NGO network exchanges views with Japan’s Foreign Ministry, calls for ratification of TPNW

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

On February 4, following effectuation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the Japan NGO Network for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, of which the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations and citizens’ groups in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are members, exchanged views online with Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The network organization called on the Japanese government to immediately sign and ratify the treaty, but the ministry expressed anew the national government’s intent not to join the treaty on the grounds that U.S. nuclear deterrence is necessary for Japan.

Prior to the online meeting, the organization submitted a document that included the request that Japan sign and ratify the treaty as well as questions in six categories. The closed online meeting on February 4 featured the participation of 23 A-bomb survivors and citizens from 16 organizations, with Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Konosuke Kokuba and an official from the Arms Control and Disarmament Division, the ministry’s office in charge of such issues, replying to the inquiries.

According to the organization, which held a press conference after the meeting, the ministry repeated its previous explanation that the reason Japan will not join the treaty is because the TPNW denies nuclear deterrence as a policy. The organization also said the ministry cited the subject of the meetings, the expense burden, and the situation of participation by other nations as concrete factors for the Japanese government to decide on its participation in the TPNW’s meetings of the State Parties as an observer. The Japanese government has been saying that it would decide on the issue after “careful consideration.”

Haruko Moritaki, co-facilitator of the organization and co-chair of the citizens’ group Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (HANWA), 82, said, “I suspect the Japanese government has no intention to take even one step away from the nuclear deterrence policy. I was unable to sense at all that the government is making any effort to find a way to approach the TPNW.”

(Originally published on February 5, 2021)