Prospects of NPT discussed on second day of U.N. Conference on Disarmament Issues

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

The twenty-first United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues continued its second day of discussion in Niigata on August 27. The participants of the conference have addressed a wide range of issues including the prospects for the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference to be held next May, the disarmament of conventional weapons, and the role of civil society.

Takeshi Nakane, permanent representative of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna, expressed anticipation for the NPT Review Conference, stating, “I hope that agreement will be reached with an implicit balance among the three pillars of disarmament, non-proliferation, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.” Additionally, calls were raised one after another for further efforts to preserve non-proliferation, through such measures as a monitoring system by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Maythong Thammavongsa, from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos), the deputy director of the UN Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke of the damage caused by cluster munitions in his nation, reporting, “With two-thirds of our national territory covered by unexploded bomblets, cluster munitions are not only causing human casualties but posing an obstacle to development.”

In a session on the role of civil society and mass media with regard to disarmament, Akira Tashiro, executive director of the Hiroshima Peace Media Center at the Chugoku Shimbun, explained his company’s effort to translate articles on the damage wrought by the atomic bombing and nuclear issues, from Japanese into English, and disseminate them to the world.

Steven Leeper, chairman of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, spoke out for the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol, a measure aiming to abolish weapons by 2020, which Mayors for Peace is advocating.

The conference will end on August 28 after the closing session.

(Originally published on August 28, 2009)

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