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Momentum building for nuclear ban treaty, with hopes that Japan will participate


Advocates of nuclear ban treaty try to build momentum for change,  Koyama Shoko, NHK General Bureau for Europe Correspondent, Yoshida Mayu,   28 Jan 22
  ”………………………….. The agreement entered into force on January 22, 2021, after securing 50 ratifications. That number has risen to 59 now, though it includes none of the countries that possess the weapons.

Delegates from states that are party to the treaty plan to hold a first meeting from March 22 to 24 in Vienna, although the schedule may change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, nine countries have notified the United Nations they will attend as observers. Some NATO members, including Germany and Norway, say they may attend too.

The chair hopes Japan will participate

The head of the Austrian Foreign Ministry’s disarmament department, Alexander Kmentt, will preside over the meeting, which he says will be “crucial in setting the future direction for the new treaty.”

Kmentt said support for victims of the weapons was one of the major items on the agenda, so he is hoping Japan will participate, as the only country to have experienced nuclear attacks.

“Whether or not to participate is for the Japanese government to decide,” he said. “But I hope that many states that have yet to ratify the TPNW will come to the meeting as observers.”

Hibakusha played a crucial role in the treaty

Elayne Whyte Gomez is a Costa Rican diplomat who was the chair of the negotiating conference for the prohibition treaty.

One of her first moves was to open the debate up to civil participation, allowing people not connected to governments or international organizations to attend the conference. She says the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, known as hibakusha, played a critical role in this process.

Let me put it this way, it’ll be very hard for me to envision that the treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons could have been achieved without the voices and the living testimonials of the survivors.”

International tensions heightening nuclear risk……….

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an organization that played a major role in putting the prohibition treaty together, says the two agreements should not be considered mutually exclusive.

It’s just not true that the TPNW weakens the NPT,” she says, “and they are perfectly fine to coexist. The NPT is doing fine. The TPNW doesn’t harm the NPT. The only thing that harms their NPT is that the nuclear armed states refuse to implement the disarmament obligations, and that has nothing to do with the TPNW. Now that has to do with a nuclear armed state. So when the UK government increases their nuclear arsenal, there is a direct violation of the NPT. That’s harmful. When China increases its nuclear arsenals, it’s a direct violation of the NPT and it’s harming and undermining the NPT.”

Citizen activists have crucial role to play

ICAN has been urging nuclear-weapon states that have not ratified the prohibition treaty to attend the meeting in Vienna in March………..

Japanese youth play their part

In Japan, the hibakusha are inspiring some young people to get involved in the nuclear abolition movement……..    https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/1879/

January 29, 2022 - Posted by | Japan, weapons and war

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