Japan to send government delegation to international conference on nuclear weapons in Vienna in December

by Jumpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

At a July 15 press conference, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced that a government delegation will be dispatched to the International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, scheduled for December 8 and 9 in Vienna, Austria. As a result of similar conferences in the past, there is growing momentum for outlawing nuclear weapons. Whether or not Japan would attend this conference, organized by the Austrian government, has been the object of attention, since Japan is dependent on the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

Mr. Kishida stressed that, as a foreign minister elected from Hiroshima, he recognizes the significance of conveying the tremendous suffering caused by the atomic bombing to future generations and beyond national borders. Through the attendance of the Japanese delegation at the conference, Mr. Kishida said, Japan will do its part from the position of seeking a world without nuclear weapons.

This will be the third international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, following the first held in Norway in March 2013 and the second in Mexico in February 2014. The conference in Mexico concluded after the chair presented his factual summary, urging nations around the world to strive to realize a nuclear weapons convention. The Japanese government had not made clear its intention to attend the next conference, saying that it was unable to comment until the agenda and schedule for the next gathering were decided. Pacifist organizations, among others, have been urging the government to attend the conference.

According to the ministry, the Austrian government is making arrangements so that many different nations, including those that consider nuclear deterrence a necessity, will be able to take part in discussions. It will also call on nuclear weapons states that have not attended the past conferences to attend the gathering in December.

(Originally published on July 16, 2014)