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Japan says it will not take part in nuclear ban treaty talks without nuclear powers

NEW YORK -- Japanese Ambassador to the U.N. Conference on Disarmament Nobushige Takamizawa said on March 27 that Tokyo would not take part in negotiations on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons because the world's nuclear weapons states would stay away from the talks.

Takamizawa said the participation and cooperation of nuclear powers in the negotiations is indispensable to achieve nuclear disarmament. "Regrettably, given the present circumstances, we must say that it would be difficult for Japan to participate in this conference in a constructive manner and in good faith," Takamizawa said during the opening segment of the conference at the United Nations in New York.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said at a news conference in Tokyo on March 28, "It has become clear that the conference does not satisfy our assertions. After stating Japan's views, we decided not to take part in future negotiations."

Touching on the fact that North Korea has kept on developing nuclear weapons and missiles, Takamizawa said that the threats would not be resolved through a nuclear ban treaty. He argued that it would be impossible to promote nuclear disarmament without giving due consideration to the realistic security environment. He went on to say that a nuclear ban treaty without nuclear powers would be ineffective and that the common goal of realizing a world free of nuclear weapons would move more away from reality as such a pact would further widen divisions between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states, as well as divisions even among non-nuclear weapons states. He said Japan would make efforts to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and help ensure the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty take effect at an early date.

After hearing Takamizawa's speech, Toshiki Fujimori, assistant secretary-general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, said, "Because nothing constructive can be done at this rate, the government of the only country that has suffered atomic bombings in war must not say it will not participate (in the negotiations)."

Regarding Japan's argument that nuclear weapons could not be banned due to North Korea, Akira Kawasaki, a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said, "Their logic is upside down. Because the number of countries like North Korea may increase, nuclear weapons must be banned."

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