A petition urging the Japanese government to adopt policies aimed at total nuclear disarmament was submitted to the foreign minister by a total 67 representatives of nongovernmental organizations from 17 countries on Tuesday.

The petition, addressed to Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura, will be handed out at the Conference on Urgent Actions for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament to be held this weekend in Tokyo.

The conference was proposed earlier this month by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who was then foreign minister, after India and Pakistan held nuclear tests in May. The aim of the conference is to come up with a concrete plan for nonproliferation by August 1999.

The petition criticized Japan for its passive policies in international nuclear disarmament negotiations in the face of strong antinuclear sentiment among the Japanese people. It also urged the government to emerge from beneath the United States’ protective nuclear umbrella, which it says renders all of Japan’s disarmament efforts “hypocritical,” and to work toward establishing a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone.

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