Pressure Mounts on Japan to Join the Nuclear Ban Treaty via InDepthNews

TOKYO (IDN) – Japan is coming under pressure from within to sign and ratify the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty, which acknowledges the “unacceptable suffering” of the hibakusha – survivors of hitherto the first ever atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

122 member nations of the United Nations adopted what is formally known as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in July 2017.

Aging survivors – 81.41 on an average as of March 2017 – have deplored the Japanese government’s decision to stay out of the TPNW for the reason that joining the Treaty could “result in the distance between nuclear weapons and non-nuclear weapons states being further widened.”

The remark made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of atomic bombings at a news conference in Hiroshima angered 78-year-old Hiroshima hibakusha Hiroshi Harada, former head of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

“If the Japanese government isn’t going to do anything, I don’t want (Abe) to keep describing Japan in his speeches as ‘the only country to have sustained atomic bombings in wartime,'” Harada was reported saying. “If you’re going to tout that fact, you need to follow it up with the appropriate action.”


It was against the backdrop of grave differences between the nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states on the one hand and among the non-nuclear-weapon states on the other in regard to the best way to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons that the then Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced the establishment of a Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament in his statement at the First PrepCom of the 2020 NPT Review Conference in May 2017 in Vienna.

The Group comprising 16 experts – 6 Japanese including the chairperson, and 10 foreign – has meanwhile tabled a set of 25 wide-ranging recommendations. Foreign experts are from both the nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon states comprising the States promoting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons


The Group is of the view that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) plays a critical role in reinforcing the norm of non-testing, preventing nuclear proliferation, and contributing to nuclear disarmament.

The Group urges the remaining Annex II States to sign and/or ratify the treaty without further delay and calls upon all states to refrain from nuclear testing. “All states should make extra efforts to maintain the effectiveness of the treaty’s verification mechanisms and the Provisional Technical Secretariat and ensure adequate funding.”

Together with Kazakhstan, Japan has been a driving force behind efforts toward an early entry into force of the CTBT, which has been in limbo for nearly 22 years.

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