Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi on Wednesday welcomed today’s start of a protocol banning blinding laser weapons.

The protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons is significant because it is an international effort to ban inhumane conventional weapons, Obuchi said in a statement.

Japan signed the document in June 1997. The protocol takes effect today because Hungary became the 20th state to ratify the protocol on Jan. 30, according to Foreign Ministry officials.

The protocol, which is an amendment to an existing protocol on conventional weapons, becomes effective six months after 20 countries ratify it, they said.

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