For the first time in history, Japan signs a UN declaration against nuclear weapons

Japan has, for the first time ever, backed a statement  from the United Nations, stating that nuclear weapons should not be used under any circumstances, having refused to do so three times in the past.

The statement was made during the the first ever UN General of the Committee on Disarmament which took place on Monday. Originally proposed by New Zealand, 125 countries, two-thirds of the UN member states chose to show their support of the declaration at the meeting.

The disarmament statement claims that nuclear weapons are a huge and uncontrollable destructive power and that such weapons, by their very nature, kill indiscriminately.

Statements of this kind had been made three times before, including in April at a conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, Japan had refused to sign the documents until now.

The Japanese government had previously claimed that that the rejection of nuclear weapons “under any circumstances” was incompatible with its defense policy based on the U.S. nuclear umbrella. It has since changed its mind, believing now that the statement is in accordance with its security policy and its efforts for disarmament.

Before the unveiling of this declaration, Japanese officials asked their New Zealand counterparts to review certain elements of the text to make it easier for Japan to accept.

According to the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Japan will continue to lead efforts at an international level for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Fumio Kishida said that Japan firmly backs the section which attests to the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons – that their use is a threat to the environment and to the survival of humanity.

According to the Minister, Japan, as the only country to have suffered from the horror of these weapons, will continue to pass on the lessons of this tragic experience to future generations from all countries.

 

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