Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has called for the participation of Japan and other nonsignatory states in the first meeting of a "historic" U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons, which will come into force Friday.

"This is a historic milestone, and a step that many critics of nuclear weapons as well as the hibakusha — the victims of the atomic bomb explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 — have been fighting for, for more than 70 years," Kurz said in a written interview with Kyodo News.

Austria spearheaded the efforts that led to the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017 with the support of 122 countries and regions. It is the first international pact outlawing the development, testing, possession and use of nuclear weapons.