This project focuses on the time period from the conclusion of the 2010 NPT RevCon until the end of 2012. Reference documents are basically open sources, such as speeches, remarks, and working papers delivered at disarmament fora (e.g., NPT Preparatory Committee, UN General Assembly, and Conference on Disarmament) and official documents published by governments and international organizations.
As for the evaluation section, a set of objective evaluation criteria is established by which the respective country’s performance is assessed.
The Research Committee of this project mentioned below recognizes the difficulties, limitations and risk of “scoring” countries’ performances. In the meantime, however, it also considers that an indicative approach is useful to draw attention to nuclear issues so as to prompt debates over priorities and urgency.
The different numerical value within each area (i.e., nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear security) reflects each activity’s importance in that area, which was determined through deliberation by the Research Committee of this project. However, the different overall value given to each of the three areas does not necessarily reflect the relative importance of the area vis-à-vis the other areas. Rather, it mostly relates to the number of items in each area surveyed in this project. Thus, the value assigned to nuclear disarmament (full points 101) does not mean that it is more than twice as important as nuclear non-proliferation (full points 44) or nuclear security (full points 41).
Evaluation of the three areas was made separately because of their different characteristics. As for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, for example, comparison was hard to make between nuclear-weapon/armed states and non-nuclear-weapon states. Thus, they had to be measured separately. Among the weapon-holders and among the non-holders, total scores may make some sense for comparison.
Regarding “the number of nuclear weapons” (in the nuclear disarmament section) and “the amount of fissile material” (in the nuclear security section), the assumption is that the more nuclear weapons or fissile material usable for nuclear weapons a country possesses, the greater the task of reducing them and ensuring their security. The Research Committee recognizes that the “number” or the “amount” are not the sole decisive factors. It is definitely true that other factors—such as implications of missile defense, chemical and biological weapons, or conventional force imbalance—would affect the issues and the process of nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and nuclear security. However, they were not included in our criteria for evaluation because it was difficult to make objective scales of measurement about those factors.
After all, there is no way to mathematically compare the different factors contained in the different areas of disarmament, non-proliferation and nuclear security. Therefore, the evaluation points should be taken as indicative of the performances in general but by no means as an exact representation or precise assessment of different countries’ performances.