December 25, 2016
The 71st session of the UN General Assembly on December 23 at its plenary meeting with an overwhelming majority support from member states adopted a resolution to convene a conference to negotiate a Nuclear Weapons Convention in 2017. Along with nuclear weapons states, such as the United States, Japan, the only A-bombed nation, voted against the resolution.
The resolution states that a United Nations conference will be held in 2017 to “negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons (a Nuclear Weapons Convention), leading towards their total elimination”. It also calls on all UN member countries to sit at the negotiating table.
Specifically, the conference discussing the matter with the participation of international organizations and civil society representatives will take place in March and June at the UN Headquarters in New York City. The progress and outcome of the discussions will be reported on in the 72nd UNGA session scheduled for September next year.
Secretary General of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) Tanaka Terumi issued a comment, welcoming the UNGA resolution. He criticized the Japanese government’s ‘No’ vote in defiance of Hibakusha’s demands as extremely disappointing.
He stressed that it is important to further strengthen the signature-collection campaign in support of Hibakusha’s appeal in order to achieve the conclusion of a NWC by pressing nuclear weapons states to take part in the negotiations. He also emphasized the need to speed up efforts to collect signatures to bring pressure to bear on the nuclear powers.
Following the UNGA resolution, a global anti-nuclear network, the Mayors for Peace, on December 24 announced that it e-mailed all UN member nations an open letter calling for their active participation in the talks on a nuclear-weapon-ban treaty.
The open letter points out that nations which objected to the resolution should not neglect “the serious sense of crisis shared by the majority of the international community.”
The Mayors for Peace which represents 7,196 cities in 162 countries, including 1,655 municipalities in Japan, as of December 1, seeks to abolish nuclear weapons through collaboration among cities worldwide.
Past related articles:
> Hibakusha protest against Japanese government’s objection to UN resolution on NWC talks [October 29, 2016]
> Japan votes against UN nuclear weapons-free resolution [October 29, 2016]