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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 February 27 - March 4  > Don’t hinder efforts to ban cluster bomb!
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2008 February 27 - March 4 TOP3 [PEACE]
editorial 

Don’t hinder efforts to ban cluster bomb!

February 28, 2008
The Japanese government’s counterproposal is obviously running counter to the international efforts to achieve a total ban on cluster munitions as well as establishing a treaty to achieve this.

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The international cluster bomb conference held on February 18-22 in Wellington, New Zealand, issued a declaration pledging to conclude a treaty banning cluster munitions by the end of this year.

Eighty-two out of 122 participating nations in the Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions signed the Wellington Declaration.

The declaration makes it clear that a prohibition on the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions is essential. A draft Cluster Munitions Convention banning cluster munitions is expected to be adopted at the next conference scheduled for May in Dublin, Ireland.

Pro-cluster munitions countries, including Japan, signed the Wellington Declaration to be qualified to participate in the coming Dublin Conference. But these countries did so in order to pave the way for legalizing cluster munitions in defiance of the international efforts to completely abolish these weapons.

The Japanese government submitted to the Wellington Conference a counterproposal to the draft of the Cluster Munitions Convention. It calls for a “balance of humanitarian concerns and security requirements,” allowing the use of cluster munitions of “higher reliability and accuracy” that have a lower rate of explosion if remaining on the ground as duds. Thus, Japan is approving of an improved version of cluster munitions possessed by such countries as the United States. While calling for a ban on production, development and transfer, it says that the cluster munitions heavily used in the current U.S. invasions, though of lower reliability and accuracy, can be used until improved cluster munitions become available.

The Japanese government’s counterproposal is obviously running counter to the international efforts to achieve a total ban on cluster munitions as well as establishing a treaty to achieve this. Japan’s attitude will inevitably come under fire internationally.

In defending cluster munitions, Japan stresses both security needs and humanitarian concerns. However, these two reasons are incompatible with each other. The cluster bomb is designed to kill people slowly. It’s wrong to argue that it should be made legitimate for humanitarian reasons.

Cluster munitions are being used for invasions as clear from the fact that the United States is using them a lot in Iraq. It is natural that such cruel weapons, causing unacceptable pain and suffering to more than 100,000 people in violation of the International Humanitarian Law, should be abolished. The Japanese government should support the international efforts to prohibit cluster munitions.
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