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U.N. panel backs starting negotiations to ban nuclear weapons via The Japan Times

A U.N. working group on nuclear disarmament on Friday adopted a report recommending to the General Assembly that negotiations to outlaw nuclear weapons begin in 2017.

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The report includes opinions from Japan and NATO member nations that argue for a gradual approach to multilateral nuclear disarmament, saying there is a camp that opposes starting the negotiations under current conditions, although they support nuclear abolition in view of global security.

Japan has maintained that the stage is not yet set for such talks, citing threats from North Korea. It proposed instead making efforts at implementing a treaty for a comprehensive ban on nuclear tests or starting negotiations on an agreement to ban the further production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons at an early date.

Originally, the report was to be adopted by consensus. In Friday’s discussions, however, Australia called for putting it to a vote on behalf of a group of 14 nations that oppose a nuclear weapons convention. The other nations included South Korea, Poland and Turkey.

As a result, the document was endorsed with 68 nations in favor and 22 objecting. Japan, Switzerland and 11 other countries abstained from voting.

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