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Avoid the term "inhumane" when talking about nukes

April 8, 2015

G-7 Hiroshima statement won’t use ‘inhumane’ to describe nukes


By HAJIMU TAKEDA/ Staff Writer

Japan will not mention the “inhumane aspects” of nuclear weapons in the Hiroshima Declaration issued after the Group of Seven foreign ministers meeting next week to avoid upsetting the nuclear-power members, sources said.

As host of this year’s G-7 summit and the only nation hit by atomic weapons, Japan has been planning a statement that expresses the determination of member nations to work toward a nuclear-free world.

Japan has referred to the inhumane aspects of nuclear weapons in resolutions proposed at other international conferences.

But in light of the nuclear powers’ reactions to such wording, the Hiroshima Declaration will likely only refer to the devastating consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, according to the sources.

“To the United States, Britain and France, ‘inhumane aspects’ has become synonymous with radical elements who disagree with their national security policy,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said. “It would be impossible to convince them to go along with such wording.”

The G-7 foreign ministers will gather in Hiroshima on April 10 and 11. The G-7 summit will take place in Shima, Mie Prefecture, from May 26 to 27.

Japan certainly does not want the foreign ministers’ meeting to conclude with a major rift among the G-7 members over the nuclear weapons issue.

At the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons held in May 2015, some non-nuclear powers referred to the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons as the basis for legally banning such weapons.

Such wording led to strong resistance from nuclear powers, such as the United States.

When Japan proposed a resolution to the U.N. General Assembly in autumn 2015 that emphasized the inhumane aspects of nuclear weapons, the United States, Britain and France all abstained from the vote.

Japan had submitted similar resolutions on an annual basis, and the United States and Britain served as co-sponsors in 2014. But both countries decided against sponsoring the 2015 proposal because of the humanitarian reference.

Japan is planning to have the foreign ministers of all seven nations, including the nuclear powers, visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima on the sidelines of their meeting.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who represents a district in Hiroshima Prefecture, will also show his counterparts around the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Japan also hopes that U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima when he comes for the G-7 summit in May.

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