(Tokyo Shimbun: February 28, 2016 – p. 3)
GENEVA (Kyodo) – The first meeting of the UN working group on nuclear disarmament which started on Feb. 22 ended its five-day session on Feb. 26. The discussions demonstrated once again the gap between countries wanting to start negotiations for a nuclear arms ban treaty promptly and countries like Japan that are opposed to such a treaty.
At the meeting, Mexico, Austria, and anti-nuclear citizens’ groups advocated a “legal ban on nuclear weapons inasmuch as they are inhumane,” arguing for the importance of promulgating a nuclear arms ban treaty.
On the other hand, Japan, Australia, Germany, Belgium, and other countries asserted that a lot of work needs to be done – including the promotion of early ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the reduction of nuclear weapons by the nuclear powers – before rushing to draft a nuclear arms ban treaty. The two sides failed to reach agreement.
The working group will meet again in May and August. It is scheduled to submit a report to the UN General Assembly in September. The group plans to compile a document on the positions of the participating nations so far, which will serve as the basis for deliberations in the next meeting.
Toshiki Fujimori, 71, deputy secretary general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers who became a hibakusha in Hiroshima when he was one year old, complained, “It is regrettable that the Japanese government appeared to be an advocate for the U.S. (and other nuclear powers).”