In a historic vote at the United Nations on Friday, 122 nations adopted a new nuclear weapon prohibition treaty (NWPT) to ban the acquisition, development, production, manufacture, possession, transfer, receipt, testing, extraterritorial stationing, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. The NWPT is the most significant multilateral development on nuclear arms control since the adoption of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968.

Many nations that have previously championed their disarmament credentials — Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Norway — have been outed instead as part of the problem with their embarrassing decision to boycott the duly constituted and U.N.-mandated conference. Although I focus on Japan, almost all the arguments apply equally to all the nuclear weapon possessing countries and allies who shelter under their nuclear umbrella. In sum, they have put themselves on the wrong side of history, geography, legality, morality and humanity.