Japanese foreign minister welcomes Obama proposal to advance nuclear disarmament

by Osamu Kido, Staff Writer

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida released a statement on June 20 in which he applauded the proposal made by U.S. President Barack Obama in a speech in Berlin, Germany for further efforts to advance nuclear disarmament. Mr. Kishida stated that “Japan holds high expectations that this speech by President Obama will increase momentum of global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.” At the same time, Mr. Kishida also stressed the Japanese government’s long-running position of relying on the U.S. nuclear umbrella for the nation’s security.

In his statement, Mr. Kishida welcomed Mr. Obama’s proactive stance toward nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Referring to the foreign ministerial conference of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), which will be held in Hiroshima next April, the prime minister said that Japan “intends to lead initiatives for international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation...with the aim of achieving a world without nuclear weapons.” Mr. Kishida was elected from district one in Hiroshima.

The statement also said that “the Government of Japan is encouraged” by President Obama’s words indicating that the United States intends to “ensure the security of its allies,” including Japan, and “maintain a deterrent while making further reduction of nuclear weapons.”

In a press conference on June 20, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also expressed support for Mr. Obama’s proposal. Concerning the Japanese government’s policy of relying on the U.S. nuclear umbrella for security while supporting the abolition of nuclear arms, Mr. Suga said, “It is natural to feel encouraged by President Obama’s speech given the fact that other nuclear weapon states have shown little inclination to reduce their nuclear arsenals.”

(Originally published on June 21, 2013)