Tokyo set to approve U.N. global arms pact


A bill to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, the first international pact to regulating trade in conventional arms, is scheduled to be submitted to the Diet by the end of this month, government sources said.

The measure, coming less than a year after Japan signed the treaty adopted at the U.N. General Assembly last April, underscores Tokyo’s eagerness to nudge others to join the framework, the sources said Saturday.

However, the move appears incongruous with the stance of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, which wants to relax the nation’s restrictions on arms exports and go into business.

The treaty would regulate trade in such weapons as tanks, attack helicopters, combat aircraft and small arms. Countries that accede to the pact would be banned from importing, exporting or brokering arms trades if there is a risk the weapons could be used for terrorism or genocide, or trading in them would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution.

Japan took the lead in drafting the treaty along with Britain and Australia, and signed the pact last June. It will go into force when 50 countries have ratified the treaty, but only 10 or so countries have so far done so.

The United States signed the pact last September but has yet to ratify it, with no prospect of obtaining approval from Congress anytime soon. Neither Russia nor China has signed the treaty.