Conditions Towards Zero


Nuclear Abolition News | VOICES of the South on Globalization

Japan has proposed a resolution for the total elimination of nuclear weapons to the United Nations General Assembly every year for the past 15 years and has otherwise been engaged in active nuclear disarmament diplomacy. In a mov to take advantage of the growing momentum toward a nuclear free world, Japan's Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone has put forward an 11-point initiative for promoting global nuclear disarmament.

The significance of the "11 benchmarks for global nuclear disarmament' tabled on April 27 needs be viewed against the backdrop that although Japan developed into a major economic power after World War II, the country has maintained its three non-nuclear principles of not possessing, not producing and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons. This policy is based on the fact that Japan is the only country to have experienced the nuclear devastation. It has strictly committed itself to concentrating on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The 11 benchmarks are:

1. Leadership of and Cooperation between the United States and Russia: The U.S. and Russia will lead the world toward a new security order by holding comprehensive bilateral strategic dialogues to conclude a successor treaty to START 1 at an early date, further reduce nuclear warheads, build mutual confidence regarding missile defence and strengthen the framework for controlling nuclear weapons and material.

2. Nuclear Disarmament by China and Other Nuclear Weapons-Holding States: It is vital for the promotion of global nuclear disarmament that these countries take nuclear disarmament measures, including the reduction of nuclear weapons, while enhancing transparency over their arsenals. They must freeze the development of nuclear weapons and missiles and other delivery vehicles that would undermine the momentum toward nuclear disarmament while the United States and Russia are making nuclear disarmament efforts. The nuclear disarmament efforts made by Britain and France over the past several years should be further enhanced.

3. Transparency over Nuclear Arsenals: The nuclear weapons-holding states should work together to nurture a new concept of "culture of information disclosure". They should make regular and sufficient information disclosure concerning their own nuclear arsenals, such as the numbers of nuclear weapons, excess nuclear fissile material and delivery vehicles.

4. Irreversible Nuclear Disarmament: Japan welcomes nuclear disarmament measures so far taken by some nuclear weapons states, such as the dismantlement of nuclear warheads, nuclear testing sites and facilities to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes, and urges nuclear weapons-holding states that have not yet taken such irreversible disarmament measures to implement them.

5. Study on Future Verification: Japan welcomes the initiative of the United Kingdom and Norway to conduct technical research on the verification approach.

6. Ban on Nuclear Tests: Japan hopes that the U.S. will ratify the CTBT treaty before the 2010 NPT Review Conference. On its part, it will plead with China, India, Pakistan and other countries whose ratifications are necessary for the treaty's entry-into-force for their early ratification the CTBT. It will provide technical training for seismology experts from relevant countries. Furthermore, Japan calls for a moratorium on nuclear tests, pending the entry into force of the CTBT.

7. Ban on Production of Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons Purposes: Japan favours immediate negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, which bans the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium that are used for nuclear weapons. It pleads for a moratorium on the production of fissile material for weapon purposes pending the conclusion of this treaty.

8. Restrictions on Ballistic Missiles: Japan supports the globalization of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the U.S. and Russia, and the EU's move to propose a treaty to ban short- and intermediaterange-ground-to-ground missiles.

9. International Cooperation for Civil Nuclear Energy: Japan undertook an initiative, called "3S", referring to safeguards, nuclear safety, and nuclear security and is striving to make the importance of "3S" an international common understanding. In cooperation with the IAEA, Japan will host an international conference in Tokyo this autumn on nuclear security related to Asian countries, particularly those introducing nuclear power plants.

10. IAEA Safeguards: Japan believes that it is important to enhance transparency over the activities of individual countries by ensuring that all countries using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes do so in compliance with the highest level of IAEA safeguards, specifically, Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and the Model Additional Protocol. With this in view, Japan is promoting the universalisation of those measures. It will continue to share knowledge and experience in this regard with other countries.

11. Prevention of nuclear terrorism: To prevent nuclear terrorism, it is essential to enhance the management of not only nuclear power plants and related nuclear fuel cycle facilities but also the control of all nuclear and radioactive material. Japan welcomes President Obama's proposal to make new international efforts to strengthen the control of nuclear material and host a 'Global Summit on Nuclear Security'. Japan will cooperate with the United States in efforts to bring this global summit to a successful conclusion.

– Jaya Ramachandran