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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 17 - 23  > ICAN chief and parliamentarians discuss issue of abolition of nuclear weapons
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2018 January 17 - 23 [POLITICS]

ICAN chief and parliamentarians discuss issue of abolition of nuclear weapons

January 17, 2018

The executive director of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Beatrice Fihn and lawmakers of ruling and opposition parties including the Japanese Communist Party on January 16 took part in a forum held in the Diet building under the theme, “The UN nuclear weapons ban treaty and Japan’s role”.

The forum was hosted by the Japan NGO Network for Nuclear Weapons Abolition. Anti-nuke NGO members and Hibakusha also participated in the event.

Fihn called for the signing and ratification of the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons by the Japanese government. She pointed out that the nuclear deterrence theory is a myth and that nuclear arms will not bring about peace and stability. Fihn stressed that the world public opinion demands toward a criminalization of such weapons.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Sato Masahisa spoke on behalf of the Japanese government. He said that the Japanese government shares the goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons with ICAN and will work as a “bridge” between countries having different opinions. However, using the North Korea crisis as a pretext, Sato asserted that maintaining reliance on the U.S. nuclear deterrence is necessary and that Japan cannot sign the treaty.

JCP Chair Shii Kazuo congratulated ICAN on its winning of the Nobel Peace Prize. He pointed out that the UN anti-nuke treaty is aimed at eliminating nuclear weapons by putting a legal ban on them. Shii described this as “the most realistic way to eradicate nuclear weapons”. He added that the JCP will work to have the treaty take effect as soon as possible by increasing public awareness of the UN accord both inside and outside Japan through the Hibakusha-led international signature collection campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Shii refuted the Japanese government’s argument regarding the U.S. nuclear deterrence and North Korea’s nuclear development program, which the government cited to justify its refusal to sign onto the UN treaty.

Shii stated that the nuclear deterrence theory is an idea that in the event of emergency, the use of nuclear weapons can be allowed, even though it would cause an inhumane and tragic consequence similar to ones in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He said that the government of Japan, the only country that experienced A-bomb attacks, should not support such an idea which promotes the use of nuclear weapons.

As for the North Korea issue, Shii said that the nuclear weapons ban treaty will place international pressure on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear development program. He said, “The N-ban treaty is the most radical and realistic way for the ultimate solution to the North Korea issue. In order to pursue this path, the Japanese government should take action to obtain a consensus among the general public and political parties.”

In addition, Shii said that if the Japanese government seeks to act as a “bridge” between countries, it should listen to and hold talks with citizens and countries that supported for the adoption of the UN treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.
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