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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 July 12 - 18  > Nuclear weapons ban treaty examines Japan’s responsibility as A-bombed nation
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2017 July 12 - 18 [PEACE]

Nuclear weapons ban treaty examines Japan’s responsibility as A-bombed nation

July 12, 2017
“Japan’s stance toward the UN treaty to make nuclear weapons illegal has not changed. I think that Japan should not be inconsistent,” Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio said at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting on July11, clarifying the Japanese government’s position regarding the fact that after the approval of the nuclear weapons ban treaty, Japanese Ambassador to the UN Bessho Koro said that Japan will not sign the treaty.

Japan criticized for taking same position as nuclear weapons states

Foreign Minister Kishida, who was elected from the A-bombed city of Hiroshima, on October 28, 2016 at a press conference said that the Japanese government will actively take part in the UN talks on a treaty banning nuclear weapons and say what must be said as the only A-bombed country.

After that, the U.S. Trump administration advocating nuclear build-up was inaugurated. It pressured U.S. allies to not participate in the UN negotiations, insisting that the move to ban nuclear weapons will adversely affect nuclear deterrence.

Giving in to the U.S. pressure, the Japanese government decided to not attend the UN Conference working on a legal ban of nuclear weapons. When the Conference started in New York City in March this year, Japan’s Disarmament Ambassador Takamizawa Nobushige said that the Conference will deepen rifts in the international community and hamper the realization of a world without nuclear weapons, declaring that Japan will absent itself from the Conference.

Following the adoption of the antinuke UN treaty, along with nuclear weapons states, the Japanese government stated that it will not be a signatory to the treaty. This provoked deep disappointment and criticism from A-bomb survivors (Hibakusha) and citizens inside and outside Japan.

Tanaka Terumi, a Hibakusha, said, “It is a great shame for the Japanese government to blindly submit to the U.S. I have the impression that Japan is more like a dependency to the U.S. than an ally.” French Peace Committee President Roland Gardien condemned the Japanese government for abandoning its responsibility as the government of the A-bombed country and for trying to not offend the powerful nation’s feelings.

On the other hand, he pointed out that the Japanese government will be unable to ignore the fact that an overwhelming majority of UN member nations endorsed the international treaty seeking to eliminate nuclear weapons.

While remaining dismissive of the treaty, Foreign Minister Kishida at the July 11 press conference showed a degree of “understanding” to the agreement. He admitted that the treaty came into existence against the backdrop where non-nuclear weapons states feel growing frustration over the excessively slow progress toward nuclear disarmament and are eager to achieve a rapid and tangible progress in this regard.

A Japanese government official said to Japanese Communist Party delegates to the UN Conference on N-ban treaty, “Now that the treaty was approved, the question is, ‘What should be done next?’”

Increase public pressure to establish government willing to sign the treaty

The nuclear weapons ban treaty allows non-parties to attend the conference of the parties as observers. In addition, it encourages non-parties to be a party.

As a result of serious global efforts to abolish nuclear weapons, 122 countries in the world agreed to adopt the nuclear weapons ban treaty. Under this situation, the Japanese government, as the government of the only A-bombed country in the world, has a responsibility to join the treaty.

The need is to strengthen public movements to work for Japan’s participation in the antinuke international treaty, drastically increase public support for a nuclear weapons-free world, and create a government that is willing to sign the treaty.

Past related articles:
> Success of 2017 antinuke World Conference will give fresh boost to realization of nuclear weapons ban treaty [July 3, 2017]
> Kyoto local assembly demands Japanese government’s contribution towards realization of N-ban treaty [July 1, 2017]
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