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Japan and Kazahstan striving for non proliferation and disarmament

November 8, 2016

Japan, Kazakhstan leaders vow unity on nuclear disarmament




TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev affirmed in Tokyo Monday their mutual cooperation in striving for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, sharing the goal of realizing a world free of nuclear arms.

Nazarbayev's fourth visit to Japan comes 25 years after the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, where the Soviet Union carried out hundreds of tests over several decades.

"I want to work hand-in-hand with the people of Japan, who have experienced the horrors of nuclear weapons, to create a world without them," Nazarbayev told a joint press conference following the meeting.

"I highly value the close coordination between our countries on the international stage in the fields of the United Nations and on (nuclear) disarmament and nonproliferation," Abe said.

Abe's overtures about nuclear disarmament came after Japan voted against a draft United Nations resolution passed last month urging the start of negotiations in 2017 to outlaw nuclear weapons. The Japanese government cited a lack of specific measures to ensure cooperation between nuclear and non-nuclear powers.

The United States, which maintains a nuclear deterrent, had urged its allies to oppose the resolution.

Abe and Nazarbayev released a joint statement affirming their countries' strategic partnership and cooperation on issues facing the international community, eyeing Kazakhstan's nonpermanent membership on the U.N. Security Council beginning next year.

"The joint statement serves as a milestone for our further cooperation on issues important to Japan, including the investment environment and the promotion of Japanese companies' advance into Kazakhstan, maritime security issues and (addressing the actions of) North Korea," Abe said at the press conference.

In the statement, the leaders urged North Korea to refrain from further provocative acts including testing nuclear devices or ballistic missile launches, citing U.N. resolutions prohibiting these acts.

Both leaders noted that next year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between their nations.

"Japan places high importance on its relations with Kazakhstan, which is at the center of Eurasia and possesses abundant energy resources," Abe said at the press conference.

"Kazakhstan is Japan's top trading partner in Central Asia...but trade remains at a level that does not fully utilize our potential," Nazarbayev said.

The Kazakh leader expressed his hope for further economic and trade cooperation in the areas of high-tech manufacturing, agriculture, nuclear power, automobile manufacturing and steelmaking.

Nazarbayev, 76, is scheduled to make a speech in the House of Councillors on Tuesday, according to the upper house secretariat, becoming the first Central Asian leader to do so.

Before ending his four-day trip on Wednesday, he will visit Hiroshima to pay his respects at a memorial to those killed in the 1945 atomic bombing of the western Japan city in World War II.


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