Tokyo: Japan plans not to join an initiative led by 16 countries at the United Nations to make atomic weapons illegal, government sources have revealed.
The 16 nations drafted a statement for submission to the First Committee of the UN General Assembly that calls on all states to ‘intensify their efforts to outlaw nuclear weapons’.
The statement also calls on all states to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons," and asked Japan, the only country to have ever come under nuclear attack, to endorse it earlier this week.
According to the sources, Japan isn`t backing the initiative because the delegitimizing of atomic weapons would contradict its reliance on the extended US nuclear deterrence, the Japan Times reports.
The National Defense Program Guidelines, which were last updated in 2010, say that, ‘as long as nuclear weapons exist, the extended deterrence provided by the United States, with nuclear deterrent as a vital element, will be indispensable.’
According to the report, in the draft joint statement on the humanitarian dimension of nuclear disarmament, a copy of which was obtained by Kyodo News, the 16 countries have expressed ‘deep concerns about the humanitarian consequences that any use of nuclear weapons would have.’
Referring to "the horrific consequences" of the use of nuclear arsenals, the 16-nation group said the only way to guarantee that such weapons are never used again is ‘the total, irreversible and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons.’