The introduction of an identification system to prevent illegal trade in small fire arms was discussed Monday by delegates at an international workshop in Tokyo.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura underscored the necessity of adopting an international solution to stem the proliferation of the weapons.

“Small firearms have been the main weapons used throughout the world in regional conflicts and civil wars since the end of the Cold War,” Komura said at the outset of the three-day workshop. “Even after the end of conflicts, such arms weaken security and become causes of other conflicts, thus preventing a nation from building.”

Komura said the United Nations should play a key role in tackling the issue and that he hopes a U.N. conference on the matter will be held. Currently, there are no international restrictions on small fire arms, according to Foreign Ministry officials.

Advocates of the identification system envision printing numbers on small arms. Experts on the issue from 21 countries — including the United States, China and Russia — and about 30 officials from international organizations, including the U.N., are participating in the meeting.

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