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Japan-sponsored abolition resolution adopted by UN General Assembly

December 8, 2015


U.N. General Assembly passes Japan-led nuclear abolition motion



NEW YORK (Kyodo) -- A Japan-sponsored draft resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons that encourages world leaders and youths to visit the atom bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was formally adopted Monday by the U.N. General Assembly, despite failing to secure backing from the United States and other major nuclear powers.

The majority endorsement in the plenary vote follows the approval of the nonbinding motion by the assembly's First Committee on disarmament and security issues last month.

Japan has introduced resolutions on the same subject for 22 consecutive years, with all of them having been adopted by the General Assembly. The invitation to "the cities devastated by nuclear weapons" was included for the first time.

This year's resolution, which expresses "deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons" and urges all member states to work toward "a world free of nuclear weapons," received backing from 166 countries, with 16 abstaining and three casting votes against.

None of the five nuclear powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- endorsed the document.

Britain, France and the United States abstained after having supported the Japan-led initiative last year.

China and Russia, who abstained last year, voted against it this year along with North Korea.

The five countries hold veto power on the U.N. Security Council as permanent members but it does not extend to the General Assembly.

Noting that 2015 marks the 70th anniversary since "the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," the resolution encourages "every effort to raise awareness of the humanitarian impact of the use of nuclear weapons, including through, among others, visits by leaders, youth and others, to the cities devastated by the use of nuclear weapons, and testimonies of the atomic bomb survivors."

At the First Committee session on Nov. 2 where the draft passed with 156 votes, Beijing's Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs Fu Cong criticized the reference as an attempt by Japan to portray itself as a victim of World War II and elide "the havoc (Japan) wreaked on other nations."

The Japan-led resolution also condemns "in the strongest terms" the nuclear tests conducted by North Korea and its launches using ballistic missile technology, expressing "serious concern" about the country's ongoing nuclear activities.


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