U.N. conference on disarmament issues to open in Shizuoka on January 30

On January 25, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan released the outline of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues to be held from January 30 to February 1 in the city of Shizuoka. About 70 people, including diplomats and experts from 15 nations and three international organizations, will take part in the gathering. The participants are expected to engage in discussion on such themes as the inhumanity of nuclear weapons.

One of the plenary sessions set for the first day is titled “Humanitarian Issues and Nuclear Weapons,” which will also be the focus of an international conference organized by the Norwegian government for Oslo in March. The determination displayed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to strengthen momentum toward the elimination of nuclear weapons by highlighting the inhumanity of these arms is drawing keen interest in the issue. At this plenary session, NGO representatives will discuss the subject with government officials from several nations and other figures. The first day will also feature discussion on the topic of “Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones,” including a zone in Northeast Asia.

On the second day, themes will include the overarching challenges of disarmament, with an eye on the review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) slated for 2015, and the role of civil society in abolishing nuclear weapons. A discussion involving local students will be held on the third day.

The conference has been organized by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific. Held annually in Japan since 1989, this will mark the 24th conference overall and the first to be held in the city of Shizuoka.

(Originally published on January 26, 2013)