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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 April 15 - 21  > Japan must work toward a total ban on cluster munitions
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2009 April 15 - 21 [WORLD]
editorial 

Japan must work toward a total ban on cluster munitions

April 19, 2009
Akahata editorial

The Diet will begin discussing the Convention on Cluster Munitions next week.

Eliminate SDF cluster munitions first

The cluster bomb treaty bans most cluster munitions.

Japan must do more than eliminate its own cluster munitions. It has to work to increase international opinion against the possession and use of cluster munitions and press the United States and other cluster bomb possessing countries to support a total ban.

The U.S. Forces in Japan stockpile cluster munitions and carry out exercises for dropping such bombs at U.S. bases in Okinawa. Japan, as a cluster bomb ban treaty member, would be in contravention of the Convention on Cluster Munitions if the government allows U.S. forces to possess such bombs in Japan and to prepare to use them abroad.

Now that U.S. President Barack Obama has enacted a permanent ban on U.S. exports of most cluster bombs with high “dud rates”, the U.S. government should remove their cluster bombs from Japan. The Japanese government should immediately request the United States to act in that direction.

It is also disturbing that Japanese Self-Defense Forces are committed to joint operations with U.S. forces using cluster munitions. The United States has used cluster munitions in its wars of aggression in Vietnam, and Iraq. Being a party to the cluster munitions convention, Japan should review its participation in joint operations with the United States, in which cluster bombs are involved.

The treaty has been drafted at the initiative of coalition member countries. Japan and the United States maneuvered to maintain cluster bombs at a conference of signatories of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Now that Japan has become a party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the government should end all its past moves to maintain cluster bombs and begin to make every effort to rid the world of all cluster bombs.

Ban should be increased to cover all inhumane weapons

The treaty banning cluster bombs, following a treaty banning antipersonnel land mines has landmark significance. In the name of deterrence, the United States and other military powers stick to inhumane weapons such as nuclear weapons, depleted uranium shells, and white phosphorous shells. These inhumane weapons should be completely banned, and war-renouncing Japan must work hard to achieve the ban.
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