Nuclear weapons ban campaigners, including hibakusha, receive Nobel Peace Prize

The Japan Times

OSLO – A group campaigning for a total ban on nuclear weapons received their Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday, the recognition coming at a time of stalled disarmament talks between nuclear powers and with North Korea's weapons ambitions a major global concern.


China mulls joining U.N. talks on treaty to ban nuclear weapons

The Japan Times

GENEVA/MEXICO CITY – China, one of the five major states possessing nuclear weapons, is thinking of joining U.N. talks on a treaty outlawing nuclear arms starting late March in New York, diplomatic sources said Wednesday. China has heard the views of countries promoting the treaty such as Austria and Mexico in a meeting earlier this month ahead of the start of negotiations at the U.N. headquarters, the sources said. A senior official of the Chinese Foreign Ministry who was at a disarmament-related international meeting in Mexico City admitted Wednesday that China is considering joining the talks but said a final decision has yet to be made. The official also said China has talked with the four other major states possessing nuclear weapons regarding the matter. The first preparatory meeting for the treaty will take place at the United Nations in New York from Thursday.


As Tokyo shuns ban treaty, leading the way to a nuclear-free world falls to Japan's citizens and hibakusha

The Japan Times

HIROSHIMA/NAGASAKI – In Nagasaki, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres underlined his solidarity with hibakusha atomic bomb survivors and called them "true messengers" of peace. He acknowledged the power of hibakusha as he reminded the world from the city -- one of the two in Japan subjected to atomic-bombing -- that the realization of a nuclear-free world is still distant, and that work toward disarmament continues. "When we see nonproliferation at risk, and when we see a lack of commitment to disarmament, to amplify the voice of the hibakusha becomes more and more important," Guterres said in an interview with Kyodo News ahead of the 73rd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing. Guterres became the first U.N. chief to attend the commemorative ceremony on Thursday. With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe having reiterated -- even on the anniversary of the bombings -- the government's stance of not joining an international nuclear weapons ban treaty, the role of survivors and people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is expected to come into sharper focus.


Draft of nuke ban treaty references atomic bomb victims

The Japan Times

GENEVA – The head of U.N. negotiations aimed at banning nuclear weapons released a first draft of a treaty on Monday that includes references to the suffering of victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Costa Rica's ambassador to the United Nations, Elayne Whyte Gomez, released the draft ahead of the second round of U.N. talks to be held from June 15 through July 7 in New York. The preamble of the text says the countries participating in the talks are "mindful of the suffering of the victims of the use of nuclear weapons (hibakusha) as well as of those affected by the testing of nuclear weapons." Expressing deep concern about "the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons," the text forbids states to develop, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess, transfer, receive, stockpile, test or use nuclear weapons. In the first round of negotiations held in March, diplomats and activists agreed that the conference exceeded expectations and said the goal of realizing the first-ever treaty of its kind is within reach for July.


Japan's adjusted anti-nuke resolution mirrors reality of security situation, U.S. envoy says

The Japan Times

NEW YORK – Japan's recently adopted U.N. resolution calling for the total elimination of nuclear weapons better reflects today's security concerns than previous versions, U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood said Thursday. "A majority of countries felt that that resolution reflected and was a snapshot of where we are today, what the threats are, and frankly, what the international community needs to do," he told reporters at New York's Foreign Press Center. Wood said the adoption of the Japan-led resolution was a "big success," despite criticism aimed at Tokyo by numerous countries for apparently backpedaling on nuclear disarmament when it came to the language used in the resolution. A United Nations committee passed the annual resolution last week, but with significantly less support than in years past. It drew support from 144 countries, down 23 from last year.