Lawmakers urge NPDI to hold discussions on inhumanity of nuclear weapons

by Aya Kano, Staff Writer

A group of lawmakers seeking a world without nuclear weapons announced its requests to the Non-proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) during a press conference held at the Hiroshima Prefectural Office on March 24. This voluntary group of 32 diet members, led by Katsuya Okada, belong to the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). In their six-point request, they urge that discussions be held on the inhumanity of nuclear weapons, with an eye toward advancing a nuclear weapons convention. The NPDI is composed of 12 non-nuclear states, including Japan.

In view of the active discussions on the inhumanity of nuclear weapons now being pursued among the international community, the lawmakers asked that thorough deliberations be made on the path toward realizing a nuclear weapons convention. In addition, they have called on Japan and other members of the NPDI to exercise leadership in achieving the following aims: advancing arms reductions by the United States and Russia, despite growing tensions between the two nations over Ukraine, and fulfilling the idea of a visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki by U.S. President Barack Obama.

These requests are part of the group’s efforts in preparation for the the foreign ministers’ meeting of the NPDI, which will take place in Hiroshima on April 11 and 12. Seven members of the group met with Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui and requested that the local leaders clearly convey the inhumanity of nuclear weapons to the foreign ministers of the NPDI member nations.

The NPDI was launched in September 2010, with Mr. Okada playing a leading role. He was then serving as the foreign minister of Japan in the DPJ government. “The enthusiasm to build a world without nuclear weapons, which was advocated by President Obama, has been losing momentum,” Mr. Okada said. “The fact that foreign ministers are gathering in Hiroshima is of great significance in appealing to the world for nuclear abolition.”

(Originally published on March 25, 2014)