Japan has still refused to sign an international joint statement calling nuclear weapons “inhumane” because of the document’s wording that contradicts its policy of reliance on the U.S nuclear umbrella to protect its security interests. The statement was presented at the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, currently being held in Geneva.
70 countries have already signed the document that states “the only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons will never be used again is through their total elimination.” Some find Japan’s refusal to sign the statement as ironic, since they are the only nation that has suffered from atomic bombing, with the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the final stages of World War II. In fact, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui urged Ambassador Mari Amano of the permanent mission to the Conference on Disarmament to agree with the statement.
The first document presented by 16 nations at the first session last May did not include Japan’s signature because they were not approached prior to the signing. Another similar statement was signed and presented by 34 nations to the First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly last October, and again did not include Japan because the wording is contrary to their dependence on the US’s nuclear deterrence. In the latest document, Japanese officials were informed 10 days before the release and the wording about making nuclear weapons illegal was removed. But Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga explained, “We decided not to give our approval after careful consideration over whether the wording was appropriate upon thinking about the difficult national security circumstances facing Japan.”
Ambassador Amano said that Japan’ ultimate aim is to abolish nuclear weapons, they believe that some necessary steps have to be done before that goal is reached. He also stated that Japan’s definition of national security is different from that in the document. Around 60 people protested outside the permanent mission in Geneva, aghast that Japan once again refused to sign the document. Among those who protested are Ichiro Yuasa, the head of Peace Depot which does research on nuclear disarmament and Kunihiko Sakuma, 68, an atomic bomb survivor from Hiroshima.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]