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Japan for first time backs U.N. nuke disarmament statement

KYODO

Japan on Monday endorsed a U.N. statement on nuclear disarmament for the first time, joining more than 120 other countries in issuing a statement expressing deep concern about the “catastrophic consequences” of atomic weapons and opposing their use.

After declining to back similar statements three times in the past, the government decided to endorse a New Zealand-led initiative that drew a record 125 supporting countries, roughly two-thirds of the 193 member states of the United Nations.

Previously, Japan deemed similar statements as incompatible with its security policy due to its reliance on the nuclear deterrence provided by the United States.

New Zealand Ambassador Dell Higgie said “some changes” had been made to the text “at Japan’s request, which has facilitated their involvement.” Unlike last year’s, this year’s text did not mention the “outlawing” of nuclear arsenals. Higgie downplayed Tokyo’s previous opposition to the statements.