(Nikkei: July 26, 2015 – p. 2)
As part of its nuclear disarmament diplomacy, the government is aiming for the adoption at the upcoming UN General Assembly this fall of a resolution on disarmament that includes a visit by world leaders to an atomic bombing site. Japan’s attempt to call for a written agreement at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference held in May ended in failure. As the only country that has suffered an atomic bombing Japan, Japan is ready to start over at the UN General Assembly in boosting momentum for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.
The government plans to submit a resolution to the UN in around October to serve as a guideline to enable the international community to unite for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The main points of the plan will be: 1) to encourage leaders and young people from around the world to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki; 2) to emphasize that the use of nuclear weapons is destructive and inhumane; and 3) to engrave Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the memory of the people of the world.
At the NPT conference, the government failed to include in the outcome document a proposal for world leaders to visit atomic bombed areas. Unlike the NPT conference that requires unanimous votes, the UN General Assembly only requires majority rule. As such, the government anticipates that new resolution will be adopted even if China is opposed as it was in the last NPT conference. An official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “With the breakdown of the last NPT conference that is held every five years, the nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation system is drifting. We want to make Japan’s plan serves as a guideline for the next NPT conference five years later.”
Besides the UN General Assembly, Japan also attaches importance to the G-7 Summit (Ise-Shima Summit) scheduled for May next year and the preceding foreign ministers’ meeting in Hiroshima. In particular, the government feels that “the Ise-Shima Summit will be the last chance” for President Obama to visit an atomic bombing site, according to officials close to the prime minister. Consequently, Tokyo intends to lobby for the President to visit Hiroshima or Nagasaki during his visit to Japan.