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Opinion

Ruling and opposition Diet members debate Japan’s participation in meetings of States Parties to TPNW as observer, calling for proactive consideration

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

On February 12, in response to the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), eight Diet members representing the ruling and opposition parties held an online debate to exchange views on the Japanese national government’s nuclear disarmament policy. The event was hosted by the Japan NGO Network for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, which consists of groups such as the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo). Both the ruling and opposition lawmakers presented their demands that the government proactively consider attending the meetings of the States Parties to the TPNW as an observer.

Minoru Terada, a Liberal Democratic Party member representing Hiroshima electoral district No. 5 and head of a parliamentarians’ association to promote relief to A-bomb survivors and the elimination of nuclear weapons, stressed his belief that Japan would be able to withdraw from the U.S. nuclear umbrella based on the development of its own self-defense technologies. Mr. Terada argued that the government should serve as a mediator between nuclear-armed countries and non-nuclear nations, as well as aim at attending the meetings as an observer.

Masayoshi Hamada, an upper house member from the Komeito Party, said that Japan should join the meetings as an observer and strive to join the TPNW in the mid-to-long term. Mr. Hamada also proposed examination of the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Northeast Asia to create an environment enabling Japan to participate in the treaty. Katsuya Okada, a Constitutional Democratic Party member, indicated it was necessary for Japan to both attend the meetings as an observer and reduce the role of nuclear weapons in national security by cooperating with U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration.

Yasushi Adachi, a lower house member from the Japan Innovation Party, expressed his opinion that Japan should participate in the meetings as an observer. Kazuo Shii, a lower house member and chairman of the Japanese Communist Party, called on Japan to promptly sign and ratify the TPNW. Akira Kawasaki, co-chair of the Japan NGO Network for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, acted as moderator for the session.

(Originally published on February 13, 2021)

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