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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 May 18 - 24  > Japan’s negative stance toward nuclear disarmament should be called into question
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2016 May 18 - 24 TOP3 [PEACE]
editorial 

Japan’s negative stance toward nuclear disarmament should be called into question

May 20, 2016
Akahata editorial (excerpt)

U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima City is approaching on May 27. Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has said that Obama’s visit will be a major contribution to efforts to create a world free from nuclear weapons. It sounds as if Abe himself looks forward to a nuclear-free world. In reality, the Japanese government in the international political arena fails to fulfil its role as the representative of the only A-bombed country. Tokyo’s irresponsible stance should be called into question.

In Geneva, Switzerland, delegates of around 70 countries since February have been intermittently holding meetings under a UN working group on establishing the legal framework for a world free from nuclear weapons. More than 70% of UN member nations supported the creation of the epoch-making working group in last year’s UN General Assembly meeting. A legal ban on nuclear weapons is one of the major topics in the meetings.

In a working group meeting, survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings underscored the need for a nuclear weapons convention by describing the indescribable horror that they experienced in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Their first-hand accounts greatly impressed the working group members.

The Japanese government, however, in last year’s UNGA abstained from voting for the creation of the working group. Although Japan became a member of the UN group, during the discussions it takes a negative position for a nuclear weapons convention, insisting that a step-by-step approach is essential instead of an outright ban. With the U.S. and other major nuclear weapons states boycotting the talks, the Japanese government suggests that the working group is meaningless because the discussion for nuclear disarmament needs to be held in the presence of the nuclear powers.

Nuclear weapons states are still clinging to the worn-out nuclear deterrence theory and are opposing a legal ban on nuclear weapons. They argue that they will adopt an incremental approach with an apparent intention to maintain their nuclear arsenal forever. The Japanese government should stop acting as a mouthpiece for these countries.

With a majority of non-nuclear weapons states sincerely making efforts to realize a nuclear-free world, Japan turns its back on the international efforts. Japan should be ashamed of its position and change its attitude which is totally inappropriate for the only A-bombed country.

Past related articles:
> Shii issues statement on Obama’s plan to visit Hiroshima [May 11 & 12, 2016]
> Obama’s visit to Hiroshima will be historical only if it leads to departure from nuclear deterrence policy [May 12, 2016]
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