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Not to be used "under any circumstances"

 October 12, 2013


Draft U.N. statement says nukes not to be used 'under any circumstances'



NEW YORK (Kyodo) -- A draft of a joint statement on nuclear disarmament that Japan has decided to join in crafting along with other countries for release at the United Nations says nuclear arsenals should never be used again "under any circumstances" in the interest of humanity's survival.

The draft, obtained by Kyodo News, also says the inhuman nature of atomic weapons "became evident from the moment of their first use," apparently alluding to Hiroshima, the first city devastated by a nuclear explosion in history.

Similar U.N. statements were issued three times in the past. But Japan did not endorse them on the grounds that a reference that nukes should not be used "under any circumstances" would contradict Japan's policy of relying on the U.S. "nuclear umbrella."

In a shift of position, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday announced that Tokyo would endorse the joint statement.

A group of countries are currently fine-tuning the wording of the document expected to be unveiled Thursday or later, diplomats said.

The draft statement says nuclear weapons use would cause devastating consequences with "deep implications for human survival; for our environment; for socio-economic development; for our economies; and for the health of future generations."

Noting the uncontainable catastrophic effects of a nuclear weapon detonation, by design or accident, the statement says, "It is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances."

It has also been speculated that Japan did not endorse past statements because they did not conform to the country's policy of seeking the elimination of nuclear weapons in a phased manner.

The upcoming statement, however, mentions "all approaches and efforts towards nuclear disarmament," allowing a broader range of countries to support it.

The past documents also had cited "outlawing" nuclear weapons, an expression rejected by Japan but the word "outlaw" was eliminated in the last statement issued in Geneva in April.

The Geneva statement noted the application of international humanitarian law to the use of nuclear weapons. This was not included in the draft statement, weakening the advocacy of a ban on nuclear weapons through international law.

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