Nancy Pelosi in favor of ratifying CTBT

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

Yohei Kono, Speaker of Japan’s House of Representatives, revealed on November 18 that Nancy Pelosi, his counterpart in the United States, indicated during the G8 Summit of Lower House Speakers held in Hiroshima in September that she supports U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). President-elect Obama, too, put forward the ratification of the CTBT in a campaign pledge. In light of these positive stances taken by political leaders in the U.S., it seems the possibility of the CTBT finally coming into force has now grown stronger.

Mr. Kono reported the achievements of the Speakers’ Summit at a general meeting of the Japanese Parliamentary Association for the Promotion of International Disarmament held at the Diet Building. Referring to Mr. Obama’s campaign pledge to “build bipartisan consensus behind ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,” Mr. Kono remarked, “Speaker Pelosi also said that she intends to promote ratification very actively after the election.”

The CTBT, which bans “all nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion,” was adopted at the United Nations in 1996. However, because nine nations, including the United States, have not ratified it, the treaty has not yet come into force. While the Bush administration has consistently refused to ratify the CTBT, the Democratic Party, to which Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi belong, included a push for ratification in the party’s campaign platform.

Speaker Kono also explained, “Since the speakers’ meeting took place right after our tour of Peace Memorial Museum, where they were deeply shocked by the horror of the atomic bombing, every speaker expressed strong concern over nuclear weapons.” He added that he has hopes for further international conferences in Hiroshima on issues of peace and disarmament as well as visits to Hiroshima by such important figures as President-elect Obama.

(Originally published on November 19, 2008)

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