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Japan ready to sign?

Oct. 18, 2013

Japan to sign latest U.N. statement on nuclear weapons abolition



NEW YORK -- A renewed statement from the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly calling for an end to the use of nuclear weapons, which Japan is expected to sign, will include phrases from a previous statement that Japan had objected to on the grounds that it could hinder U.S. nuclear deterrence, a final draft obtained by the Mainichi has shown.

The final draft states, "It is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances." It also mentions "all approaches and efforts towards nuclear disarmament" -- a phrase not included in an earlier statement that Japan had refrained from signing.

The wording of the statement accommodates many countries including Japan, which aims to gradually eliminate nuclear weapons while relying on U.S. nuclear deterrence. It is believed that Japan reversed its policy and decided to sign the statement as changes including alterations to the section mentioning efforts toward nuclear disarmament mean the document does not totally deny nuclear deterrence.

U.N. sources say over 80 countries have expressed their intention to sign the statement, which is due to be announced either on Oct. 18 or 21 by a New Zealand representative who drafted it.

The draft states that nuclear weapons "have deep implications for human survival; for our environment; for socio-economic development; for our economies; and for the health of future generations." It adds that the "consequences of nuclear weapons became evident from the moment of their first use" -- an apparent reference to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

The draft points out that for years, the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons "have not been at the core of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation deliberations." But it says that now, the humanitarian focus is "well established on the global agenda." It says that since the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the issue has been brought up at various international conferences with a trend toward nuclear disarmament.

The proposed statement also says that the only way to prevent nuclear weapons from being used again is through their "total elimination." It adds, "We owe it to future generations" to rid the world of the threat posed by nuclear weapons.

Similar statements have been released three times since a meeting of the Preparatory Committee of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May last year, but Japan has not signed any of them. However, on Oct. 11, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced that Japan would sign the latest declaration.

October 18, 2013(Mainichi Japan)

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