NEW YORK – A U.N. committee on Friday voted to adopt a Japan-sponsored resolution calling for the total elimination of nuclear arms, a motion that passed with majority support as in past years despite the United States abstaining for the second year in a row.
This year’s resolution is considered weaker than the previous year as it dropped an expression of “deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use.”
Japan has proposed a similar resolution for the past 26 years. Although the latest resolution makes no reference to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in apparent consideration of the U.S. — which opposes the framework and provides security assurances to Japan under its so-called nuclear umbrella — Washington did not lend its support.
In the vote, 148 countries supported the resolution, 12 fewer than last year. Of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Britain and France backed the resolution while China and Russia opposed it, with the United States abstaining.
The resolution comes ahead of the U.N. review conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty next year.
Also passed by the U.N. General Assembly’s First Committee on disarmament issues was a resolution urging U.N. member states to join the nuclear weapons ban treaty, which was adopted in 2017 and has been ratified by 33 state parties of the 50 necessary to take effect.
But Japan, the sole country to have suffered the devastation of atomic bombings, opposed the resolution.
Despite growing calls for the abolition of nuclear arms, gaps between nuclear powers and states pushing for the treaty remain wide.