Asia - Pacific

Japan doubtful about nuclear ban treaty

Tokyo questions effectiveness of UN’s nuclear ban treaty over non-participation by nuclear-armed countries

Riyaz Ul Khaliq   | 22.01.2021
Japan doubtful about nuclear ban treaty


Raising questions about its effectiveness, Japan on Friday said it has no intention to join the treaty banning nuclear weapons as the UN-led initiative comes into effect on Friday with 50 members ratifying it.

“As the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings during wartime, Japan has a responsibility to take the lead in efforts by the international community to realize a world without nuclear weapons,” Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was cited by Kyodo News Agency as saying at a parliamentary session Friday.

He also urged caution in considering observer status for the treaty which also took effect on Friday.

At least 50 members of the UN completed the ratification process of the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons, and it became effective -- a long-awaited development for the survivors of the atomic bombings as well as anti-nuclear activists.

Japan, the only country to have been hit by atomic bombs in 1945 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has seen a strong support in favor of nuclear disarmament. The bombings had killed around 214,000, and left life-lasting side effects among the survivors in the past seven decades.

“But the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons does not have the support of nuclear weapons states nor many non-nuclear weapons states,” Suga said. “In line with our position that it is necessary to pursue a steady and realistic path toward nuclear disarmament, Japan has no intention of signing the treaty.”

Despite local population demanding Japan to join the ban treaty, the US nuclear umbrella protection to Japan against any foreign threats prevents Tokyo from joining it.

“Japan would continue efforts to build a bridge between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states, including by telling the world of the horrific consequences of using nuclear weapons,” the Kyodo quoted the Japanese leader as saying.

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