Historic Step Towards Ban Treaty … But Where is Japan?
April, 8 2017
On March 31, 2017, first UN negotiation meeting on legal instruments to prohibit nuclear weapons was concluded with great success, despite the absence of nuclear weapon countries as well as most of the states under the “nuclear-umbrella”. We welcome this historic step towards outlawing nuclear weapons, along with other weapons of mass destruction, namely Chemical and Biological Weapons. Despite the claim by the states not participating in the negotiations, we believe that legal ban on nuclear weapons will not undermine the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It is unquestionable that if concluded, the Ban Treaty will be a great step towards the realization of the world without nuclear weapons.
It is deplorable that the Japanese government decided not to participate in this negotiation. This is not acceptable to all hibakusha and Japanese citizens who believe that Japan, as the only nation to have experienced the nuclear attacks, must assume leadership in abolishing nuclear weapons. By not participating in this historic negotiation, Japan is abandoning its role, and disappointing both its own citizens and international society.
In the meantime, we are witnessing the worsening security environment in Northeast Asia, in particular the threats posed by the DPRK. In the face of this serious situation, the new US Administration, along with their allies, Japan and ROK, persists in refusing dialogue and pursuing the policy of “threatening” by means of “strengthened military power.” We fear that such approach will never contribute to a peaceful solution of the crisis, but will rather lead to disastrous consequences. Dialogue across divides is dangerously lacking here. Unless Japanese policy-makers free themselves from the idea of “nuclear deterrence”, Japan will not be able to contribute to global efforts towards the outlawing of nuclear weapons.
Tatsujiro Suzuki, Chair, Pugwash Japan
Yoshiko Kurita, Vice-Chair, Pugwash Japan