Hiroshima to bid for nuclear-ban conference in 2015


Japan could host a conference of envoys who represent the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization’s group of eminent persons.

Preparations are underway to hold the conference, involving experts and former statesmen of the organization, in Hiroshima late next year, government officials said Wednesday. The city has never hosted the event before.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to make the proposal during his speech at a U.N.-related meeting Friday, the officials said.

By hosting the conference in Hiroshima in 2015 — the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing — Japan aims to rally international support for its ongoing efforts toward global nuclear disarmament.

The CTBTO’s group of eminent persons was created in September last year. It has around 20 members, including former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

The group has been working to further the treaty around the world, but it has yet to be ratified by China, the United States, Pakistan and India.

The group held its first meeting in Sweden in April. It is expected to meet again in Hungary in November and Italy in April 2015.

At a “Friends of the CTBT” foreign ministerial meeting Friday, Kishida is expected to urge nuclear nations to sign the treaty regardless of how other countries stand on it. He is expected to cite the Republic of the Congo’s ratification of the treaty earlier this month, the sources said.

A joint statement to be issued by the foreign ministerial meeting Friday is also expected to call on nations to cooperate in making the treaty a reality — and to urge North Korea not to conduct any more nuclear tests.

A total of 183 countries have signed the CTBT and 163 countries have ratified it, Foreign Ministry figures show.