Statement Calling on the Japanese Government to Take an Active Role at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
The Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (the “NPT”) will take place in January 2022.
Resting on the three pillars of non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament, and peaceful use of nuclear energy, the NPT took effect in 1970 and, currently, it has more than 190 parties, including Japan. In 1995, the parties decided to extend the treaty indefinitely and agreed to convene a Review Conference every five years.
Article VI of the NPT imposes obligations to pursue negotiations in good faith relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race, nuclear disarmament, and a treaty on general and complete disarmament. This statement is understood as nuclear-weapon states committing themselves to nuclear disarmament, thereby establishing a legal framework towards a world without nuclear weapons, in combination with preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon states. Additionally, the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice claimed that the “obligation to pursue negotiations in good faith” in this context encompasses the “obligation to conclude negotiations.”
In this regard, Japan annually presents a draft resolution calling for nuclear disarmament to the UN General Assembly. On December 7, 2021, a draft resolution, Joint Courses of Action and Future-oriented Dialogue Towards a World without Nuclear Weapons, was submitted jointly by Japan, the U.S., the U.K., and other states and it was adopted by a vote of 153 in favor. The resolution recognizes the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from the use of nuclear weapons and reaffirms that achieving a world without nuclear weapons is a common goal for the international community and that all parties to the NPT are committed to the full and steady implementation of the treaty in all its aspects including Article VI, through the strengthening of the international regime for nuclear non-proliferation.
Japan demonstrating its commitment to the full and steady implementation of the NPT in all its aspects, including Article VI, is itself of great significance. However, from here on, concrete efforts need to be made to implement a legal framework to achieve a world without nuclear weapons. During the process, Japan should present an effective proposal that embodies the provision set out in Article VI of the NPT by referring to the draft conventions submitted to the United Nations as a discussion document by Costa Rica in 1997, and by Costa Rica and Malaysia in 2007 (the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention) as well as other documents.
Therefore, the JFBA urges that the Japanese Government advance a concrete and effective proposal for the full and steady implementation of Article VI of the NPT at the Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT, thereby taking an active role in achieving a world without nuclear weapons.
December 9, 2021
President, Japan Federation of Bar Associations