When it comes to nuclear disarmament, two things are certain: that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) stands as the most uncompromising regulation on nuclear ambitions to date; and that Japan, as the only nation ever attacked with such weapons, sees itself as playing a key role in sweeping them from the global stage.

Given these points, many both within Japan and beyond find it perplexing that the government has yet to sign the TPNW — which entered into international law on Jan. 22 last year — especially considering its supermajority support among the Japanese public, with around 75% in favor of signing, according to a 2020 study.

Yet the Foreign Ministry seems inclined to ignore the TPNW outright, having so far given the treaty only the diplomatic equivalent of an occasional curt nod.