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Japan criticized for toned-down UN draft resolution on nukes

GENEVA -- The Japanese government's draft resolution calling for a complete ban on nuclear weapons that was submitted to the United Nations on Oct. 11 has been criticized for being too weak, with many countries apparently intending to vote against the resolution, sources said.

In the draft, it is understood that there is no reference to the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons passed in July, and the text regarding the abolition of nuclear weapons has been watered down.

Along with nuclear powers such as the United States, Japan opposed the historic nuclear weapons ban treaty when it was adopted, and also clashed with fellow non-nuclear powers such as Austria pressing for "nuclear abolition."

Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons have apparently been critical of Japan's draft UN resolution on atomic arms, suspecting that Japan likely changed the wording of the draft after being pressured by the United States. This skepticism may mean Japan, a major U.S. ally, will struggle in any future international talks on nuclear disarmament.

Japan has been submitting a draft resolution calling for a complete abolition of nuclear weapons to the First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly every year since 1994. Until now, the country had sounded out both nuclear and non-nuclear states when putting together the drafts, including regarding wording about jointly achieving a "nuclear-free world."

However, in a copy of the draft resolution that was obtained by the Mainichi Shimbun, text from 2016 such as, "Reaffirming its commitment towards a peaceful and secure world free of nuclear weapons" has been changed to "Reaffirms, in this regard, the unequivocal undertaking of the nuclear weapon states to fully implement the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons."

In addition, regarding the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, the draft states that it "acknowledges the widespread call for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty."

There is also text stating that there are numerous ways of achieving an atomic arms-free world, which can be interpreted as Japan's intention to keep countries in favor of the nuclear weapons ban treaty in check.

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