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Excuse of US umbrella used again to justify "no" vote

October 28, 2016

U.S. 'nuclear umbrella' drove Japan's vote against U.N. resolution



Japan's vote against a resolution calling for the start of negotiations to outlaw nuclear weapons at the U.N. General Assembly's First Committee on Oct. 27 took place out of a desire to appease the United States, which strongly opposed the resolution.

Despite being the only atomic bombed nation in the world, Japan, which has been protected under the so-called nuclear umbrella of the U.S., had been a self-anointed "bridge" between nuclear powers and non-nuclear states. But with its vote against the most recent nuclear disarmament resolution, it is bound to come under attack by non-nuclear nations and civic organizations calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

"(The resolution) is incongruent with our country's basic position of building up practical measures," Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Oct. 28. He added that Japan had been in contact with the U.S., indicating that Japan's dependence on the U.S. nuclear umbrella was a consideration in how Japan chose to vote.

Ambassador Toshio Sano, head of the Permanent Delegation of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament, said, "To promote nuclear arms reductions, it is indeed necessary for nuclear powers and non-nuclear powers to cooperate with each other." He thus expressed concern that a conflict between various countries over the pact could adversely affect moves toward achieving the ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament.

Akira Kawasaki, who is on the international steering committee of the nongovernmental organization International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), was watching the proceedings in person. He criticized the Japanese government's move.

"That Japan voted against the resolution means that it stands on the side of nuclear states. It means that Japan is going from being an A-bombed country to an ally of nuclear states," he said.

An associate professor at Hiroshima City University's Hiroshima Peace Institute, Yasuhito Fukui, commented, "Japan will come under fire for voting against the resolution while at the same time saying that it's aiming for nuclear disarmament. Japan should have abstained from voting."


PM defends opposition to nuclear weapons ban




Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has defended the country's opposition to a UN resolution calling for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

Abe told a Lower House special committee on Friday that the decision to oppose the resolution was not made easily.

He was answering a question from an opposition lawmaker who said atomic bomb survivors are criticizing the government for not being determined to create a nuclear-free era and just following the United States and other Western nations.

Abe said the government wants to work toward a world without nuclear weapons as the only nation to have experienced atomic bombings.

Abe referred to another UN resolution submitted by Japan calling for the total abolition of nuclear weapons.

He said the United States for the first time became a co-sponsor of the Japan-sponsored resolution.

Abe said if Japan promotes a resolution to which the United States and other nuclear powers are opposing, these nations could become reluctant to offer understanding to the Japan-sponsored resolution. He said the government made the decision while considering these circumstances.

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