Japan Endorses U.N. First Committee Disarmament Statement

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 22, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

Ja­pan on Monday threw its sup­port be­hind a U.N. First Com­mit­tee state­ment that dis­cour­ages the use any­where of nuc­le­ar weapons but stops short of call­ing for their ban, Ky­odo News re­por­ted.

Ja­pan’s sup­port of the state­ment is sig­ni­fic­ant be­cause Tokyo three times pre­vi­ously has re­fused to sign-on to sim­il­ar com­mit­tee state­ments out of con­cern they con­flic­ted with a na­tion­al de­fense policy that re­lies in part on the U.S. nuc­le­ar um­brella.

“It is in the in­terest of the very sur­viv­al of hu­man­ity that nuc­le­ar weapons are nev­er used again, un­der any cir­cum­stances,” reads the state­ment by the First Com­mit­tee, which fo­cuses on se­cur­ity and dis­arm­a­ment mat­ters.

The state­ment was brought for­ward by New Zea­l­and and gained the sup­port of an un­pre­ced­en­ted 125 na­tions, ap­prox­im­ately 66 per­cent of the U.N. gen­er­al mem­ber­ship.

Ja­pan is the only na­tion to ever come un­der a nuc­le­ar at­tack. The ex­per­i­ence of the 1945 bomb­ings of the cit­ies of Hiroshi­ma and Na­ga­saki has turned Ja­pan in­to one of the world’s biggest pro­ponents of uni­ver­sal de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion, yet it wants this goal to hap­pen in a gradu­al man­ner. The United States for dec­ades has provided ex­ten­ded de­terrence to Ja­pan, which is con­cerned about the nuc­le­ar-weapons pro­grams of its neigh­bors — China and North Korea.

New Zea­l­and Am­bas­sad­or for Dis­arm­a­ment Dell Hig­gie said “some changes” had been made to the lan­guage of the state­ment “at Ja­pan’s re­quest, which has fa­cil­it­ated their in­volve­ment.”

The 2013 state­ment does not dis­cuss “out­law­ing” nuc­le­ar arms as a 2012 state­ment did. This year’s state­ment notes vari­ous “ap­proaches and ef­forts to­ward nuc­le­ar [dis­arm­a­ment]” — lan­guage that al­lowed gov­ern­ments such as Tokyo to sup­port it as it al­lows for the phased elim­in­a­tion of nuc­le­ar weapons.

Nor­way and Den­mark, which as mem­bers of NATO re­ceive nuc­le­ar de­terrence pro­tec­tion, also sup­por­ted the state­ment. It was not backed by any of the world’s nuc­le­ar powers.

A sep­ar­ate ef­fort is tak­ing place in the First Com­mit­tee to gain sup­port for a Ja­pan­ese res­ol­u­tion that for the 20th year calls for the world­wide elim­in­a­tion of nuc­le­ar weapons.

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