NGOs exchange views with foreign ministry, encourage Japan to lead discussion on nuclear ban at foreign ministers’ meeting

by Osamu Kido, Staff Writer

Members of a liaison group composed of antinuclear NGOs and organizations exchanged views with Hitoshi Kikawada, the parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs, at the foreign ministry on February 9. The members of the group requested that the Japanese government play a leading role in discussions at a U.N. working group to discuss measures for nuclear disarmament, including legal provisions, as well as at the meeting of foreign ministers scheduled to take place in Hiroshima in April before the Group of Seven (G7) summit (Ise Shima summit).

The Japanese government has not made its attitude clear about whether it will attend the meeting of the U.N. working group as it begins discussions in late February. The liaison group urged that Japan, as the nation that experienced the atomic bombings, break away from the nuclear umbrella of the United States and pursue negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention. The group called on the government to participate in the working group and take an active part in the discussions.

Mr. Kikawada said he regards the working group as important, but did not say whether Japan will attend the meeting. “This is under consideration,” he said. “A decision will be made after having talks with other nations.”

After the meeting, Haruko Moritaki, co-chair of the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, said, “I sense that the government feels positively toward the idea of attending the meeting. If it does participate, it must exercise leadership to move forward with the aim of materializing a nuclear weapons convention.”

The liaison group also requested that foreign ministers listen to an A-bomb survivor’s account and declare their resolve to never allow another catastrophe from nuclear weapons to take place.

(Originally published on February 10, 2016)