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Kono calls for increasing members joining arms trade treaty

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono on Monday called for collective efforts to encourage more countries to join the arms trade treaty, as an international conference got under way in Tokyo to discuss how to effectively enforce it.

"To continue to increase the number of states parties, we should work together to promote the value and role of the ATT," Kono told participants of the 4th Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty.

"The treaty aims to enhance regional and international peace and security through the appropriate control of international trade and prevention of illicit transfers of conventional weapons," Kono said, adding that its "universalization" is one of the imminent challenges.

The Arms Trade Treaty entered into force in 2014 with the aim of regulating illegal arms trade and preventing weapons from falling into the wrong hands, such as terrorists.

Currently, there are 97 states parties but major powers such as China, India and Russia have yet to sign the treaty. Aside from Japan, only five countries in the Asia-Pacific region have ratified it.

Japan is hosting the five-day conference whose participants include government officials and representatives from nongovernmental organizations and industry groups.

For the host of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, boosting antiterrorism measures is a key task.

A series of sessions are scheduled during the period to discuss a range of topics related to arms trade such as control systems and interagency cooperation.

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