U.S. and France abstain from voting on U.N. anti-nuclear resolution submitted by Japan

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

On November 2, Taro Kono, Japan’s foreign minister, held a press conference and responded to the fact that the United States and France abstained from voting on the antinuclear resolution submitted by Japan at the United Nations this year. “It was very disappointing,” Mr. Kono said, “but we want to continue our efforts to serve as a bridge between the nuclear and non-nuclear nations.” Japan submits an antinuclear resolution to the First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly each year, and last year the United States and France voted in favor of the resolution.

As they did last year, Russia and China voted against the resolution. As a result, out of the five main nuclear powers, only the United Kingdom gave the resolution its support. The United Kingdom was also one of the co-sponsors of the resolution both last year and this year. Mr. Kono explained, “The U.S. government told us that it respected Japan’s efforts and that our resolution was the most realistic proposal when we briefed voting behavior, but there was a difference of opinion with regard to some of the language in the resolution.”

Referring to the fact that the number of nations in favor of the resolution rose by 16 from last year, he offered his view by saying, “We used positive language in the resolution to convey the impression that this would be another step toward nuclear disarmament. That’s why more nations endorsed it.”

As for last year’s U.N. vote on the resolution, the number of countries that supported it fell by 23 compared to the year before because some of the nations which had supported the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons abstained from voting, arguing that the language in the resolution describing the inhumane characteristics of nuclear weapons had been made weaker. Mr. Kono said, “Last year we adopted language that both the nuclear nations and non-nuclear nations would be likely to agree on, as much as possible.”

(Originally published on November 3, 2018)