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Japan should sign U.N. nuclear ban treaty as soon as possible

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Nuclear weapons must not exist in human society, no matter in what form.

A groundbreaking treaty designed as an international code of conduct for promoting the global campaign to realize “a world without nuclear weapons” is now set to become legally binding.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted three years ago by the United Nations. On Oct. 24, Honduras became the 50th country to ratify the accord, the minimum needed for it to enter into force as international law. It will go into effect on Jan. 22, next year.

The treaty prohibits signatory nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, possessing, using and even threatening to use nuclear weapons. Beyond its long-term importance as a step to open a new chapter in the nuclear disarmament movement, the treaty can also lead to swift changes that make it even more difficult to use nuclear arms.


As U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, the 50th ratification of the treaty was “the culmination of a worldwide movement” driven by efforts based on broad solidarity among parties committed to the cause, including survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or hibakusha, and the governments and citizens of countries promoting the pact.

The Japanese government, however, has refused to join the group celebrating the creation of this historic international framework for progress toward a future free from the threat of nuclear arms.

After 75 postwar years of trying to convey the horrors of nuclear devastation to the world, how long does the Japanese government intend to continue turning its back on this valuable treaty to ban nuclear arms?

In its preamble, the treaty pays special respect to the atomic bomb survivors by saying the nations signing it are “mindful of the unacceptable suffering of and harm caused to the victims of the use of nuclear weapons (hibakusha), as well as of those affected by the testing........

© The Asahi Shimbun

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