties such as military base inspections are bound by confidentiality, it is an organization that should not come under the spotlight normally,” he said. “But its achievements have finally been recognized, which I believe was helped by the Syrian issue,” he said, alluding to the tension in the Middle East caused by the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Akiyama also emphasized that the abolition of chemical weapons will be achieved by cooperation between members of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Nobel Peace Prize represents “a message to seek international cooperation toward the elimination of chemical weapons,” he said.
[via Global Post]