NPDI ministerial meeting: An interview with Foreign Minister Kishida, who will serve as chair

Delivering a political message

by Jumpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

A concrete path toward nuclear disarmament will be debated by 12 non-nuclear nations at the ministerial meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative to be held in Hiroshima on April 11 and 12. As foreign minister of the host nation, Fumio Kishida, who represents Hiroshima District No. 1, will chair the meeting. The Chugoku Shimbun talked to him about his outlook on the meeting. The following are edited excerpts from that interview.

What are your thoughts on the significance of holding the meeting in Hiroshima?
The foreign ministers of various countries will come to Hiroshima and learn firsthand about the reality of the atomic bombing. Delivering a political message after that is one reason holding the meeting here is significant. In anticipation of next year’s review conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, I’d like to issue a clear message.

The stances of NPDI member nations differ, with some, like Japan, advocating a step-by-step approach to nuclear disarmament while others, like Mexico, have called for a ban on nuclear weapons to be implemented promptly. How will you mediate the discussions?
In recent years the debate on nuclear weapons by the international community has focused on their inhumanity. There are various stances and views, but in working toward a world without nuclear weapons, taking into account their inhumanity will serve as a catalyst for uniting the international community. I would like to gain a consensus based on an awareness of the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and use it to issue a shared political message.

How do you feel about Hiroshima’s call for the NPDI to propose a treaty banning nuclear weapons and to promote its implementation?
Japan has both a clear awareness of the inhumanity of nuclear weapons as well as a dispassionate recognition of the difficult security situation, and the government’s policy is to pursue realistic, concrete progress toward nuclear disarmament. I would like to work toward the major goal of a world without nuclear weapons while respecting this policy.

Each country has its own approach to nuclear disarmament. But many countries, including the United States, a nuclear nation, share the desire to bring about a world without nuclear weapons. We must respect these various approaches and work toward our goal.

(Originally published on April 8, 2014)