Swiss ask Japan to join antinuclear statement

Kyodo

Japan has been asked by Switzerland to endorse a joint statement to be issued by the preparatory committee for the next Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review meeting, urging that atomic weapons not be used under any circumstances, government sources said Sunday.

Some Foreign Ministry officials, however, including those in charge of security policy, are opposed to endorsing it, given Japan’s policy of sustaining deterrence by hiding under the nuclear umbrella of the United States, they said.

The statement, according to draft obtained by Kyodo News, is set to be jointly issued by Switzerland and 14 other countries at the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of NPT parties starting Monday in Geneva.

Aiming to lower the bar for Japan’s endorsement, some NPT parties, including Switzerland, refrained from using the word “outlaw” in the draft statement.

If Japan, the only nation ever to suffer a nuclear attack, still declines to join in issuing the statement, the government could face fierce criticism at home and abroad.

The draft statement says: “It is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances.”

At a U.N. committee on disarmament last October, Japan did not join an initiative calling on all states to step up efforts to outlaw nuclear arms, citing its nuclear deterrence policy.

The statement, drafted by South Africa, will also be endorsed by Denmark and Norway, North Atlantic Treaty Organization members that are dependent on the nuclear deterrence provided by the United States.