National / Politics

Japan should support nuclear ban treaty, says Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad

Kyodo

Visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Wednesday that Japan, as the world’s only country to be attacked with nuclear weapons in war, should support a U.N. treaty banning such weapons.

In an interview with Kyodo News in the city of Fukuoka, Mahathir also said that he thought other countries should emulate Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution, which bars it from waging war as a means of settling international disputes, calling it the only such constitutional provision in the world.

“Japan is the only country in the world which has outlawed war, aggressive war, in order to solve problems of conflict between nations,” he said.

Japan “should keep that part of the constitution which outlaws war, aggressive war,” he added.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted in July 2017. So far, 70 counties and regions have become signatories, according to the U.N. office on disarmament.

The pact needs a total of 50 ratifications for it to come into effect. On Tuesday, the 74th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Bolivia became the 25th U.N. member to ratify it.

After submitting the ratification document to a U.N. official, Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations Sacha Llorenti told reporters that he chose the date so as not to forget those who lost their lives in the attack.

During Tuesday’s annual ceremony in Hiroshima, Mayor Kazumi Matsui urged the government to join the U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons. But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was also present, declined to do so, commenting that the treaty does not reflect security realities.

Nuclear weapon states such as the United States and China have not joined the pact. Japan and other nations under the protection of U.S. nuclear forces have also remained outside of the treaty.

The Malaysian leader is on a two-day visit to Fukuoka through Thursday. The visit is his second to Japan this year, following one in May.