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Despite snub, ICAN chief eager to meet Abe to discuss nuke ban treaty

Kyodo

The leader of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning anti-nuclear group wants to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to ask Japan to take part in the U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, revealed her wish in a recent interview in New York after she was denied a meeting with Abe during her trip to Tokyo in January.

“I would love to have a chance to meet with Prime Minister Abe,” she said, adding that she is willing to speak with Abe wherever their paths might cross, although she has no set plans to revisit Japan in the near future.

Expressing disappointment with Tokyo’s decision last September not to sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty, Fihn said Japan needs to participate in the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

“Japan has a very special responsibility given it’s the only country that has experienced nuclear war on populated areas. And therefore, they need to make sure that doesn’t happen to other cities,” she said.

The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, in the closing days of World War II.

As for the planned meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Fihn welcomed the idea but said she believes nuclear-armed states must also analyze their own contradictions.

“I think it is going to be very difficult to find a sustainable solution to North Korea if we don’t also address other countries’ nuclear weapons,” Fihn said.

ICAN, founded in 2007, is a coalition of nongovernmental organizations comprising about 470 groups from over 100 nations. It won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts leading to the adoption in July of the U.N. treaty outlawing nuclear weapons.