Japan’s draft U.N. motion on nuclear weapons omits landmark treaty signed by 122 countries

Kyodo

A draft U.N. resolution circulated by Japan on the elimination of nuclear weapons makes no mention of the recently adopted landmark treaty banning nuclear weapons, according to a copy obtained Wednesday.

The draft came after an international group last week won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts leading to the adoption in July of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Japan, the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack, has been sponsoring a U.N. resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons for more than two decades. But it boycotted U.N. negotiations on the pact along with nuclear-armed and other nuclear-umbrella nations.

The draft resolution “renews the determination” of all countries “to take united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.”

In language new to this draft, it says this can be achieved “through the easing of international tension and the strengthening of trust between states as envisioned in the Preamble of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in order to facilitate disarmament, and through strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime.”

The nuclear-armed and nuclear-umbrella nations support pursuing the goal of eliminating weapons through adhering to the NPT, which went into force in 1970.

But out of frustration at a lack of progress, many nations instead pushed for the ban treaty, especially as the nuclear weapon states continue to modernize their arsenals.

Over the years, the Japan-led U.N. resolution has gained more and more sponsors. Last December the U.N. General Assembly backed it with 167 votes. Only North Korea, China, Russia and Syria opposed it, with 16 other nations abstaining.

Since last year, however, the context has changed with the nuclear weapons ban treaty having garnered support under the pressure of nuclear activists — including atomic bomb survivors, known as hibakusha.

The nuclear weapons ban treaty, adopted in July by 122 countries, was opened for signatures in September. It will enter into force 90 days after the document has been ratified by 50 nations, and will be legally effective for an unlimited duration.

The draft of the Japan-led resolution also calls on nations to strengthen trust as well as “create conditions” to review military and security arrangements “taking into account the security environment.”

Given the increasing North Korean nuclear threat, Japan and the United States, among others, believe in the necessity of maintaining nuclear weapons for their security.

The text also calls upon countries “create conditions that would allow for further reduction of nuclear weapons.”

In similar language used in other years, the draft expresses “deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of nuclear weapons.